A Quarter Century of Concert Tours

This year we celebrate a quarter century of Concert Tours organised by Comhaltas. This has to be a unique achievement on the part of any organisation. Not alone has this important element of our activities survived but it has gone from strength to strength. These Tours bring high-standard traditional entertainment to the Tour venues and provide a platform for our entertainers. The three on-going Tours are North America, Britain and Ireland. There has also been a 10-country European Tour and groups have travelled to other countries by invitation. The first Comhaltas Tour of Australia is at present being arranged.

The hallmarks of these Tours are high standards; representation of regional styles; and professional presentation. Almost 1,000 performers have participated in these tours.

Tour of Ireland `96

The 1996 Tour of Ireland had 16 concerts: Dublin, Dundalk, Galbally, Ballina, Ballyliffin, Ballyshannon, Warrenpoint, Mullingar, Portlaoise, Kilrush, Freemount, Cappamore, Clonmel, Enniscorthy, Baltinglass and Navan.

The artists were: Brendan McGlinchey, Colette Beagon, Sandra Deegan, Claire Mann, Padraig Butler, Martin Ryan, Carmel Commins, Gráinne Hambly, Hugh Healy, Robbie McMahon, Donna Mulcahy, Lisa Moore, James Carleton, Fiona McCafferty, Ivor Rice, Vincent Pierce. Tour Manager was Stephen Conroy and Sound technician Pat McElligott.

North American Tour

There will be 17 concerts in the 1996 Tour in October as follows: Mineola, Washington DC, Chicago, Alberquerque, San Francisco, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, St Louis, Cleveland, Erie, Buffalo, Connecticut, Boston, New York City.

The artists are: Martin Ryan, June McCormack, Justin Toner, Tony O’Connell, Paddy Fallon, Elizabeth Moore, Frank Roddy, Gráinne Hambly, Alice Fitzgerald, Lawrence Mason, Ronan Moloney, Ivor Rice, Paul Harrigan, Brendan McGlinchey, Carmel Mary Commins, Theresa O’Grady, Fiona McCafferty, Anthony Sharkey. The Tour Manager is William Boylan and sound technician John McElligott.

Tour of Britain

The 1996 Tour in February had 15 venues: Bolton, Hammersmith, Haringey, St Albans, Lincoln, Leeds, South Birmingham, Luton ,Leagrave, Bedford, Motherwell, Dundee, Clascow, Manchester, Stoke-on-Trent and Liverpool.

The artists were: Padraig Donlon, Sréan Norman, Siobhan O’Donoghue, Aine Heneghan, Daire Bracken, Aine Fitzpatrick, Justin Toner, Jackie Connaughton, Tony O’Connell, Alice Fitzgerald, Sean Breen, Ronan Morgan, Brian O’MaIley, Kathy Carew, Frank Roddy, Ceraldine McFerran and Brendan Meaney. Tour Manager was Jimmy Brennan and sound technician John McElligott.

We are indebted to the host committe who have given such consistent service. Those who provide accommodation, transport and other services are deserving of our gratitude and appreciation.

Because of the large number of performers in each group and the extensive itinerary undertaken, it would be impossible to finance our Tours without the generous sponsorship which we receive. We acknowledge, in particular the assistance received from Aer Lingus, Budwieser, Bord Failte, Irish Ferries, Bus E’ireann, Waterford Crystal and the Cultural Relations Committee of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Tour Co-ordinators such as Bill McEvoy, USA; Anne Mc Connell, Canada; Anne Kelly, Britain; Phil Lane, Luxembourg, have all played a major role in the development of our Tour programme. The expertise and hospitality afforded by the organising committees is a source of inspiration to us all. The artistes, too, were a credit to Ireland.

Agus Arís

Comhaltas groups also travelled to Italy, Sardinia, France, Germany, Brazil, Iraq, Soviet Union, Holland, Korea and Japan. This is part of a growing demand which Comhaltas is receiving to send groups abroad.