The Ballydonoghue Bardic Festival (BBF) began in 2018 and is designed to enhance connectedness and pride in our community through events that promote literary endeavour and achievement, traditional music, song and dance, the Irish language, poetry and conversation, etc. in what we hope will be a subtle blend of culture and fun!
The 2023 festival seeks to honour the memory of Pádraig Liath Ó Conchubhair, who was born in Lisselton in the parish of Ballydonoghue in 1745 and died around 1820. He was a Hedge Schoolmaster, Poet and renowned Academic who established The Lisselton Bardic Court, known as ‘Cúirt na Súagh’, The Court of the Wise.
The festival takes place annually on the last weekend in March, beginning on the Thursday with a bilingual Festival Mass. Readers in Irish are drawn from the local community, parish National Schools and the Gaelscoil in Listowel. This is followed by an open-ended discussion in a nearby pub on some aspect of local history, e.g. Hedge Schools, writers from the parish, etc.
Writing competitions for children and adults have been running since the New Year. These are in English and Irish and the winners are announced on Friday night at the Festival Launch, accompanied by live traditional music and song.
Literary and traditional music and dance workshops take place on Saturday, followed by a concert/Céilí on Saturday night. Sunday morning has a conversational Irish event, with an Open Mic session to wind up the festival around 2 p.m. A Specialist Dance workshop, facilitated by legendary dancers Miley Costello and Jimmy Hickey, is also being planned for this year, to ensure the continuity of The Ribbon Dance in the North Kerry area, this to take place on Saturday, April 1st, details to follow.
Full details of competitions and workshops are available on ballydbardfest.com.