Newry.ie
The 4 of Us arrive on Stage at Newry Town Hall for Iúr Cinn Fleadh. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
The 4 of Us arrive on Stage at Newry Town Hall for Iúr Cinn Fleadh. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

When The 4 of Us bounced on to stage in Newry Town Hall in 1989 one of the lines of their much celebrated song Mary could easily instead have read “Oh Newry why don’t you have some sense. Please do something to restore my confidence!” 25 years later on Saturday night at the flagship concert of Iúr Cinn Fleadh confidence in Newry was restored times a thousand with an epic concert that will go down in history as one of the truly great gigs in our truly great Town Hall.

Bothán in full flow at The Railway Bar during Iúr Cinn Fleadh. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Bothán in full flow at The Railway Bar during Iúr Cinn Fleadh. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

With a budget of virtually nil the group Newry 2020 came up with a spectacular first Iúr Cinn Fleadh Festival that had so many highlights. The boat trip down Newry Canal over two nights on tall ship Soteria could have been sold out many times over. Young group Cup O’Joe’s performance in the Riverside Church was beyond outstanding and many of the city’s bars experienced totally top notch traditional music, some for the very first time.

Aisleain McGill from Newry and Mourne District Council said “The Iúr Cinn Fleadh event in association with Newry 2020 was a great example of public and private sectors working together for Newry. The Sean Hollywood Arts Centre team were very glad to be able to host the 4 of Us gig in the Town Hall. It went better than we could have ever hoped for; and the memory of the whole audience singing along to Mary will be on the minds of everyone in that room for many years.”

The 4 of Us on stage at Newry Town Hall for their sell out 25th Anniversary Gig as part of Iúr Cinn Fleadh. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
The 4 of Us on stage at Newry Town Hall for their sell out 25th Anniversary Gig as part of Iúr Cinn Fleadh. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

Aisleain continued “And that was only one highlight of a night full of memories; of a night tinged with nostalgia for all. Everyone was in great spirits, and you could see clusters of former school friends gathered outside the Town Hall, with shouts of recognition, and lots of conversations starting with  "...and where are you now?" When the band last graced the stage twenty five years ago, no one could have foreseen their subsequent success. Nor indeed could the audience members from that last gig in December 1989 have known that the next time they saw their musical heroes, they'd require babysitters and a designated driver!”

Newry.ie funded a prize of £100 for the Best Street Session at Iúr Cinn Fleadh and Columba O'Hare, Newry.ie is pictured presenting the prize to the winning group MACA comprising Maria McGauley, Caoimhe McKiverigan, Annie Ryan and Anna Kearney.
Newry.ie funded a prize of £100 for the Best Street Session at Iúr Cinn Fleadh and Columba O'Hare, Newry.ie is pictured presenting the prize to the winning group MACA comprising Maria McGauley, Caoimhe McKiverigan, Annie Ryan and Anna Kearney.

“We're grateful to the boys for choosing Newry for the flagship event of their short anniversary tour; and are looking forward to seeing them again.....soon?”

She concluded  “Many thanks are due to the Newry 2020 team who were so easy to work with and pleasant to be around.  Here's to next year!“

Sarah Meaney from Newry 2020 and one of the Iúr Cinn Fleadh organisers had one word for the event “Epic” but did elaborate “When Newry 2020 came up with the idea of the Fleadh we wanted to produce a signature festival for Newry which could grow and grow. After seeing at first hand the enthusiasm and hunger locally for our festival from the people of Newry and the musicians themselves, we think we just might have unearthed a desire for bigger and better things in Newry. To see new people coming into our city from places like Downpatrick and Cookstown and even American visitors enjoying themselves at an event that wouldn’t have existed except for the massive work put in to it by our small voluntary team makes me really happy and excited at the prospect of what can be acheived in the future.”

NB: All the photographs from Iúr Cinn Fleadh will be uploaded later.

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