Category Archives: Latest News

Biggest Festival Ever

Posted: Tuesday, May 1st, 2018

The biggest “Cup of Tae” Festival of all time is expected this weekend in Ardara!

World renowned traditional musician Mairéad Ní­ Mhaonaigh will be the special guest of honour at the opening concert in the Nesbitt Arms Hotel on Friday night at 8pm. Mairead will be joined on stage by the band Altan, her family and friends.

This is a special event, probably never experienced in Ardara or anywhere before.

Tickets are €15 and a limited amount may be available at the door but demand has been huge for this special event.

Contact Stephen 087 2424590

Festival Information

Posted: Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

The “Cup of Tae” Festival from Friday 4th to Monday 7th May, 2018 (May Bank Holiday) will be without doubt an all time great event.  In their wisdom the committee have selected Mairead Ni Maonaigh as the Special Guest of Honour this year and absolutely no one in the world of traditional music deserves it better than the lovely Mairead.

Mairead comes from a wonderful family of musicians spearheaded by the great Francis Mooney, her father, sadly not with us anymore but was a regular at the “Cup of Tae” Festival.  It is the intention of Mairead that as many of her friends come along to the “Cup of Tae” this year and the committee will be so glad to have all on board.

The highlight for many at the “Cup of Tae” Festival is the excellent Schools of Music attached to the “Cup of Tae” Festival.  Over the years the cream of the best of Donegal musicians/teachers have been tutors at the famous Schools of Music.  This year is no different with Mairead herself taking the Master Class on fiddle at the School and her Nephew also teaching this year.  The Schools of Music run over the Saturday and Sunday and are so reasonably priced.  Anyone with an interest in fiddle playing should make it their business to be there.

The Festival starts off on the Friday night with a special Concert in the Nesbitt Arms Hotel in honour of Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh.  With that honour we have no doubt the best musicians will be on stage to honour this special lady of music.  Space will be at a premium so it would be advisable to book tickets with the organising committee as soon as possible.  There are loads of Sessions after the Concert throughout the town, so come along and enjoy this special Concert.

Saturday morning starts off at 10.00 am with the Schools of Music in St Marys School, Ardara.  Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh will take the Master Class on Fiddle with her Nephew Ciarain Ó Mhaonaigh assisting her.  Also a popular Tutor  Harkin will assist with Flute and Whistle Classes.

A very popular attraction to Ardara over the years has been the Ards Ceoltas Group and they are back again this year with a large group of young Musicians.  They will perform a Recital in the Heritage Centre at 1.00 pm on both Saturday and Sunday and if the weather is reasonable they plan to play on the Street on both afternoons.

It is also planned to have music in various venues in the afternoons with a load of Sessions planned for night time in all venues.

The Packie Manus Byrne Session at 8.00 pm will this year be in the Heritage Centre and the Ards Group are back again in the Beehive for a nightime Session. If the weather is reasonable, all the students from the Schools of Music will descend upon the town centre at 3.00 pm on the Sunday to show us what they have learnt.  If the weather is not favourable all outside events will revert to the Heritage Centre.

Sunday night is the night of the “John the Tae” Concert.  This is always a great event with many of the weekend performers on stage to finish off a great weekend.  Again check on tickets.  The best Sessions ever are to be had at the “Cup of Tae” Festival.

For more details and for booking tickets contact Stephen on 087 2424590 or email or

The Cup of Tae – Another Wonderful Year

Posted: Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

Cup Of Tae Festival 2017

The Cup of Tae Festival which took place in Ardara over the May Bank holiday Weekend was a again an outstanding success with visitors from all over the world attending .This year again a number of visitors from Japan and Colombia along with people from the USA and all over Europe enjoying the festival .The festival got off to a great start on Friday night in the Heritage Centre when one of Ireland’s foremost fiddle players Martin Mc Ginley was honoured. The cream of musicians were there to honour him with Shane Bracken, Jim and Fiona Byrne,Ted Ponsonby,Ciaran Mooney and the group “Mind your Quavers” led by Seamus Maguire adding to a wonderful start to the concert. Later previous recipients of the honour Danny Meehan, Paddy Mc Menamin, Rita Gallagher and Frank Kelly performed as did Martin’s niece Maeve Kinsella. Afterwards the night finished with great music coming from the various pubs in town. This year the schools of music were truely outstanding with master tutors Ciaran Mooney and Martin Mc Ginley with Donna Harkin doing the juniors.  This was a wonderful combination and this was the biggest attendance at any school and the committee are particularly pleased that their initial idea of making a contribution to retaining our tradition  music  is being realised. The  musical recitals in the Heritage Centre at lunchtime Saturday and Sunday were fantastic with local musical star Michael O Rourke showing how he makes fiddles and also telling the story of John The Tae and playing his music.  This was followed by Harpist Orla Sheridan and local musical star of the future Bradan Shovlin on fiddle and finishing with the beautiful tender tones of Rita Gallagher Tg4 singer of the year 2017 and then Sunday’s recital had the group Ciadramh from County Cavan ably accompanied by Tony Finnerty. The Packie Manus Byrne Concert in the Corner House on Saturday was just a wonderful event with songs and stories about the life and times of the great man who would have been one hundred years old this year, this event has always been organised and led by James Keeney. Again Saturday night saw huge numbers of musicians in town and wonderful music could be heard throughout the town and even an open air session at midnight on the diamond. Sunday saw the schools of music finish with a recital in the Heritage Centre with all students playing all the new tunes they had learnt over the weekend, they later did an open air session on the diamond. The the final event of the festival is the John The Tae Concert in the Heritage Centre which like all events was packed and again wonderful talent was on display. Ardara was blessed with dry weather for the weekend which makes so much of a difference. Once again we had a truly wonderful festival and we were proud to honour and salute a wonderful musician and personality Martin Mc Ginley.


Some of the local and visiting musicians who enjoyed taking part in the many musical opportunities during The Cup of Tae Festival this year.  Many of them had the pleasure of performing with the famous Donegal fiddler Martin McGinley who was this year’s honoured musician.

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Posted: Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

The Nesbitt Arms Hotel has a limited number of rooms available for The Cup of Tae Weekend, 28th April to 1st May 2017.  Contact the Hotel on (075) 95 41103 for availability.