If you are looking for some genuine good craic and great music this weekend April 20-22nd, you can’t go wrong with the flute meeting (Cruinniú na Flúit) in Ballyvourney. This festival has become an annual event and draws flute players (and other musicians) from all over Ireland and indeed the world.
Ballyvourney is a small village in West Cork where Irish is still spoken, although it has to be added that it is only occasionally now that Irish is heard there. The festival is concentrated in only three venues, The Mills bar, The Abbey hotel and the Ionad Cultura (cultural center) . This helps to create a friendly and intimate atmosphere.
This is a great time to go to a traditional music festival. The crowds are not as large as at summer festivals and the atmosphere is just that bit more laid back. These sort of small festivals with a strong line-up of musicians are often the best ones to visit either as a musician, or listener.
The concert on Saturday night features the groups Dingle fife and drum band and locha Bhogaigh and the flautist Ciaran Fitzgerald. Ciaran Fitzgerald is a phenomenal flute player and well worth seeing in a concert setting but the groups are not unmissable. Bear in mind that there will be tremendous music in the Mills and the Abbey hotel also. The final concert on Saturday night will no doubt feature the tutors and should be very enjoyable also if you want to see a concert and enjoy great music in a lovely setting.
My advice is to approach the festival in a relaxed way. The nature of these things is that the best music can break out at any point informally in the pubs and half the fun is trying to be in the right place at the right time. If the pubs are a bit crowded in the evening you can go the concert and enjoy the music in a more spacious setting.
Accomodation in Ballyvourney will be booked out by now, so my advice is to stay in Killarney or Macroom which lie within a 30 minute drive of Ballyvourney. Staying in Killarney offers the oppertunity to mix the festival with some enjoyment of the beautiful sorroundings of that town and for the non musician this is probably the ideal combination.