Visitors from across the world gather in Cairncastle for annual festival

Piper Ross Hume at the Cairncastle Ulster Scots Folk Festival. INLT 31-359-PR
Piper Ross Hume at the Cairncastle Ulster Scots Folk Festival. INLT 31-359-PR

visitors from as far afield as Sweden, Jamaica, New Zealand and Poland were among those who enjoyed the variety of music and culture on offer at this year’s Cairncastle Ulster-Scots Bluegrass and Folk Festival.

This was the 12th year of the popular event, which now spans six days and covers all aspects of Ulster-Scots culture, including history, language, music and dance.

One of the festival organisers, Bobby Acheson, said the weather held out well for this year’s event which helped make it all the more enjoyable for those attending.

“We had another very successful year and it was great once again to see so many people, from so many different places, descending on our wee village.

“People say to us that the festival is like a hidden gem. It’s really good when people come along and appreciate what’s on offer,” he said.

Throughout the festival there was a variety of events and activities, starting with an open music session on the Tuesday evening, which attracted 35 musicians.

Following on from that was a Bluegrass night and various workshops offering a range of topics such as the Ulster Covenant, differences in Ulster-Scots and Irish language, Bluegrass origins, storytelling and Ulster-Scots and Irish musical instruments. A praise service and the ever popular Ulster-Scots bus tour made sure there was something for everyone.

“As well as our many local supporters, it was fantastic to see people who had come to the area specially for the festival,” said Bobby Acheson. “There were people from Scotland, for instance, who had never been to Northern Ireland before.

“The film team from RTE with with us on the bus tour and on the Thursday night so when that goes on air in January it will help to get the word out about the festival to an even wider audience,” he added.

Bobby said that the organisers would like to thank everyone who supported this year’s festival in any way and helped make it such a success.

“All the help and support we get is very much appreciated,” he said.