There are those who prefer Dublin in the rare ould times and decry the trendy and touristy urban renewal zone of the Temple Bar district, where trad music seems more a marketing ploy than something that is really respected. The exception being the iconic Claddagh Record Shop, one of the last remaining places to get your hands on the good stuff on disk, I mean. But under the aegis of the Temple Bar Cultural Trust directed CEO Dermot McLaughlin - one of the most highly regarded traditional musicians in Ireland - a January festival is rapidly becoming a pacesetter for the quality of the programming and presentation (www.templebartrad.ie) in only its fourth year in the capital city that was badly in need a trad festival of its own. Running on the last weekend in January (January 28-February 1), the Temple Bar Trad Fest 2009 opens with concerts with the Glacken Brothers, Paddy, Seamus and Kevin, Paddy Keenan and Tommy O'Sullivan, Solas, the Michael McGoldrick Band and those Donegal songbirds Triona and Mairead Ni Dhomnaill, Moya Brennan and Mairead ni Maonaigh. Representing the younger generation are the Fidil pair from Donegal, Ciaran O'Maonaigh and Aidan O'Donnell, and two young Dubs, Liam O'Connor and Sean McKeon who were recognized individually as Gradam Cheoil Young Musicians of the Year (as was Ciaran O'Maonaigh) who will be releasing a new CD, Dublin Made Me, through Na P'obair' Uilleann in February. There's even outdoor ceilithe with the Tulla Ceili Band and two branches of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann on offer as well. Among the many free events like music sessions and children's programming will be two screenings of "From Shore to Shore", produced by Pat Mullins and Philip King's "Bringing it All Back Home", about the journeys that traditional Irish music has taken over and back. Even if you aren't planning on being in Dublin this month, it is something to keep in mind next year or simply enjoy some of the podcasts available online.
Ancient Irish recorded first solar eclipse 5,000 years ago