Much enjoyment was had in Portarlington over the weekend. Many of us had our musical hearts stolen by Eleanor McEvoy, whilst Solas and Claymore gave strong, tight and rallying performances. The National Celtic Festival team outdid itself this year. A strong line-up and record attendances led to Portarlington bouncing all weekend. The program appealed to all ages and interests, from children’s fiddle classes, Irish pipes workshops, local musical talents, choirs, brass bands and dancing lessons. The local eateries, clothes shops and accommodation facilities reported record sales, which has put a real smile on everyone’s faces, especially as we brace ourselves for the next few cold months. The significance of this event cannot be underestimated. It is a true energiser, energising musical talent and appreciation, local volunteering and the local economy.
It was a privilege to see it all happen. It is a cohesion which is remarkable and which produces a world benchmark for music festivals. The success of this year’s festival will be difficult to top, but I know we will all be waiting with great anticipation for next year’s events. Congratulations to Una McAlinden and the committee, the performers, the support staff, volunteers and workers in all the food and service outlets, the visitors and the Portarlington community for what I know must be a show-stopping, tourist-stopping and educational event for years to come in Portarlington.