Tyneside Irish Centre’s 31st Festival got underway on Sunday 15th October in the presence of the Newcastle on Tyne Mayor Linda Wright.
The week-long festival saw organiser Tony Corcoran welcome the Mayor and her husband Colin, as well as Ian Mearns, MP for Gateshead.
The first part of the opening event featured a concert with Irish music and dance.
The diverse cultures of Newcastle and surrounding areas were also represented by the Newcastle Women’s healthy living Bollywood dancing, and a ladies’ choir form the local Chinese quarter, which is close to the Irish Centre.
There followed a Ceili with a wonderful Irish dance display from the Newcastle University Irish Dancers.
The main attraction of this year’s festival is Wicklow based band Perfect Friction who headline on Saturday 21st October.
Traditional musicians the Cullen sisters, Lottie (uilleann pipes) and Courtney (fiddle), are joined by another all Ireland champion, Debbie Byrne on accordion and Anton Bracken on guitar, with Eddie Kavanagh on bodhran.
In 2012 they recruited the charismatic and versatile singer Louise Kelly, a graduate in Voice and Dance from the University of Limerick.
Louise has performed throughout the World and was chosen to perform for the Dalai Lama.
Together they created an original sound, mixing modern and classic pop hits with their distinctive Irish backing, and dancing skills.
Recently they have been top of the bill at prestigious festivals throughout the World and Ireland including the Fleadh Cheoil, headline act at the Templebar Tradfest and a six-month residency contract from Disney World, Orlando, USA. The Tyneside Irish Festival is delighted to have them make their UK debut in the Toon.
The Tyneside Irish Festival runs from to 22nd October, and tickets and information can be got from www.tynesideirish.com or by calling 0191 2610384.
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There is no musical instrument that stirs the blood more than the haunting sound of the uilleann pipes, especially if you have Irish blood in your veins.