The Eddie Butcher Festival starts this week, with a packed schedule of events.
Eddie Butcher (1900-80) lived a tough but simple life as a farm labourer and road worker at Aughill town land. He and his three brothers were all singers – “from a singing family in a singing locality” as Portrush song collector John Moulden describes it. Eddie had a hundred odd songs, some of them composed by himself, others partly constructed by him. He was a robust singer, accented in the almost Scottish way of North Derry, with a subtle dramatic delivery. Well documented in his life-time by Hugh Shields of Trinity College Dublin, he became popular during the 1960s through radio broadcasts, an iconic album and the early traditional music revival scene. Andy Irvine of the group Planxty, Paul Brady, Len Graham and Dubliner Frank Harte were among those who learned some of their most iconic pieces at Eddie Butchers fireside at Aughill in Magilligan.
•WEDNESDAY 14 SEPT, 9pm til late. Festival opening night in Cooley’s Bar Benone/Magilligan. A great night of singing, music and craic with a buffet and special guests. Admission Free
•THURSDAY 15 SEPT, 7.30pm. A night not to be missed at the Cairn in Greencastle, Co.Donegal with local singers and musicians from all over Inishowen Donegal and Derry. The Cairn is a fabulous education centre set up by local historian and singer songwriter Patsy Kavanagh. Admission Free
•FRIDAY 16 SEPT, Doors open 7.30pm/Event starts 8pm. Flowers of Ulster is a night to celebrate women in song, music and dance from all over North Ulster. Sponsored by Cafe Piazza, you can purchase refreshments from the cafe before the event and during interval. Act 1: Bog Cotton (Mairead Walls) – Act 2: The Wild Rose (Aisling Oir) – Act 3: Mountain Heather (Rita Gallagher) – Act 4: The Whins (Marana McCloskey) – Act 5: The Thistle (Sollus School of Dancing). There is an after party in the Alexander Arms and all are welcome to come along. Admission £8 full / £4 concession for students and pensioners. Tickets are available via our Box Office on Tel: 028 7776 0650.
•SATURDAY 17 SEPT, from 11am. Traditional singing workshops in Magilligan Presbyterian Church Hall. Everyone welcome. 11am-1pm: Singing workshop with Tommy Dunne; 1-2pm: Lunch break; 2-3.30pm: Singing workshop with Rosie Stewart.
•SATURDAY 17 SEPT, 8-11pm. Join us at Benone Tourist Complex for an evening concert of singing and music – this is a formal invitation for all traditional musicians and singers to attend. Last year we accommodated visitors from as far afield as Canada, America, England, France and Germany, and we hope this year will be no different! Everyome is welcome to attend, and either participate or just sit back and enjoy. A buffet will follow afterwards at Bobs Bar & Bistro, Magilligan.
•SUNDAY 18 SEPT, 2-4.30pm. A fascinating talk by Seamus O’Kane on Banrion an Cheoil (Queen of Music) – the famous Downhill Harp – in the stunning location of Mussenden temple overlooking Downhill beach. The harp replica will be also be presented at this event and you can enjoy some stunning harp playing in this beautiful and unique setting. Admission: National Trust standard admission charges. Supported by the National Trust.
•SUNDAY 18 SEPT, 5pm. Join us for the festival closing at the Downhill Hostel. Singers and musicians are all welcome to attend. refreshments will be available.
You can get further information on this superb local festival by following The Eddie Butcher Festival on facebook, or contact Limavady Tourist Information on Tel: 028 7776 0650