Record turn-out for Cairncastle Ulster-Scots annual festival soiree

The Lisa Dempsey School of Irish Dancing performed at the Cairncastle Music and dance night.
The Lisa Dempsey School of Irish Dancing performed at the Cairncastle Music and dance night.

There were record crowds at the soiree and Sunday service of another successful Cairncastle Ulster Scots Bluegrass and Folk Festival.

The Halfway House Hotel in Ballygally was packed to capacity for Saturday’s super Ulster-Scots soiree.

A show of Highland Country dancing at the Cairncastle Music and dance night.

A show of Highland Country dancing at the Cairncastle Music and dance night.

The programme included Carnlough’s Singing Undertaker, Michael McSparron; country recording star from Magherafelt, John Burns; funnyman Billy Teare; Ballymena singer/guitarist Davy Sloan; Stewart Buchanan from Donegal and the Island Fiddlers, not forgetting local favourites, the Grousebeaters.

John Burns and Stewart Buchanan also took part in Sunday’s Ulster-Scots Praise Service, in Cairncastle Presbyterian Church Hall, as well as the Full Armour Gospel Choir, along with Grousebeaters’ Wilbert Clarke and Billy McComb.

The festival kicked off on the Tuesday night, with an Old Tyme Dance, also at Cairncastle. Music was by the ever popular Dave Lee.

And it was back to Cairncastle on the Wednesday for a music and dance evening. There was music from the Grousebeaters and the ‘Tuesday Club’; comedy from Billy Teare, and a display of Scottish, Irish, Highland, Polish and Ugandan Dancing.

Kirknarra School of Dance performed at the Cairncastle Music and dance night.

Kirknarra School of Dance performed at the Cairncastle Music and dance night.

On the Thursday night, it was along the coast to the Halfway House, for a Bluegrass Musical Evening, featuring the Blue Stack Mountain Boys from Dublin, plus the Prairie Jaywalkers from Cork.

The Halfway House, too, was the venue for Friday night’s Ulster Scots Musical Evening, starring Stonewall, and the Willie Drennan Ulster-Scots Band, always welcome visitors to Cairncastle Ulster Scots.

There were also daytime workshops in the Halfway for bagpipes, keyboards, accordions; Bluegrass, Irish and Ulster Scots History, and Ulster Scots and Irish Languages..

Cairncastle Ulster Scots Committee would like to thank sponsors Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, the Arts Council and the Community Relations Council; the Halfway House and Cairncastle Presbyterian Church for the use of the premises; all the various artists, and all those who attended the events and helped in any way, towards what was arguably the best Cairncastle Festival yet.

The Ulster Scots music group at the Cairncastle Music and dance night.

The Ulster Scots music group at the Cairncastle Music and dance night.

Kasia Kochanska from K&K Dance Academy putting some of the crowd through their paces at the Cairncastle Music and dance night.

Kasia Kochanska from K&K Dance Academy putting some of the crowd through their paces at the Cairncastle Music and dance night.

Donna from Beyond Skin showing the girls from Kirknarra School of Dance a Ugandan dance.

Donna from Beyond Skin showing the girls from Kirknarra School of Dance a Ugandan dance.

Donna and Nikos from Beyond Skin performed the Cairncastle Music and dance night.

Donna and Nikos from Beyond Skin performed the Cairncastle Music and dance night.

Raymond Harkness and Ann Bell at the Cairncastle Ulster Scots Bluegrass and Folk Festival

Raymond Harkness and Ann Bell at the Cairncastle Ulster Scots Bluegrass and Folk Festival

William and Meta Frame, Ester McFarlane, Rachel Bunting and Sarah Clarke at the Cairncastle Ulster Scots Bluegrass and Folk Festival

William and Meta Frame, Ester McFarlane, Rachel Bunting and Sarah Clarke at the Cairncastle Ulster Scots Bluegrass and Folk Festival

Iris Tweed, Lorna Sherriff, Maurice Tweed and John Sherriff at the Cairncastle Ulster Scots Bluegrass and Folk Festival

Iris Tweed, Lorna Sherriff, Maurice Tweed and John Sherriff at the Cairncastle Ulster Scots Bluegrass and Folk Festival

Elizabeth Campbell, Meta Whiteford, Annette Styles and Joan Whiteford at the Cairncastle Ulster Scots Bluegrass and Folk Festival

Elizabeth Campbell, Meta Whiteford, Annette Styles and Joan Whiteford at the Cairncastle Ulster Scots Bluegrass and Folk Festival