Cellena Connolly-Moynihan, second secretary of the embassy of Ireland in Canberra and cultural attaché, officially launched the Irish and Celtic Music Festival at the Yazzbar. Surrounded by beautiful Irish music and the friendly atmosphere the Yass community creates so well, Ms Connolly Moynihan said it was her great pleasure to launch the Festival. 

“On behalf of the embassy I would like to thank the organisers for sending the invitation, but also for their contribution to ensuring the longevity of Irish and Celtic culture and music in this region,” she began.

“I arrived in Australia here late last year, and it immediately became apparent to me the strength between the Irish and the Australian people through heritage, literature, and perhaps most of all, for music.

“Irish music, and this goes for Celtic music as well, is an extremely visual expression of heritage here in Australia, a heritage which has enriched the country for many years.”

Ms Connolly-Moynihan explained that the creativity and the liveliness of Irish and Celtic musicians has an appeal that extends beyond borders and beyond heritage to Australians of all backgrounds who find themselves drawn in to Irish music. 

“Whether that be the passion the musicians are so well known for, the ease with which any are welcome to join in on a tune, or simply— and this is a valid reason— just for the Craic.”

Ms Connolly-Moynihan said the tradition of migration and the fusion of culture and ideas is something that is perpetrated through all forms of Irish art for millennia. Irish music is certainly no exception.

Today, Irish music here in Australia has its own unique fingerprint, telling stories of exile, rebellion, community, politics, and everything in between. 

“I look forward to joining you all this evening and enjoying a taste of what the next few days will have to offer. I hope that the musicians and the audience alike among us will be inspired by the continuing evolution and growth of Irish and Celtic music in Australia,” said Ms Connolly-Moynihan.

Festival organiser Janno Scanes acknowledged the monumental effort of the Irish and Celtic Music Festival committee and all their volunteers. 

“What a powerful group of people we pulled together. Amazing work, so many hours have gone into this festival, and we’ve been faced with enormous issues.

“I would like to acknowledge Paul Mortimer from the Irish National Association in Sydney. They have supported us to continue the junior Fleadh with free music for children,” she said. 

Ms Scanes also thanked Clonakilla, who provided wines for the launching evening, and Deb and the Yazzbar staff who provided food. 

“There are so many people to thank and so many people are doing so much in a volunteer capacity,” she said.

Southerly Jones