DAY 5 – SATURDAY JULY 25TH
The Carrigaline Craft and Food Fair in the Owenabue Car Park began early on Saturday morning with the car park being closed off to traffic. The following were on display over the weekend –
- Carrigaline Country Markets – produce was on sale.
- Carrigaline Farmhouse Cheese – promotional material was on display.
- Crow’s Nest, Cobh – roasted a pig on a spit and sold to the public.
- Lordon’s Farm – produce was on display.
- Griffin’s Farm – a very imaginative and impressive display of their product range of mainly potatoes. Many have forgotten how much can be done with potatoes.
- O’Connail Chocolate – their stall would have in danger of being blown away, so had to abandon the idea.
- Veronica Stuart & other Lace Makers – large impressive crafts on display and information available from the team of lace makers.
- Bee Keeping – information stand and some craft articles made from bees wax on display. A workshop and demonstration were given by Pat Linehan.
- CAN (Carrigaline Arts Network) Artists – the windy and wet conditions made it difficult to display.
- John McCarthy (a young artist) – craft on display and for sale.
- Kinsale Arts and Crafts – Jeweller craft produce display and for sale.
Clubs and organisations
- Owenabue Archery – information stand and members assisted the public to try using their bow & arrows to hit a target.
- Carrigaline Youth Club – made some cakes etc for sale
- Damhsa Fest – information on the festivals activities
- Bouncing Castle
- Large inflated slide
- Shooting Gallery
- Balloon Stall
- Dog Show, sponsored by Pet Essentials
- A number of local bands performed and entertained the passing crowds as well as the exhibitors.
- Local restaurants offered to be involved and associated with the weekend festival.
Cork City + Dance Extravaganza
In Cork City, Kabluchok entertained the lunch time audience outside of the Cork City Library on Grand Parade. Later on the Saturday night was the Dance Extravaganza Concert in Cork City Hall, the final concert and the highlight of the festival. It was the largest crowd in City Hall that the festival has seen since the European Capital of Culture in 2005. 6 groups performed for receptive audience – Kupalo, Kabluchok, Jugnu Bhangra, Owenabue Valley, Kiely Walsh Academy of Dance and the Filipino Community in Cork. The Festival Club held in the Millennium Hall allowed the performers to let their hair down, exchange each other’s dances and mix with the other group along with members of the public.
DAY 4 – FRIDAY JULY 24TH
A television news crew had made contact with us and wanted to do a feature on Damhsa Fest ’09 for national television. Before visiting Charles Fort in Kinsale on Friday morning, Kupalo, Jugnu Bhangra and Owenabue Valley Traditional Group performed on the grass outside the fort to many on looking tourists, who were delighted with the unexpected show. The interview by Barry Mescal was broadcast on RTÉ 1 Nuacht and TG4 Nuacht on Friday evening and again on Sunday night on TG4.
After glorious sunshine for the TV interview, the planned guided tour of the fort was cancelled due to a very heavy downpour. This heavy rain returned with thunder and lightning in the afternoon just as the outdoor, free public performance on the gig rig was about to begin in Kinsale Town centre. Again, many of the tourists remained in doorways, local hostelries and shops. One family of four remained on their front row bench under their large umbrella and actually kept dry through it all. The performance commenced after the mobile stage was dried off. A large passing crowd enjoyed the show even during the light and heavy showers.
After a meal in the White House restaurant, the groups travelled to the Parkway Hotel Dunmanway. Again the special stage and lighting was brought in and erected to add to the atmosphere of the performance after a short parade through the town. While the concert performance was excellent and the audience really appreciated it, the numbers were not as high as had been expected. All of the performers were given a meal after their show.
DAY 3 – THURSDAY JULY 23RD
Rain delayed the start of the performance in the Square in Blarney. The Kupalo and Jugnu Bhangra groups had visited Blarney Castle before changing in the Blarney Woollen Mills. Crowds of people were gathered together in sheltered pockets around the square and many stayed to enjoy the various performances by the Owenabue Valley Traditional Group, Jugnu Bhangra and Kupalo. The changing tent on the side of the stage allowed the performers to change costumes during their performance or shelter while waiting to go on stage. Just after the performance finished it had to be evacuated as the wind lifted it and it hit the side of the stage. Christy’s Hotel sponsored the Irish stew lunch. Impromptu performances took place outside the hotel and Blarney Woollen Mills to the passing tourists delight. Many of the international dancers took extra time in Blarney Castle to view the area and do some shopping.
The mobile stage transferred to Mallow ahead of the groups arriving for the evening performance in Market Square. Over 700 people packed the Square for the free two hour outdoor performance. Local groups of musicians and dancers also performed on stage with Kupalo and Jugnu Bhangra.
DAY 2 – WEDNESDAY JULY 22ND
On Wednesday morning Kupalo were treated to a tour of the National Maritime College of Ireland in Ringaskiddy. As the group are based in the landlocked city of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada they were delighted to be able to have such a wonderful maritime experience.
Jugnu Bhangra took to the streets of Cork City at lunch time. Beginning with a brief performance on Grand Parade outside the City Library, they progressed on to Patrick’s Street to perform outside Brown Thomas. A number of press photographers picked up good shots, which made front page and inner pages of both local and national newspapers.
Kabluchok were given a guided tour of some historic and picturesque West Cork on their way from Dunmanway back to Carrigaline for the evening parade through the town. Around 7 pm the north bound traffic was stopped at the bridge on the Main Street by the local Gardai to allow the Carrigaline Pipe Band to lead the parade from the Owenabue Car Park to the Carrigaline Court Hotel. Jugnu Bhangra (Punjab), Kupalo (Canadian Ukranian), Kabluchok (Russia) and the Owenabue Valley paraded behind them through the town with crowds of people looking on. A very entertaining and enjoyable concert was held in the Carrigaline Court Hotel at 8pm. A raised stage was brought in by Shields Stages and lighting was brought in which added to the atmosphere of the packed ballroom. The concert was followed by the festival club, where over a hundred audience members remained on to enjoy a cup of tea and sandwiches and joined in to dance with the performing groups.
DAY 1 – TUESDAY JULY 21ST
Damhsa Fest 09 began in earnest in Cobh Town on Tuesday July 21st. Kupalo travelled directly from Killarney to Cobh for two successful performances held in between the showers. Park Road House Day Care Centre hosted a morning performance. The Kupalo and Owenabue Valley performances were very well presented to the Senior Citizens and the neighbours.After a 3 course lunch in the day care centre, the outdoor mobile stage, from Shields Stages, the sound equipment and the performers moved to the Promenade for the afternoon performance. A Canadian group of Highland Dancers were performing before the Kupalo and Owenabue Valley groups began. Quite a large appreciative audience gathered as there was a Cruise Liner in the deep water berth that day. The MC, Eamonn Cogan, got the international audience of tourists and locals to participate in some Irish Ceili dancing, which they all seemed to enjoy. All the performing groups were then treated to tea and sandwiches in the Cobh Community Centre. A photo of one of the acrobatic Kupalo dancers on stage on the Promenade with the Cruise Liner in the background appeared on the back page of the Irish Examiner.
Two more international groups arrived during the day on Tuesday. Kabluchok from Moscow in Russia flew in to Dublin airport and the 8 dancers with their group leader transferred by coach down to Cork. Jugnu Bhangra and Indian Punjab dance group based in Gravesend in London, England flew in to Cork Airport in the afternoon.
The official launch of Damhsa Fest 09 took place in the Clarion Hotel, Lapps Quay, Cork. This was sponsored by the Clarion Hotel. Members of Russian group Kabluchok from Russia arrived in from Dublin by bus. These were joined by some of the dancers from the Filipino Community in Cork, Kupalo, Jugnu Bhangra, Owenabue Valley and many Damhsa Volunteers to launch this year’s festival. Lord Mayor of Cork, Mr Dara Murphy, was delighted and privileged to be lead in by two India Punjab drummers from the Jugnu Bhangra dance group. After a brief few words of wisdom from the Lord Mayor, squeezed in between his other events, a few press photo shoots were set up in the hotel lobby.
Once all the formalities were completed, everyone paraded down the South Mall, over the Nano Nagle Bridge, and in to the courtyard of the Flying Enterprise complex, off Sullivan’s Quay, for the Festival Club. A large whole pig was roasted on a spit by the Flying Enterprise chefs and fed the close to 200 attendees. All of the groups got to give the audience and opportunity to learn and participate in dances of the different cultures – Ukraine, Punjab, Russia and Ireland. Unfortunately rain curtailed the courtyard outdoor dancing, however it did continue under the covered outdoor area. After all the dancing and eating was done, Kabluchok travelled on to their host town of Dunmanway; Jugnu Bhangra was transported to the Cork International Airport Hotel and Kupalo returned to the Victoria Cross apartments.
PRE-FESTIVAL EVENTS –
The Damhsa Festival had been in discussions with Susan & Travis Finch of a Canadian/Ukrainian dance group, Kupalo, since 2007. This group originally intended to come to Ireland for 3 weeks and asked if we had any contacts with other festivals where they could get the opportunity to perform either before or after Damhsa Fest 09. We made contact with the organisers of the Munster Fleadh Ceol and arranged for Kupalo to take part in the Fleadh’s festive activities on Saturday 19th July.
Kupalo flew in to Dublin Airport on the Thursday before the festival. The 40 strong group of 29 dancers and 11 helpers & parents did some sightseeing in Dublin. On Saturday July 18th, the Munster Fleadh Ceoil in Roscrea, Co. Tipperary hosted Kupalo. They performed on the gig rig on the Saturday night of the weekend festival, where they gave an entertaining 90 minute display of Ukrainian dancing to a large crowd.
On Sunday July 19th, the Kupalo group visited Cashel, attended the Bru Bru Comhaltas concert and. were invited to perform for the crowd after the show. From here they made their way to Killarney, Co. Kerry, where the group stayed on Sunday and Monday night and travelled the Ring of Kerry during the day on the Monday.
DAMHSA FEST ’09 REVIEW
Every year for the past 14 years, three groups of dancers on average per year, join us from various countries to visit our county, through this festival and we have stayed in touch with many of them gaining life friendship for our members. We have shared our culture with them and gained a wonderful awareness of their cultures and very often have returned to visit them bringing our own Irish culture and dance form to a greater audience worldwide.
This year was no different and through advertising for both the Wednesday night concert and the weekend craft & food fair Damhsa Fest 09 promoted Carrigaline as a tourist destination. Set as the hub of the festival both through the local media and to international dancers and dance enthusiasts over the website Carrigaline and the local area was highlighted.
Volunteers were sought from the community and many of them worked throughout the week in various venues not least in the craft and food fair over the weekend. Other community members were involved as both ‘craft’ and ‘food’ stall holders and entertainers.
All events were family orientated and inclusive. Most concerts included an element of participation for all and any age, young and old alike; who ever wished to get involved was welcomed.