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Baltimore Festivals

Baltimore West Cork Festivals

The villages of West Cork love a party but Baltimore and the Islands have more festivals than anywhere else. So what better place than Casey's of Baltimore to get all the advice and information you need on things to do in West Cork and what each of the Baltimore and Islands festivals have to offer? There is plenty to be enjoyed, so whether its music, food, fishing, sailing, arts or literature, there is something for everyone and much to celebrate…as we look forward to 2019.

Message from Declan

Hello and welcome to Fiddle Fair 2017. Our reputation is built on our ability to consistently present a world-class line-up and we're sure you'll agree that this year's programme is very special indeed (you are welcome to skip this summary and head over right now to buy tickets on our Schedule page).We start off on Thursday 5th with our annual candlelit concert where this year's guests are Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh and Mick O' Brien. As a duo this is their second visit to the Fiddle Fair and believe me this show should not be missed!

On Friday night at the Fiddle Fair marquee we present the Irish premiere performance by Fru Skaggerak,  a beautiful new trio from Scandinavia featuring fiddlers from Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.

We follow that with another beautiful trio, Frankie Gavin, Noel Hill and Arty McGlynn - no introduction needed really apart from saying that these are three of the most legendary names in traditional Irish music.

On Saturday lunchtime we present another great duo Bríd Harper and Tony O' Connell. Bríd is an amazing fiddler from Donegal, the spiritual home of Irish fiddle music and Tony is a brilliant concertina player from county Limerick. As a duo this is their first appearance at the festival.

Saturday afternoon's show at Glebe Gardens Amphitheatre marks another first for the Fiddle Fair when we present out first ever act from China. Ling Peng plays the erhu, a two-sringed 'fiddle' of extraordinary sound and she is accompanied by reknowned Latvian guitarist Dmitri Fedotov.

Also on Saturday afternoon we present another band making their Fiddle Fair debut. The Outside Track are an excellent band featuring musicians from several countries including the incredible cape Breton fiddler Mairi Rankin.

On Saturday night we head back to the marquee for another double-bill that kicks off with young Manchester fiddler Emma Sweeney and her band. Mike McGoldrick told us about Emma many moons ago and that's a pretty good recommendation.

Then we are delighted to welcome back the band who played the last ever Fiddle Fair gig at McCarthy's Bar back in 2004. Shetland's extraordinary Fiddlers Bid are quite simply one of the best bands you will ever see anywhere and are simply a 'must-see'.

Sunday lunchtime sees another great new duo make their first visit to the Fiddle Fair. One of our favourite albums of last year was 'Music from the Hudson Valley' by Dylan Foley and Dan Gurney.We loved it so much that we sent an email to New York and invited them to the festival. Thankfully they said yes.

Sunday afternoon's show features our 'artist in residence' Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh perfoming a solo show. Although he plays in some of the hippest bands on the circuit right now, and in some exceptional duos, his solo shows are different...and very special.

Many years ago Donegal box-player and Fiddle Fair regular Dermot Byrne made a beautiful album with Canadian fiddler Pierre Schryer. They have come together again for a few very special shows around the country and we're delighted that the Fiddle Fair is one of them. They are joined by one of our all-time favourite musicians Steve Cooney.

Sunday night's finale promises to be exceptional. First up from Louisiana are Dirk Powell and Courtney Granger.  Dirk is a bit of a Fiddle Fair legend and has been here many times. On one memorable occasion he brought his wife's nephew Courtney, a young kid with an incredible voice. We loved Coutnry so much that we kept him on to tend bar for the summer and we're delighted that he's coming back.

Finally we present a band that we have wanted to bring to the festival for many years, Le Vent Du Nord. We have been lucky enough to see this amazing band from Quebec at several festivals around the world and we guarantee that they will bring Fiddle Fair 2016 to a rousing finale!

“A Taste of Baltimore” Baltimore Seafood and Wooden Boat Festival 
In Association with Guinness


May 26th, 27th and 28th 2017
Programme Festival Sponsor Guinness


Friday 26TH May:

19.00 Mussel Eating Competition. Entries Bushes Bar 19.30 Music on The Square with “Open The Taps”

20.00 Official Opening

Saturday 27TH May:

10.00 Wooden Boat Registration

10.00 Start of “La Jolie Brise Challenge” 8 hours to build a boat out of the material supplied.

10.30 Seafood Cookery Demonstration at

Casey’s of Baltimore, €10 call:028 20197

11.00 Traditional Dinghy Race

14.30 Wooden Boat Harbour Race

15.00 1 hrs Maritime Harbour Trip with Baltimore

Sea Safari, €15 call:087 8762548

18 - 18.30 Last half hour of the Boat Building Challenge

20.30 Music in the Square “Synergy” Reggae & Ska Music

Sunday 28th May:

12.00 Food & Craft Fair on The Pier. Over forty Exhibitors, selling the best from West Cork.

Local Crafts, Smoked and Fresh Fish, Handmade Cheeses and Home Baking are just a taste of what’s on offer

12.30 La Jolie Brise Challenge – Rowing Race followed by Sailing Race

13.00 Demonstration by “Baltimore Lifeboat” in the Harbour

13.00 ‘Quercus Kids Crab Fishing Competition’ Lifejackets a must..!

14 - 16.00 Baltimore 2000, Seafood Taster on the Square

14.00 Music in The Square with “Hank Wedel”

14 - 16.00 Kids Entertainment

14.30 Baltimore Harbour Race

16.00 ‘Wooden Boat Parade of Sail’ Not to be Missed

17.00 Prize Giving in the Square

17.30 Music in The Square with “The Dukes”


“A taster of shellfish over the weekend to be had in the Pubs with Guiness Products”


Things to do around Baltimore.

Whale & dolphin watching.

Go on the garden trail.

Visit Lough Ine, 5 minutes away.

Bring the children to the play ground.

Take a trip to the Beach on Sherkin Island

Take a trip to the Gaeltacht Island of Cape Clear.

Visit the art and crafts shop.

Take a stroll to The Beacon.

Visit the O’Driscoll Castle.

Or Simply enjoy a pint of Guinness

O'Driscioll Clan and Midsummer Festival

The facts and myths of the O'Driscoll clan are celebrated 26 – 28th June. The charming coastal village of Baltimore is situated on one of the most south-westerly points of Ireland, renowned for its attractive landscape, unspoiled coastlines and Carbery’s Hundred isles.   

The O’Driscolls having been having their annual Clan Gathering in this part of West Cork for the past twenty three years. Their name has long being associated with the area and in 1961 there was a one-off gathering attended by more than 400 people from around the world.  The gathering in its current format, held over the last weekend in June, has been held annually since 1986.  

The schedule for the clan gathering is organised as a festival known as the “O’ Driscoll Clan Mid Summer festival”, showcasing the area’s natural beauty and involving the local community. The festival has a full programme throughout the weekend. The registration of Clan members takes place in “Dun Na Sead” Castle followed by a talk on O’ Driscoll heritage by a local historian. There are boat trips to the nearby islands of Heir, Sherkin and Cape Clear as well as a trip around Carbery’s Hundred Isles. Back in Baltimore there is a lot of traditional Open Air music and dancing on the square each evening and on the last day (Sunday) the Chieftain addresses the Clan. A new chieftain is elected every two years and is chosen by the past chieftains along with the local committee that organises the clan gathering.     

On this day there is also entertainment and face painting for the children making it a real family day out?  

Actually, there is no Square in Baltimore, but in the Irish way, that’s what the Harbour front is referred to by the locals.    

The Clan Gathering, in many ways, is like a large Family Gathering. There’s that celebratory, party atmosphere of family and friends meeting up who don’t see each other too often, but who are aware of who’s who. There the exchange of stories about others not present this time. There’s a mix of ages. Some clan members bring their children with them. There’s singing, drinking, speeches, and dining.  

The “O” part of the surname was often dropped and the spelling of Driscoll changed by many O’ Driscolls once they had emigrated so even if you you are just plain Driscoll or one of its other versions  you will be welcomed into the clan. Everyone is considered a cousin.   

But why would you want to travel many miles – from Australia, Canada, England, Scotland, The United States and Wales to meet lots of people who have the same name as you but are not closely related. Many feel it like being part of an extended family all returning home (to their roots) to meet up with each other. Somewhere back along the line all of the O’ Driscolls originated in the area. They get to feel a part of the local community. A lot of those attending are back for the umpteenth time and intend continuing to return. Many build their annual holiday around the gathering.    

Baltimore itself has a permanent population of just over two hundred, although it grows every summer with visitors who cannot help but return and who are now very much part of local life.  

Fishing and the Sea have always played an important in the history and economy of the village. Many of the ruined castles standing sentinel on lonely headlands are the ancient homes of the piratical O’ Driscoll clan, who once held sway over a thousand square miles of south-west Ireland.  

Although the quiet harbour resemble the Aegean during the summer, in winter violent storms blast in from the Atlantic. However the harbour and village is protected from the worst of them by Carbery’s Hundred isles, including Sherkin Island and Cape Clear.   

Because of its maritime tradition, Baltimore is well known as one of the best places in the country for water-sports, including sailing, windsurfing, sea angling and diving. You can even learn how to do these while visiting.    

Spring arrives earlier here than almost anywhere else in Ireland, owing to our extreme southerly position and warming influence of the Gulf Stream. Sharp frosts are rare, snow almost unheard of, and as you will see from nearby gardens many shrubs grow well all year round and there is no month where you can’t find a flower somewhere for your enjoyment.   

Local wildlife, including a number of rare birds, also enjoy our mild climate. Out at sea, perhaps on the way to picnic on an uninhabited island you’ll often spot Seals sunning themselves on wave washed rocks or Whales and Dolphins following your boat. With plenty of restaurants and pubs in the village and nearby locality there is no shortage of places to eat and drink. With so much to offer in the locality there is no better place to come for a relaxing holiday.   

Baltimore Pirate Festival

16 June to 18th June

Pirates of Baltimore

The attack in June 1631 by Barbery corsairs was the worst-ever attack on the mainland of Ireland or Britain, also known as ‘the Sack of Baltimore’ - 107 slaves were taken and sold on the markets in Algiers. Recently an archaeological team discovered a pirate shipwreck, you can visit the pirate exhibit in Dún na Séad Castle and follow the history through the Heritage Walk, in books by local authors and artefacts & displays in local bars.

A weekend of events remembering in an entertaining and informative way one of the most remarkable events in Baltimore's colourful past – the attack by Algerian pirates in 1631 known as 'the Sack of Baltimore'. The festival includes attractions for all ages based around the theme of the Sack and the history of pirates and piracy.

Baltimore Regatta

There are races to be won at Baltimore Regatta, (4 – 7th August 2017).  

Of all the attractions that Baltimore offers, sailing is possibly the best known, but sailing in Baltimore doesn't just mean expensive off-shore cruises, crewed by visiting yachtsmen. At the core of the sport are the numerous dinghy sailors who find the harbour and the islands an unbeatable source of relaxation and fun.

The true delight of sailing in Baltimore is to visit some of the many islands which dot the waters of Roaringwater Bay. A beautiful summer's day; a picnic in one of the coves between Baltimore and Schull; a voyage to Cape Clear or Heir. Heavenly!  

If you're not a keen sailor, maybe try kayaking (sea or lake) or hire a boat with an engine to explore the harbour.    

Cape Clear Storytelling Festival

Stories are told on Cape Clear in September  

Baltimore West Cork Sea-angling Festival

There are fish to be caught during the Baltimore Sea-angling Festival Aug 24-27th 2017.

South West Ireland's longest-running deep sea angling competition is noted for exciting fishing and an atmosphere of friendly rivalry. It is open to all and usually attracts anglers from all over Ireland and abroad. A separate one-day shark fishing contest will be followed by a three-day bottom fishing competition for fish like conger, ling, pollack, cod, common skate, etc. Trophies and prizes will be presented at a prize-giving dinner on the last night. Anglers can enter for as many or as few days as they wish as there will also be daily cash prizes presented after fishing each day. The fishing is catch-and-return with results determined on a points-per-fish basis so fish can be returned alive to the sea. In addition, sharks and skate caught will be tagged as part of the Central fisheries Board tagging programme for purposes of scientific research. The boats employed are all licensed and fully-equipped charter boats with qualified skippers.   

Whether it's a contemporary wedding, blessings or a civil ceremony, you can relax in the knowledge that your wedding will run smoothly.

Alex Rey - Cork

Thank you all so much for a wonderful stay! It couldn't have been more fantastic. The rooms, food and accommodations were lovely. We are planning our O'Driscoll family stay for next year with you!

Paul o’Driscoll - Mayo, Ireland

Stayed a night, it was so good we stayed another. The place is fantastic, cosy, warm. And the staff are great, welcoming and helpful. Food is some of the best food we have tasted on our trip so far. 

Paul C -

Walking home after our meal and sampling the home brew from the on-site West Cork Brewery was just what we needed as we were comfortably stuffed with the large, delicious portions of the freshest seafood around, not to mention the home brew..

Mary B -

Crab and prawn starter was very tasty and four of us had tempura of prawn starter as a main course. This was generous in size and really well cooked. 

Mark W -

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