Johnny Doherty Festival Ardara

This year’s Johnny Doherty Festival takes place in Ardara on the weekend of September 21-23.

This year’s Johnny Doherty Festival takes place in Ardara on the weekend of September 21-23.

Following on from the huge success of last year’s festival which brought people from all over the world to the scenic town of Ardara, the organisers are confident of a successful weekend again this year. The organisers hope to provide something for everyone to enjoy, with Concerts, Ceilis, Barn Dances, Sean Nós, Set Dancing, Workshops, Pub and Street Sessions.

Cherish the Ladies, who sold out on their two previous visit to the festival and delighted audiences are back again, this time with one of the biggest names in Irish music - Maura O’Connell.

Taking their name from a traditional Irish jig, Cherish the Ladies began in 1985 with a series of concerts celebrating the rise of female musicians in once a male dominated scene. The troupe initially won recognition as the first all-women traditional music and dance ensemble, but they soon established themselves as musicians and performers without peer and have since won many thousands of fans of their music. They offer up a great mix of trad, country, bluegrass, folk and lots more, a mix that keeps audiences coming back for more!

Maura O’Connell needs no introduction. The veteran of De Danaan and A Woman’s Heart veteran is famous for her contemporary interpretations of Irish folk songs, strongly influenced by American country music.

The Cherish the Ladies with Maura O’Connell concert takes place on Saturday, September 22 at 8.30pm in the Nesbitt Arms Hotel.

The festival’s Opening Concert features Derek McGinley & Tara Conaghan with Jim Byrne, Fiona Heywood & Donna Harkin at the Beehive Bar on Friday night at 8.30pm.

In the best festival tradition, the music won’t be confined to official gigs. Street and pub sessions will be held throughout the weekend and all musicians are welcome to join in.

Those who want to improve their skills can avail of workshops in Set Dance, Barn Dance or Sean Nos. And, all the keen dancers out there will want to join in the Ceilis and Sets on Saturday night or Sunday afternoon.

And, of course, it wouldn’t be the Johnny Doherty Festival if it didn’t all come to a rousing conclusing with the Final Concert, which this year takes place on Sunday night at 8pm in the Beehive Bar.

For full details of the programme, visit