Tuamgraney and its surrounds are renowned for traditional music and are home to several highly acclaimed musicians. Traditional music sessions are held regularly at Nuala’s in the village and as part of several festivals held throughout the year.
The area is also steeped in other aspects of the Arts with the adjoining villages hosting a range of events throughout the year. These include the longest continuous amateur drama festival in Ireland and an Arts festival attracting many international artistes.
The Blossom Harp Festival was initiated in 2016 in the village of Tuamgraney. The festival runs overs two days and aims to rejuvenate interest in the harp, the Irish national emblem and integral to our culture for centuries, by supporting ensembles and integration with other traditional instruments.
To achieve this aim workshops have been held, primarily in the harp, at introductory, intermediate and advanced level, but also in the fiddle and concertina, all facilitated by renowned musicians. A competition for solo harpists and combination groups was introduced in 2017.
Origin of the Name
The name Tuamgraney in Irish is ‘Tuaim Gréine’, ‘The Tomb of Grain’ or ‘Graney’ – referring to the legendary Grain, daughter of a local king who drowned in the lake.
The festival also hosts a gala concert and has welcomed internationally acclaimed harpists and traditional musicians as performers. This concert is open to all workshop participants and to members of the local community widening the appeal of the harp as a traditional instrument.
Artistes who have performed include renowned harpists Micheal Rooney, Patrick and Louise Marty (France), Alisha MacMahon, Holly Geraghty, Laoise Kelly, Fiana Ni Chonaill, The Blossom Harp and Cuisle ensembles together with internationally acclaimed fiddle players Manus Maguire and Denis Liddy and concertina players Mary McNamara and Tim Collind. Set dancing classes were facilitated by Marie McMahon and a ceili and impromptu music sessions completed three very successful weekends with Taylor’s Cross, Sliabh Aughty, Out the Gap Ceili Band, Alan Hogan, Stephanie Keane, Music World, Scariff Community College, Kirby’s family, Michael and Rachel Grogan, Lough Derg Community Choir and Martin Moloney.
Unfortunately due to COVID the 2020 festival had to be cancelled but the 2021 festival will be held online on 27th March with two workshops, a question-and-answer session with the two harp teachers and lunchtime and evening concerts.
The Tuamgraney Harp Festival Committee
The committee is comprised of the harp and traditional musicians together with representatives of the local community. The support of the business community in Tuamgraney and the surrounds has been invaluable to the success of the festival in the past and in enabling us to continue during these very difficult times. Expert IT advice and input in developing the platforms for the online festival has been invaluable to the successful launch of this year’s festival.