Irish voices rise up for heritage festival

The second Irish Heritage weekend will be held Friday to Sunday, February 15-17.

There will be an influx of musicians and visitors who will celebrate the history and contribution of Irish immigration and heritage to the area, event organiser Paul Gallagher said.

Lassie returns: Rosie McDonald and Nigel Lever will perform as a duo at the Irish Heritage Festival. Photo courtesy Rosey McDonald.

Lassie returns: Rosie McDonald and Nigel Lever will perform as a duo at the Irish Heritage Festival. Photo courtesy Rosey McDonald.

Irish acoustic singer Rosie McDonald will perform at the festival as a duo with partner Nigel Lever.

McDonald’s grandfather Dr Francis (Frank) Burns had a medical practice in town from 1920 to 1957.

“He was one of two town doctors: they called it ‘hatched, patched and dispatched’ … He lived in Goulburn Street near the fire station until 1957 when he moved to Sydney and continued his practice in Randwick.

“I’m really looking forward to coming to Crookwell. I’d like to hear some of the stories,” she said.

McDonald has played in folk bands for 20 years, such as Seanchas, RAPT & the Hippy Trippy band, Mothers of Intention, and Folklore. 

Nigel Lever and Rosie McDonald will perform at the Irish festival in Crookwell, February 15-17.

Nigel Lever and Rosie McDonald will perform at the Irish festival in Crookwell, February 15-17.

Lever is a renowned bluegrass and folk mandolinist, guitarist and singer. He is a founding member of Acoustic Shock and member of the Karen Lynne band, which toured extensively in Australia and overseas.

Included in their set is the song Moreton Bay, about the Irish being sent to Australia. “The Burns family are from Northern Ireland. It’s a pretty amazing story about how one man [Stephen Burns] came out from Northern Ireland... He came out on a ship from Northern Ireland, he was actually ship’s captain. He met his future wife, Ellen, on that ship. She was coming to work for a family. That’s part of the folk song tradition that you sing those stories.”

Much of the music is associated with the traditional style; well-known songs such as The Binda Ball reflected this, Gallagher said.

There will be traditional music and song sessions with an Irish Ceili (dance) to be held in the Pavilion at the Showground, and a concert at the Crookwell RSL.

  • Find the Crookwell Irish Heritage Weekend on Facebook.