Briste Group Bright Colourful

Bríste are together now for over 5 years and have travelled all over the world bringing their new fresh and exciting sound to many festivals and venues across the globe.

The group consists of Alison Crossey (Bodhrán and Guitar), Emma Robinson (flute and whistle) and Joanna Boyle (banjo and sings).

The girls have been involved in TV programmes BBC’s Trad Ar Fad and TG4’s Oiche nc mBan playing alongside artists such as BBC Radio 2 Folk Singer of the Year Rioghnach Connolly, Country singer Lisa McHugh, Pop singer Una Healy and The fantastic John Mcsherry Band and many more. Bríste launched their debut single Sidetracked in 2022 and have toured countrywide throughout 2023. We look forward to welcoming them back to the Gerry Whelan weekend to headline our Gerry Whelan Memorial Weekend Concert.


Frances Kennedy

Frances Kennedy is one of North Kerry’s most popular traditional storytellers, singers and entertainers. She has released her album Close the Half-Door and a charity CD single with her hit song “We Are All Related”. 

Frances has many singing and storytelling accolades; she was a favourite performer of John B Keanes and is a past All Ireland Fleadh and Finuge Storytelling Champion. During Covid Lockdown she has forged strong bonds with the folks in St. John’s Story telling Circle and was responsible for their attendance at last year’s online Listowel International Storytelling Festival.

The Committee of the Gerry Whelan Weekend are delighted to welcome Frances back again to this year’s festival to grace us with her rip-roaring tales and her gorgeous singing voice that will enhance all the session trails through out the town.


Cootehill CCÉ

Under the expert tutelage of Noreen Boyle and Cliona McGorman Cootehill CCE branch have grown from strength to strength over the past decade.

With plenty of experience under their belts from performing alongside many illustrious musicians and groups at the Annual Gerry Whelan Memorial Concert the group has grown in strength and numbers. A recent highlight for the group was performing with the Oriel Traditional Orchestra in 2018.

Cootehill CCE are a stable at the annual St Patricks Days Parade and recent performances include the Bunnoe Festival and the Cootehill Celebrates Community. Cootehill CCE are very excited to perform at this years festival and hope that all in attendance have a wonderful night


James Finnegan – Banjo and Mandolin

James Finnegan is a multi-instrumentalist and two-time All-Ireland Champion from Monaghan. He is an accomplished teacher of traditional Irish banjo and mandolin playing, reaching thousands of aspiring musicians across 34 countries through his YouTube presence TheBanjoBuddy.
During the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, James published his first book – The BanjoBuddy Banjo Book – which has circulated in 28 countries. 
Following the popularity of his first book, James subsequently authored and published a compilation of 365 traditional pieces, drawing on his wide repertoire of session tunes. 
A recent graduate of UCD, James enjoys tutoring aspiring banjo students from around the world in his spare time and playing in the local session scene.



Gary Curley – Button Accordion

Hailing from Boho, Co. Fermanagh, Gary Curley is primarily renowned for his musicianship on the button accordion. With time, he has enriched his musical repertoire, not only through embracing a wealth of distinctive styles from across Ireland, but also by incorporating the concertina and melodeon into his range of musical instruments. As a sought-after performer, Gary is increasingly in demand, appearing at numerous festivals throughout Ireland and abroad, where he entertains audiences with his performances and imparts his knowledge as a guest tutor. With over a decade dedicated to tutoring Traditional Irish Music, Gary has established a strong reputation across Fermanagh and its neighbouring counties, earning his place as one of the region’s leading music tutors.

Gary’s exceptional musicianship has been recognised and celebrated through numerous Fleadh Cheoil competitions, receiving a range of accolades at county, provincial, and all-Ireland competition levels in both junior and senior capacities. His academic accomplishments echo his dedication to music. Graduating from Ulster University with a First Class Honours Bachelor’s Degree in Music and later obtaining a PGCE in Music Education, Gary has demonstrated his scholarly approach to his craft. His musical knowledge and talents have led to appearances on various television and radio programmes, including TG4’s Fleadh TV, RTE’s Céilí House, and BBC’s Folk Club & Blas Ceoil, reaching audiences worldwide. 

Sinéad Finnegan – Fiddle/ Violin

Sinead is an accomplished fiddle player from Co. Monaghan. Coming from a musical family, she has been playing music for nearly 20 years. Performing in numerous esteemed venues throughout Ireland, France, Germany and Scotland, Sinéad has become one of the finest practitioners of traditional Irish fiddle in south Monaghan.
She has also competed in many Fleadhs over the years, achieving numerous Ulster and All Ireland medals, most recently being selected to perform as a finalist at the Fiddler of London competition this year.

As well as providing fiddle lessons in her hometown of Carrickmacross, Sinéad also enjoys nothing more than playing in the local session scene across south Ulster.


Aisling O’Reilly – Flute and Tin Whistle

Joining us this year as our Flute and Tin Whistle tutor is Aishling O’Reilly from Enniskillen Co.Fermanagh and living in Co. Cavan. Aishling is the holder of an incredible 11 All-Ireland titles, and is one of the best known musicians in the country.

A marvelous exponent of the flute and whistle Aishling has toured on 3 separate occasions with Comhaltas, and adjudicated many’s an All-Ireland fleadh. Not just recognized as a brilliant musician, Aishling is also an inspiring teacher and guiding countless students to All-Ireland glory.

Aishling was a founding member of Fermanagh’s Ar gCeol and a member of the 2014 Senior All Ireland Ceili band winners the Knockmore Ceili Band.