Solstice Celebration at Milltown Monument During Fleadh Cheoil Chiarraí

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Dingle Druid, Juli Ní Mhaoileoin, centre, with Urs Wenk, Dance Drum Ireland, Joan Greene, Singer, Aoibhe Horan, Harpist and Poet Eileen Sheehan at the Killaclohane Portal Tomb. Photo:Valerie O’Sullivan

A unique cultural celebration of the Summer Solstice at the iconic 6,000 year-old Killaclohane Portal Tomb near Milltown promises to be a special highlight of this year’s Kerry Fleadh Cheoil which takes place in the mid-Kerry town this week.

The organisers are holding an open-air celebration at the portal tomb on 21st June, the longest day of the year, against the majestic backdrop of Dingle Bay and the Sliabh Mish Mountains.

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This occasion is the centre-piece of the five-day, family-friendly festival with a fantastic program of entertainment. New research by County Archaeologist Michael Connolly has revealed the ancient burial place to be the oldest known man made structure in Kerry and perhaps in Ireland.

“Having a monument of such historical and cultural significance in the locality has inspired our theme for the 2018 Fleadh, which is ‘Reconnecting with the Past’, drawing inspiration from the deep-rooted traditions we share. This idea is at the heart of the Comhaltas organisation”, explained event Chairman Owen O’Shea.

With a range of music from across the centuries, dramatic percussion, poetry, song, a Solstice bonfire and a druidic ceremony, the event at Killaclohane invokes the spiritual connections with the Neolithic Age and draws on the theme of ‘Reconnecting with the Past.’ Featuring some of Kerry’s best musicians and performers, the event at the portal tomb will seek to connect with the cultural heritage of the area over the millennia.

The event will open with a recitation and harp music from father and daughter, Chris and Aoibhe Horan and will feature a blessing ceremony with the Dingle Druid, Juli Ní Mhaoileoin as well as the lighting of a Solstice Bonfire with percussive rhythms from Drum Dance Ireland.

Uileann piper Barry Lynch and harpist Reidun Schlesinger will perform some of the ancient music of Ireland and a group of local musicians will play the tunes they listened and danced to in mid-Kerry a century ago.

Sliabh Luachra poet, Eileen Sheehan will recite some of her work and singer, Joan Greene will celebrate the different international Solstice traditions from around the world.

‘The tomb is set against one of the most spectacular backdrops in Kerry – Caherconree Promontory Fort, the mouth of the River Maine and the Dingle Peninsula. It has to be seen to be believed. The event will be suitable for all ages and we will keep everyone well fed with a pig on a spit. We’ll finish with a grand finale involving all the performers as the sun sets over the historic site,’ added Owen.

The event begins at 8pm on 21st June and there is a €10 admission fee for over-16s. As there is no parking on site, those attending will be transported from the Mid-Kerry Mart car park to the site on a free shuttle bus.

Attendees are advised to arrive and park up early from 7pm. Toilet facilities and limited seating will be available and everyone should be dressed appropriately for the prevailing weather conditions. Enquiries to

Fleadh Cheoil Chiarraí, hosted by Milltown-Listry Comhaltas Branch takes place in Milltown from 20th to 24th June and will feature free open-air performances from Stockton’s Wing, All-Ireland champions, the Shandrum Céilí Band, a Sunday céilí with Uí Bhriain, family fun and frolics, Spin City Funfair, competitions, sessions, a street entertainment competition and lots more. Follow @MilltownCCE and @Kerrycomhaltas for more information.

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