The Shandrum Céilí Band at Doneraile Court: St. Patrick’s Festival 2021

Doneraile Court is the stunning centrepiece of one of Ireland’s most beautiful estates. Located on the banks of the Awbeg River, the house was built in the 1700s by the St. Leger family, who remained in residence until 1969, when the property was sold to the Land Commission.
The house then passed to the care of the Irish Georgian Society, before coming to the stewardship of the Office of Public works (OPW) in 1994. In the summer of 2019, marking a quarter of a century in the care of the OPW, this historic house opened its doors to visitors resuming its rightful place at the heart of the great Doneraile Estate. As with many visitor centres throughout the country, Doneraile house had to suspend the ever popular guided tours of the house in 2020 and 2021 because of the global pandemic. Doneraile Court, which was recently featured on the RTÉ programme ‘Great Irish Interiors’ will now also provide the backdrop for a special programme to be aired for the upcoming virtual St. Patrick’s Festival 2021. For this virtual St. Patricks event the famed Shandrum Céilí Band were selected for this special recording. The three in a row All Ireland winning Shandrum Céilí Band are honoured to be invited to perform for this years St. Patrick’s Festival and were delighted to have the beautiful backdrop of Doneraile estate for this very special recording. The socially distanced recording took place in the beautiful interior of the drawing room in the house. As live music events are currently a distant memory, the Shandrum were once again delighted to be performing together and look forward to the broadcast in the build up to the virtual St Patrick’s Day celebrations. The Shandrum are no strangers to Doneraile Court, having used the exterior of this beautiful landmark as the cover photo for their 2017 album “The Boss Murphy Legacy, Irish Traditional Music from North Cork”. The Shandrum Céilí Band who are well renowned in Irish Traditional Music circles for their rhythmic, lively and precise musical style were delighted to be joined by Sean-Nós dancer Cian Broderick from Rockchapel, Co. Cork. Cian has performed with the band on numerous occasions and can also boast a number of All Ireland medals to his credit. As we cannot gather on the streets of Ireland this year to celebrate our national day, many St. Patrick’s Day celebrations this year are once again cancelled. Fortunately many festival and organising committees have had the opportunity to move the celebrations online. One of these festivals is the St. Patrick’s Festival 2021 which is bringing the festival to life on a virtual basis. The festival theme is Dúisigh Éire! Awaken Ireland! It is a clarion call to all the people across the world to throw off the long, dark months and rise to embrace the brighter days ahead. Showcased through St. Patrick’s Festival TV – SPF TV – a dedicated TV channel at and accessible globally, St. Patrick’s Festival 2021 will feature more than 100 events, created by artists, performers, makers and dreamers across Ireland. This festival running from March 12th – 17th, is offering six great virtual days and nights, where audiences can stream our full programme of events in real time, ensuring that we can celebrate together even though we are apart. It is sure to be an excellent build up to the excitement normally surrounding St. Patrick’s Day and will give people across the world a unique opportunity to take a front row seat at all of this year’s events. If any of the audiences miss a performance or act they will also be able to replay the shows they may have missed and re-watch favourite shows on the festivals website player. The Shandrum Céilí Band were understandably ecstatic to receive an invitation to perform at this year’s St. Patrick’s festival. The band, who like all other performers across Ireland have not performed together in person since March 2020 have continued to keep up band practices through the online mediums of Zoom and Skype. This recording which will have a national and global audience is no doubt a huge honour for the Shandrum band. The need for the perfect backdrop for this landmark recording came in the form of Doneraile house. The Shandrum who are a North Cork based band were delighted to record on home territory, while also happy to support local ventures and organisations. Doneraile Court were delighted to open their doors for the band’s landmark performance at this 17th century Georgian house. With this permission happily granted the recording date was set for February 7th. As the cameras were positioned and began rolling, the band took their places and duly responded to the familiar piano introduction. There was obvious excitement among the band members and the small assembled team of helpers as the distinctive sound of the Shandrum Céilí Band came to life after many months of being dormant. Throughout the recording process, which took just over three hours, Covid regulations were strictly adhered to. The St Patrick’s festival gave extensive guidelines on how the recording should be undertaken with all band members spaced two metres apart throughout the entire venture. The band also had help from designated Covid officers Carol Finn, Rosario Buckley and Michelle Gallagher who helped all performers and video-graphers with anything they needed. Doneraile Court also had their resident caretaker, Janet Schley on hand, who with her expert knowledge of the house and grounds made the experience for everyone involved a safe and enjoyable experience. To add to the performance the Shandrum were also joined by All Ireland Sean-nós dancing champion Cian Broderick. Hailing from Rockchapel, Co. Cork, 17 year old Cian has performed with the Shandrum Céilí band at a variety of venues across Ireland including performing with the Shandrum at Áras an Uachtaráin for President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina on St. Patrick’s Day 2016. Cian, who is also an outstanding flute player, is a member of the 5 in a row All Ireland champions, the Crossfields Céilí band. To capture Cian’s skilful steps which were powered by the band’s rhythmic music, the Shandrum enlisted the help of expert video-grapher, Cal O’Callaghan from On Track Films, Kanturk. Cal, who has an outstanding reputation as a videographer has recorded many well-known artists throughout the years including famous songstress, Freemount native Elle Marie O’Dywer. Cal with his in-depth knowledge and experience recorded the Shandrum’s spell bounding performance, Cian’s intricate steps, the atmosphere of the music, and the beautiful surroundings in which the ensemble were performing. This recording is an exciting opportunity for the Shandrum Céilí Band to once again perform tunes from their own locality for the enjoyment of people across Ireland and beyond. With Cal’s expertise behind the camera, coupled with the Shandrum Céilí band providing pulsing music for Cian Broderick’s steps, this performance will no doubt be one of the highlights of the St Patrick’s Festival 2021. The festival running from March 12th – 17th, is offering six great virtual days and nights featuring more than 100 events, created by artists, performers, makers and dreamers across Ireland. St. Patrick’s Festival 2021 is made possible with the support of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Fáilte Ireland, Dublin City Council and many more. All performances will be showcased through St. Patrick’s Festival TV – SPF TV – a dedicated TV channel at and accessible globally. The Shandrum Céilí Band would like to take the opportunity to thank the St. Patrick’s Festival, the Office of Public Words, the staff at Doneraile Court, Janet Schley, Cal O’Callaghan, Cian Broderick, Carol, Finn, Michelle Gallagher, Rosario Buckley, and Mick and Jill McCarty for making this special recording possible and we are looking forward to the performance being broadcast in the build up to St. Patrick’s Day. Dúisigh Éire! Awaken Ireland!