Feile Chois Cuain is an annual festival in the peaceful town of Louisburgh Co Mayo. It has been promoting and nurturing traditional Irish music, language, song and dance since 1995.
It has provided a platform for the local children, teenagers and adults in the area to learn and embrace their Irish heritage through the art of music.
Louisburgh is famous for many things, from its stunning coastline to the friendliness of its locals.
From April 29th-May2nd the town will be awoken to” Craic agus Ceol”. The township will be flooded with talented musicians from all walks of life gracing the streets for what should be a session to beat all sessions. https://feilechoiscuain.com/
The Launch of Feile Chois Cuain
Since its inception in 1995, Feile Chois Cuain Committee has emphasized quality. In the 27 years, the festival’s format has changed very little since its beginnings. The invited artists vary, providing outstanding musical, vocal, and dance variety year on year. The years of the Fheile Chris Cuain have led to an explosion of interest in Irish music by the local people.
My first time
The first time I attended Feile Chois Cuain was in 1999, the festival’s fifth year. At that time, there were not many locals playing. However, I met quite a few musicians whose parents were from Louisburgh. These musicians came to play from places like Meath, Dublin, London, Manchester, Philadelphia and Massachusetts.
Today the plethora of artists performing are locals who, along with their school, perform on the opening night. This is a testament to the strong influence the festival has brought to the area.
The Parochial Hall
One of the essential sources of entertainment in Ireland was the parochial hall. It was in this setting that music and dance culture emerged. So it’s only fitting that the fun begins on Friday at 7:30 pm in The Parochial Hall with ‘Mol an Óige’ youth concert, featuring local and visiting musicians. Admission is €5.
It’s back to the hall on Sunday at 4 pm for a special concert dedicated to the late Sheamus Heneghan. Sheamus was a founding member of Feile Chois Cuain and a renowned accordion player. He passed his love of music on to his children, who are very talented musicians in their own right.
For the May bank holiday weekend, the Square will be temporally inhabited by distinguished artists from home and abroad. With fine weather beaming down, it’s wonderful to see people flocking to the streets and footpaths tapping along to the lively music, dancing and swaying to the tunes. There is nothing quite like strolling along the sidewalk on a sunny Sunday to the soothing sound of various instruments.
The atmosphere of an Irish pub
Louisburgh is your quintessential small town; you have many pubs within it. Each establishment provides a high stool and a good pint of Guinness These auld stock Pubs have always been important meeting places. Some would go as far as to say they are the heart of Irish culture. In these rural Pubs, you’ll find different generations gathering around tables, singing songs or chatting about the latest Gaelic game. The Feile Chois Cuain weekend is an ideal time to experience these Irish pubs in all their glory.
This pub is located in the heart of Louisburgh town. Dara, the fourth generation of McNamara’s to run this establishment, works alongside his dad Joe. Joe Mack’s (This is what the locals call it) is a hive of activity for the weekend. The pub is densely inhabited by people hungry for music. Sometimes there is barely room for the musicians to swing to the tune of their instruments.https://www.facebook.com/McNamaras-Bar-121559141243377/
Bhun Abhain (Bunowen)
It is named after the river that flows alongside the town. This pub is another perfect spot with friendly vibes when you drift through its doors. It’s renowned for its hybrid of Irish music sessions from trad to folk. Although smaller than Mack’s, this soothingly dark atmospheric pub is the real deal for a good pint and great atmosphere.
As pubs in Louisburgh go, they don’t get any better than Duffy’s. Snugly located between Mack’s and The Bhun Abhain, this little gem is a go-to bar for those interested in Irish storytelling and sean’nos singing. This sitting room-sized establishment is renowned for its lively music and witty recitations performances, attracting crowds. It is lovely to listen to the enthusiastic stories told with the typical Irish wit and humour.
There is something special inside each pub, something very homely and welcoming that you’ll need to visit.
To finish off a great weekend, the ‘Slán Abhaile’ sessions start at 12.30 pm on Monday in all the pubs. This is a lovely wind-down after the excitement of the weekend. Tired but highly relaxed after the weekend in good company, these sessions are often the sweetest.