Trip to Jim Dowling Uilleann Pipe and Trad Festival

This 19th-23rd of June I travelled to Glengarriff, Co. Cork, to visit the Jim Dowling Uillean Pipe and Trad Festival for some great music!  Glengarriff is a lovely town in the South West of Ireland with a lot of sightseeing opportunities in the area. Since I had such a great time at the festival last year, I decided to go back again!


The festival takes place in the towns’ pubs and venues with various activities like concerts, workshops and sessions. The fact that the weather was absolutely stunning during the weekend, made this festival even better :)

The festival is in honour of the Dublin born Jim Dowling ( an extensive bio can be found here ); a traditional piper who moved to Glengarriff in 1969. His move to the area resulted in a new found interest in playing and crafting uillean pipes! He was also a founder member of the Glengarriff Branch of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Éireann. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2008.

Coincidentally,  I visited Kenmare in 2008 where I visited a set of Comhaltas concerts where I filmed a performance of Jim. I didn’t know, at the time, who he was but I’m glad I recorded this performance that evening. You can find it here:


This year’s festival had some great concerts in store! The list of concerts started on the Friday with the band Lunasa, who doesn’t need any further introduction! They were joined by singer Karen Casey who captivated the audience with her lovely singing.

Saturday evening was the Big Blowout Concert with another amazing line-up: Uillean pipers Paddy Keenan and David Power played some amazing tunes on the pipes, together with guitarist Alan Burke ( who replaced Steve Cooney because of health issues ) and fiddler Martin Hayes.

RainMatt Cranitch and Jackie Daly performed in an outdoor concert on Sunday, together with flute player Conal O Grada. As can be expected from Ireland, the weather had a bit of a mind of its own and decided to change… about 20 minutes into the concert the first rain drops started to fall on an otherwise sunny weekend. Luckilly, umbrellas were close-by which made for a humorous background to the concert :)

During the interval, the concert was moved indoors to protect both audience and instruments. Luckily, the location of the concert was Jim’s Coffee House so there was plenty of hot drinks to get us all warmed up; that and of course the great music:

Other concerts during the weekend included The Friel Sisters and Kila.

I can recommend having a look at the Festival’s Facebook page for more photos and videos from the event!

These three photos were used with permission from Nadine Hayes Photography:

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Apart from going to the festival, I also took the opportunity to explore the beautiful area of South West of Ireland. Taking the boat trip from Glengarriffe to Garnish Island, travelling to the most South-West point of Ireland at Mizen Head, going to the peaceful Gouganne Bara – it was all fantastic to do. As pictures are worth a 1000 words ( each ), I’ll just finish my post with several photos I took!

Gouganne Bara 2 On the road Gouganne Bara Mizen head Food and drink Barley Lake Garnish Island