The last weekend in February is a great time to be in Doolin. The annual Russell Memorial Weekend kicks off the spring season to celebrate the lives of world-famous traditional musicians and Irish Music. The Russell family Micho, Packie and Gussie Russell have left behind them a rich heritage of Irish tunes that can be found filling the pubs, hotels and all corners of Doolin today.
It all started in 1995 as a remembrance to Micho Russell who passed away in 1994. He was one of Ireland’s most loved and well known traditional musicians. By 2006 the festival had grown to become the ‘Russell Memorial Weekend’ in memory of all three Russell brothers and their two sisters Bridie and Mary Kate. Making their memories proud the festival now boasts some of the best traditional Irish entertainment from all corners of the country.
Locals and visitors alike get to be taken back to the years of charming pub music sessions in the informal setting of pubs and hotel parlors, like old times. The 1960s and 70s were the highpoint in Doolin’s traditional music past. That was just about the time a young Bill O’Brien was starting his ferry business. Coincidence we wonder?
Friday night 26th February entertainment will include a concert featuring a host of local musicians and up-and-coming young talent. This begins at 7pm and everyone is welcome!
If you can only catch one day go for the Saturday 27th February afternoon concert starting at 2:00pm. The line-up is great and you just never know who could stop in for a session. The highlight will be a performance by the Fiddling legend Frankie Gavin and De Dannan to set the tone off for a great show.
On Sunday 28th February the annual anniversary mass is held at the Doolin Church followed by the wreath-laying at the Russell grave in Doolin cemetery in memory of all the musicians who have passed away over the years. If set dancing is your thing you can round off the day with a great session at 8:00pm Sunday evening.
There are many great happenings throughout the festival weekend at the Russell Cultural Centre including fiddle & tin whistle classes, poetry readings, stage performances, workshops, and lectures so there is something for all. The ferries from Doolin to the Aran Islands will not be operating this weekend but will be running soon! Check back with us in the next few weeks.
See the full schedule of the weekends WEEKEND EVENTS.