Wednesday: Stork Ejlaender Shanty Choir from Denmark and Paddy's Passion from Holland arrived in Waterford today and stayed overnight in the Ocean Hotel in Dunmore East. Most members of Hooks and Crookes joined them later in the evening and welcomed them all to Waterford after their long and tiring journeys from their homelands. There is no better way to freshen up than to sing and we sang some beautiful songs, each in turn. A lovely start to what promises to be a great weekend of music and craic. Aye
Thursday: Riggerloftets from Norway arrived in Waterford this evening and a bus was arranged to bring them and Hooks and Crooks out to Dunmore East. We started in the Sailing Club in the Harbour for grub (thank you Andy) and grog first, followed by some wonderful music by all the groups present (we were joined there by Stork Ejlaender Shanty Choir from Denmark, Paddy's Passion from Holland and later by Armstrong's Patent and 'tScheepsfolk, both from Holland). What a lovely setting and venue for an occasion like this. We adjourned then to the Ocean Hotel for more grog, more fabulous music and later some very welcome grub, courtesy of Paul McDaid and the staff. A great night indeed. Aye
Almost all the groups gathered in the Large Room, Waterford City Hall at around 6 pm where the Festival was officially opened by Cllr Pat Hayes, Deputy Mayor of Waterford, who thanked all the groups for coming to Waterford and offering their vibrant music to the people of the City. He also extended an invitation to them to come back again and said they would be very welcome when the Tall Ships Race returns to the City in 2011. Hooks and Crookes then began the music with a lively rendition of Roll The Woodpile Down, which had the rafters ringing. One group then from each country represented at the festival sang a song, all of which were greatly appreciated in the opulent setting of the Large Room, a wonderful space for such an event. We adjourned then to the Tower Hotel across the road for food and refreshments. Thereafter the groups brought their lively music to the people of Waterford at various venues around the City. We adjourned later to the Tower Hotel again for more grub, grog and singing into the wee hours.
Saturday was a great day with activities all over the City, beginning with a performance by the City of Waterford Brass band performing outside the Granary in Hanover Street followed by a parade of sail through the City, led by the Thomas Francis Meagher Fife & Drum Band and ably assisted by the 'Press Gang', members of Waterford's Youth Art Group, who mesmerised us with their antics. Musical Groups were dropped off at various venues along the way, where they performed for the the people of the City.
At 5.30 all gathered at the Formby-Coningbeg Memorial opposite Reginalds Tower for a wreath laying ceremony in memory of all those lost at sea and locally in the Harbour.
Following a superb meal in Dooleys Hotel, a gala concert was held in Christ Church Cathedral where a very supportive audience was entertained Hooks and Crookes, Dick Miles, Paddy's Passion, Baggyrinkle and Les Souilles de Fond de Cale in the first half of the Concert. The Riggorloftets Shanty Choir from Norway and our own Male Voice Choir from Tramore followed in the second half. A great concert and all who performed remarked on the beautiful surroundings and the fabulous acoustics. Magical.
Then the various groups departed to the various venues where they performed with style and panache to very appreciate audiences (generally!).
Following the public performances, all the groups adjourned to Dooleys Hotel for the Festival Club where we talked, drank and sang into the wee hours (and ably handled by Fear an Ti, Olly Lupton).
On Sunday, all the performers gathered for another day of events and performances. Today too was the day that we spread our wings with three groups visiting Dungarvan (Short Drag Roger, Les Souilles and Stork Ejlaender Shantychor). We were somewhat overwhelmed by the unexpected welcome extended to us there. We were formally greeted there by the Mayor of Dungarvan, Cllr Damien Geoghegan, Joe O'Flaherty (Dungarvan Town Clerk) and Austin Flynn (Commodore of Dungarvan Harbour Sailing Club). After a generous welcome in the Council Chamber the Mayor presented a commemorative scroll and the Dungarvan Town Council crest to each group. Tom Keith oversaw the entire function and later joined us for lunch in the Nearby Park Hotel, which was very generously provided by Dungarvan Town Council. We sang in the Sailing Club premises and again on the quayside. Thanks too to Lena Walsh of the Deise singers for her input
There was also a tour of the Hook Peninsula by Armstrong's Patent, Paddy's Passion and Falmouth Shout who visited Hook Lighthouse. They were afforded a great welcome by Anne Waters and all her crew who provided conducted guided tours of the Lighthouse and a light lunch in the restaurant nearby. All the singing of course was enjoyed by visitors to the area. On the way back the groups stopped at the Dunbrody in New Ross, where all the groups were really impressed with the Famine Ship, its construction, history and the cramped conditions which emigrants from our shore had to endure on the long voyage to America. Suitably enthused, the groups sang their hearts out for the visitors to the ship, and had to be dragged away.
Elsewhere in the City, there was a coffee concert at Christ Church at noon. 't Scheepsfolk, Rum and Shrub and Warp 4 added to the charisma of this enchanting venue by the songs they sang, which very very much appreciated by the captive audience. After lunch other shanty groups sang at various venues around the City.
All then assembled at the Plaza, back in Waterford City, for the farewell concert. Each group in turn sang one song and all the joined Hooks and Crookes for a rousing but evocative rendition of Roseana, beautifully sung by Joe.
The LE Orla sounded the salute and the Local River rescue team set off flares to signal the end of the Festival.
We adjourned then to the Munster Bar, for food, refreshments and.....more singing to while the night away. Another fantastic night to cap a fantastic weekend.
Lars Austad, from Norway, who was with Riggorloftets (but not singing) sent us a large collection of photographs taken during the Festival. Many thanks Lars, and below are a selection from your portfolio. 28th September 2010
Thanks to all the photographers who supplied photos and apologies if any group is left out or under-represented (send us your photos if you think this is the case)
And last, but not least, the WINNERS of the painting competition held in the local schools as part of the Festival (and raising awareness of maritime issues among local schoolchildren). Thank you to all those who entered and to our sponsors for the generous prizes