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Clonmel Junction Arts Festival : Musical identity

June 22, 2021

During Clonmel Junction Arts Festival (July 3rd to 11th) the musical identity of Clonmel will be explored through a number of different strands. Eamon Sweeney has curated a Rare Clonmel series, focusing on music that has been heard during the town’s history. The Butlers of Ormonde features baroque music by The Gregory Walkers (Laoise O’Brien, Malachy Robinson) and Rachel Factor with soprano Roisin O’Grady. Playing the music that the Duke of Ormonde may have entertained James II with on his visit to Clonmel’s iconic Main Guard in 1689, it features music by Henry Purcell, Jean-Baptise Lully, Turlough O’Carolan, Henry Purcell, Francisco Corbetta, Thomas Connellan, and from the Irish Tradition.

During the 19th century Clonmel was a regular stop on tours by visiting continental musicians. The great pianist Franz Lizst performed there as did the guitar virtuoso Giulio Regondi. In the 20th century, the great Irish tenor, Frank Patterson, was born in Clonmel – as was the groundbreaking composer Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin. Regondi is known to have performed arrangements of Moore’s Melodies; Lizst championed the works of John Field; Patterson will be forever associated with the works of Thomas Moore and Ó Súilleabháin’s contribution to Irish music needs no elucidation. Tenor Simon Morgan and pianist Lance Coburn bring this music to life.

In Irishtown, with Steve Cooney on guitar, Cormac Breathnach on whistles, and Dermot Byrne on accordion, three of Ireland’s most lauded traditional musicians perform from the historical Irish Tradition together, including arrangements of harp music from the 17th & 18th centuries as well as music particularly connected to Clonmel and its environs. The title comes from the name of the street just outside the original town walls.

The Local Heroes strand celebrates music created and performed by musicians from or working in Clonmel.

Collins Hall is a theatrical music piece directed by Jack Reardon where saxophonist James O’Donovan has arranged iconic Mick Delahunty big band tunes for a jazz quintet. With actors Eanna Grogan and Meadhbh Maxwell, they recreate a night in the Collins Hall, Clonmel in 1958 where American Patrol is playing and love is in the air.

The text and score is inspired by letters sent to Tipperary Museum of Hidden History following their successful reissue of a 1948 recording by the Mick Del Orchestra. The quintet features James O’Donovan (saxophone), Brendan Hickey (guitar), Killian Browne (keys), Cathal Ryan (drums), Emmet Donlon (trumpet) with actors Eanna Grogan and Meadhbh Maxwell.

Acclaimed singer-songwriter Edel Meade released her stunning new album ’Brigids And Patricias’ on International Women’s Day 2021. It has seen been regularly featured across Irish radio since its release. This extraordinary new collection of original songs and spoken word reflects on what it means to be a woman living in 21st century Ireland, shaped by Irish history, folklore and contemporary society. Her Clonmel Junction Festival concert marks the world premiere of a live performance of the music.

CLE are an electro-acoustic music and digital media ensemble based in Clonmel. Dynamic yet meditative, their work blends their love of vintage electronica and ambient music with contemporary-classical inspired textures. In LEAVES, the festival finale, CLE experiment and innovate with their unique blend of analogue electronics, live piano, spoken word, computer code and visual production techniques – this performance will be a unique treat for the senses.

Finally, the We Can Be Heroes 2.0 strand is a series of celebratory concerts, bringing back performers that have given festival audiences so many musical treats over the years. Royseven, with Clonmel’s own Paul Walsh as frontman, will open new pop-up venue, the Junction Festival Dome in style, while Jerry Fish counts Junction as one of his favourite Irish festivals to perform.

Local emerging artists Eoin Hally, Ruairi de Leastar and Kate Twohig will open for some of Ireland’s most talented performers in Gavin Glass, Mick Flannery and Paul Noonan.

As well as the concerts, Eoin Hally has put together an industry-focused workshop series that is helping young, local performers further their careers by giving a great insight into the real world of recording and producing, booking gigs and getting music on the radio.

We Can Be Heroes sponsors Camida are offering these young musicians a performance opportunity in the lovely outdoor setting of Raheen House to finish off the project. Audiences will get to listen to the music of young talents Richie Delahunty, Desirèe McCarthy, Patrick Cleary, Kevin Twohig, Frank O’Mahony, EJ Mae (Ellie Mackey), Surf Spaghetti (David O’Connor), Carlo Di Ruzza, Aimée O’Brien O’Riordan and Ash Walsh.

A junction, a meeting point, a crossroads. The crossroads in mythology is a space between worlds – a magical place – and the Junction Arts Festival team hope that Clonmel will inspire, delight and surprise audiences this summer from Saturday 3rd – Sunday 11th July 2021. View the full programme at




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