Mayo Go Mad for Trad

Mayo Go Mad for Trad

It seems like the whole of Mayo have gone Mad for Trad in the build up to this years 2018 Mayo Manchester Tradfest. The marketing team for the festival lead by Alexa McCalmont has visited every corner of the County during the last two weeks to hand deliver a staggering 10,000 free festival guides and erect its distinct Green and Red Banners in the 7 Hubs of the festival which stretch from Attymass in North Mayo right down to Ashford Castle in the South and Claremorris in the East to Achill in the West.

Tony Hennigan the festival director commented "This years festival is like a dream come true, we start tthe festival in what I call my little peace of Heaven in my home parish of Attmass and finish it at one of the Top Ten Hotels in the world - Ashford Castle, it cannot get much beeter than that. This year we have 7 hubs in Achill, Attymass, Ashford Castle, Ballina, Bonniconlon, Claremorris and Westport, it is our biggest festival to date. There are over 500 performers from Mayo and Manchester involved in over 100 events. The welcome we have received in every hub has been phenomenal with TD’s, Depity Leaders, Senators, Ministers and even the President of Ireland getting behind event.”

“The festival is now billed as Ireland’s biggest Tradfest, last year we had a very special visit by an Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), Leo Varadkar TD and this year we were delighted to receive a special letter of support by the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins. We met the President when he visited Manchester and it means a great deal to receive his letter of support for the festival.”

It is hoped that this year’s 2018 Mayo Manchester Tradfest will once again break all previous records for attendance and beat last years record of just over 51,000. The unique festival of Tradition Irish Music, Song and Dance is now in its sixth year.

This year’s festival will feature everything from Sean Nos Dancing (Traditional Irish Dancing featuring Barrel and Brush Dancing) to Jiving and Irish Dancing, along with a whole range of Music and Singing styles involved in the festival.

The top ten events include:

1. Thursday 2 August, Live Radio broadcast by Midwest Radio at the Fr Peyton Centre, 6pm-8pm
The festival will be launched in Attymass with a live two hour radio broadcast by Midwest Radio sponsored by Excel Excavations at the Fr Peyton Centre in the award winning Attymass Parish (Ireland’s Pride of Place winners 2017). The free event features a host of performances from award winning musicians, singers and dancers along with a number of VIP guests.

2. Thursday 2 August, VIP Launch Concert at Breaffy House Resort, Castlebar, 9pm
Castlebar will be rolling out the Green and Red carpet with a special VIP Festival launch concert at 9pm in Breaffy House Resort. The free event feature a host of special guests and performers including the Sean Nos Dancers, The Ganley Sisters as seen on RTE TV, Ireland's premier download artist, Singer Songwriter Sina Theil, Joe Keegan from the BBC TV show The Voice, Marian Waldron, The Fianna Phadraig Pipe Band and Alan Keegan from Manchester United Football Club plus a host of special guests and performers.

3. Friday 3 August, Fianna Phadraig Pipe Band 70th Anniversary Concert, Achill Head Hotel, 9pm
During the bank holiday weekend the Tradfest has been invited to visit Achill Island to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the Manchester based Fianna Phadraig Pipe Band. The band are hoping to join some of the pipers from the Island’s five world famous Pipe bands in a special outdoor performance at The Achill Head Hotel at 9pm. A Free concert and open session will then be staged inside the hotel with Joe Keegan from the BBC TV Show the Voice and guest musicians from Scoil Acla, the evening is being hosted by Alan Keegan, the Voice of Old Trafford at Manchester United.

4. Saturday 4 August, 6th Annual Mayo Manchester Tradfest Gala Concert, Ballina Arts Centre, 7.30pm
The Mayo Manchester Tradfest return to Ballina to stage a special 6th anniversary concert on Saturday 4 August which is to be hosted by Alan Keegan from Manchester United Football Club. The concert is being sponsored by the Mayo Association Dublin. It will feature performances by The Fianna Phadraig Pipe Band, the Murphy Moore Irish Dance Academy and the Turley Duggan Academy from Mayo along with Joe Keegan from the BBC TV Show – ‘The Voice’, Marian Waldron, Con Murphy, Dennis McCalmont, the Jiving Juniors as featured on RTE TV’s Late Late Show and The Centre Stage Vocal Academy. Tickets are €10 (Early Bird) €15 Book online or Tel 096 73593

5. Sunday 5 August, Mayo Manchester Tradfest Promenade Performance at Westport House, 1pm
The group will be staging a short promenade performance in the grounds of the award winning Westport House at 1pm on the steps of the award winning Stately home followed by a Parade to the Grace O'Malley statue.

6. Sunday 5 August, Mayo Manchester Tradfest Gala Concert at Claremorris Town Hall Theatre, 7pm
Sunday evening sees the group make their Claremorris debut at Claremorris Town Hall Theatre with a host of award winning musicians, singers and dancers from Mayo joining the group in a special Tradfest concert. Performers from Manchester include Joe Keegan from the BBC TV show The Voice, The Fianna Phadraig Pipe Band, Marian Waldron as seen on Sky TV. Performers from Mayo include Joe Beirne of Midwest Radio fame, plus local musicians Peter Gannon, Ann Morley, Rory Walsh, and Declan Burke. The Claremorris based Turley Duggan Academy of Irish Dance will also be performing on the night and the evening is being hosted by Alan Keegan the Voice of Old Trafford from Manchester United Football Club. Tickets are €15 book online at or Tel 094 931 0999

7. Monday 6 August, The Official Opening of Bonniconlon Show, 12 noon
The Tradfest has once more been invited to launch the 2018 Bonniconlon show just after 12 noon, the Agricultural and Gymkhana show is Ireland's second biggest show and annually attracts over 30,000 visitors to the celebration of rural Ireland and is based just outside Ballina in North Mayo. The Fianna Phadraig Pipe band will lead a parade of VIPs to the stage to officially open up the show.

8. Monday 6 August, Promenade Performance at Mount Falcon Estate, 2pm
The group visit the Mount Falcon Estate to stage a special Promenade perfornce in the grounds of the 100 Acre Estate based in the heatt of Ballina at 2pm. The Performance will feature a parade by the Fianna Phadraig Pipe Band, followed by performanvces from Joe Keegan and Marian Waldron. The afternoon will be hosted by Alan Keegan, the Voice of Old Trafford at Manchester United Football club.

9. Tuesday 7 August, Gala Concert headlined by Billow Wood at Matt Molloys, 8pm
The Tradfest returns to the world famous Matt Molloys Irish Pub in Westport. Last year the event which is staged in th Yard Bar Music venue was sold out and this year’s concert is being headlined by the multi award winning Trad band ‘Billow Wood’ who will be joining forces with Mayo Manchester, watch out for the outdoor performance by The Fianna Phadraig Pipe Band on the streets of Westport to kick start the concert. The concert also features Joe Keegan from the BBC TV show -The Voice and Westports David Dee Moore. Guest musicians, singers and dancers are welcome to join in the concert. Tickets are €10 in advance, €15 on the door see to book online through paypal or call into the venue for tickets.

10. Wednesday 8 August, MMTradfest Closing Performance at Ashford Castle. The festival is brought to a close with the Mayo Manchester Tradfest closing session at the 5 Star Ashford Castle in Cong which was recently featured on the BBC TV series on the Top Ten Hotels in the World.

For full festival listings visit