50 Years of the Great Music in Irish Houses Festival


June 7th marks a significant milestone in the history of the Great Music in Irish Houses Festival as it is the 50th anniversary of Ireland’s longest-running chamber music festival.  Started in 1970 in Castletown House in Leixlip, then the home of the Hon. Desmond Guinness, and Carton House, Maynooth, by David Laing, throughout its existence the Festival has presented internationally renowned artists from at home and abroad playing exquisite music in settings of great historical, social and architectural interest.  The Festival was excited at the prospect of a magnificent line-up of events and music this year but sadly, the pandemic put an end to these plans. However, while the Festival itself will not be as planned, a number of activities have been organised to mark this landmark 50th birthday.

On Friday, June 5th, RTÉ lyric fm will devote one of its flagship daytime programmes, The Full Score, with Liz Nolan to the Festival. Between 1.00 pm and 4.00 pm, the programme will include contributions from distinguished musicians and will also feature former artistic director Judith Woodworth and Ciara Higgins, the Festival’s current Artistic Director. The Full Score will also include a wide variety of wonderful chamber music through the afternoon, celebrating all things Great Music in Irish Houses! It will be a wonderful opportunity to hear what makes this Festival such a special experience and will highlight some of the magical moments it has created for Irish audiences over half a century.

The Festival is also planning to celebrate its actual 50th birthday on Sunday, June 7th by hosting on its Facebook Page a series of online interviews, discussions, short performances and special birthday messages from artists and loyal audience members who have attended over the years, culminating with a virtual birthday concert from the homes of over 10 musicians in Ireland, France and the United Kingdom.  

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