The official website of Visit Ards and North Down

Columbanus Community Folk Festival 2023

Various venues in Bangor, Bangor, DOWN
Ards CCE programme posters


The amazing Columbanus Community Folk Festival is back and set to roll into Bangor town once again with an eight-day extravaganza of Irish traditional music, song and local culture.

The eight-day festival, supported by Ards and North Down Borough Council, commences Sunday 4th June and runs until the following Sunday, 11th June. Among the music line-up are many world-class local and international artists, including Dezi Donnelly, Mike McGoldrick, Tim Edey, Rachel McCarthy, Celtic Storm Band, Cap on the Wall Band, Clan Reagh Band, Brendan Monaghan, Bangor City Ukes, Ards CCÉ Musicians and many more!

The festival, which will incorporate a rich diversity of cross-community events, will also include a Headline Concert, Columbanus Boat Tour, Boat Music Session on the Bay, Folk Night, Columban Way Walking Tour and Literary Events. Workshops, Trad Disco, Singing Sessions, Music Sessions and a Youth Concert will also feature on the menu. The wide programme of events means there is truly something to whet the appetite of everyone, with groups/musicians from across Ireland, UK and Europe making visits over the week. This year the festival's main headline act is DEZI DONNELLY, MIKE McGOLDRICK & TIM EDEY supported by Irish Trad band CELTIC STORM. The live concert will take place on Saturday June 10th at St Comgall's Parish Centre, Bangor. Doors open at 7pm and admission is only £12.50 (Kids Free with paying adult!)

Steeped in family and Manchester tradition, Mike and Dezi embody what went before them. They have developed and shaped their own attractive, influential style that is popular wherever Irish music is appreciated. They have over the years graced world stages in many different guises and collaborative projects. Their instinctive musicianship surpasses the promise they showed during their teenage years. Those hours spent exploring the music together has like a fine whiskey matured and their duet playing as a consequence is effortless and intuitive. Tim Edey is now a name on the world stage in his own right after seventeen years of hard work, is rated by many to be one of the world's finest ever Melodeon and Guitar players in the folk & contemporary scene today! Originally from Broadstairs in Kent and of Irish descent, Tim honed his style of learning from his father Richard a fine guitarist and listening to Ed Boyd, Steve Cooney and Django Reinhardt. He has lived in Ireland and now resides in Perthshire, Scotland where he is based with his family and tours all over the world regularly from.

Supporting act Celtic Storm needs no introduction to the city of Bangor. This locally grown group have been described by Irish media as "the best of Irish culture" and their globally acclaimed stage production of Irish traditional music, song and dance has been showcased internationally to audiences all over the world. Their performances are regarded as amazing, vibrant and flamboyant and they will leave the audience in total wonderment.

Other paid headline events include FOLK NIGHT LIVE (Thu 8th June, £5, Upstairs Lounge Imperial Bar, Bangor ), TRAD ON THE BAY BOAT TOUR (Sat 10th June, £20, Bangor Marina), FESTIVAL YOUTH CONCERT (Wed 7th June, £5(Kids Free), St Comgall's Parish Centre, Bangor), FESTIVAL TRAD DISCO (Fri 9th June, £5, Upstairs Lounge Imperial Bar, Bangor), COLUMBAN WAY COASTAL WALK (Sun 4th June, £6, Bangor Marina - full details to follow shortly at and the COLUMBANUS BOAT TOUR (Sun 11th June, £20, Bangor Marina).

The 'Folk Night Live' gig will be a superb night of entertainment with an array of local/international artists taking to the stage, including Rachel McCarthy, Cap on the Wall, Clan Reagh, Brendan Monaghan plus many more. The 'Columbanus Boat Tour' is back by popular demand and will incorporate a boat trip, on board "Ocean Crest", along Bangor's beautiful coastal path listening to Co Down songs from local Singer/Songwriter David Lennon and storytelling/poetry from Marianne McShane and Tim Dwyer. The 'Festival Youth Concert' has proved to be a real favourite over the years in the folk festival's programme. Hundreds of young talented artists will take to the stage to perform, including MUDRA School of Indian Dance, Clelland Memorial Pipe Band, Irish Dancers and local School Choirs / School Music Groups. The 'Columban Way Walk' is also back by popular demand and is being organised by "The Friends of Columbanus". The 2 hour walk will take you from Bangor Abbey to St Comgall's Chapel, Stricklands Glen, Bangor's Coastal Path and then back to Bangor Abbey. The cost per person is £6. This year, new events have been added to the festival line-up including a Trad Disco (pay at door) with Ireland's top trad DJ Ollie Mulhooly and a 'Trad on the Bay Boat Tour', which will incorporate a trad music session on board "Ocean Crest" whilst hearing local tales from legendary skipper Brian Meharg. All musicians are welcome to bring small instruments onboard this tour and join in with the music session!

Ticketed events are available to purchase at THOMAS MACE STORE, BRUNSWICK RD and/or ONLINE

The full list for the programme of events over the weeklong festival are as follows:
Sunday 4th June – Columban Way Walk – Bangor Abbey – 2-4pm: Book Now (Friends of Columbanus present a guided Columbanus walking tour through Bangor. Cost – £6 – Online purchase only)

Monday 5th June – Traditional Music Session – Imperial Bar, Bangor –9pm
(Traditional Music led by Ards CCÉ musicians – Free - All Musicians welcome)

Monday 5th June – Leo Rowsome (1903-1970) - Literary Event, – Imperial Bar, Upstairs Lounge, Bangor – 7pm - "A Man Ahead of his Time" presented by Helena Rowsome and Martin Enright. Leo Rowsome taught and made instruments for Willie Clancy, Liam OFlynn, Paddy Moloney and countless others world-wide. He was everything for traditional Irish Music and for the survival of the uilleann pipes!

Tuesday 6th June – Traditional Music Session – Imperial Bar, Bangor – 9pm
(Traditional Music led by Ards CCÉ musicians – Free - All Musicians welcome)

Wednesday 7th June – Festival Youth Concert – St Comgall's Parish Centre – 7pm: Book Now
(A cross-community celebration of young local talent. Admission - £5 per adult – Kids free)

Wednesday 7th June – Traditional Music Session – Imperial Bar, Bangor – 9pm
(Traditional Music led by Ards CCÉ musicians – Free - All Musicians welcome)

Thursday 8th June – Folk Night Live – Imperial Bar Upstairs Lounge – 7-9pm - Book Now
(Local/International musicians & vocalists take to the stage with a variety of music and song - Admission - £5)

Thursday 8th June – Festival Main Music Session – Imperial Bar, Bangor – 9pm
(Traditional Music led by Ards CCÉ musicians – Free - All Musicians welcome)

Thursday 8th June – Bangor City Ukulele Band – Fealty's Back Lounge Bar – 8-10pm
(Bangor Ukes take to the stage with a variety of great music and song - Admission - Free)

Friday 9th June – Festival TRAD Disco – Imperial Bar Upstairs Lounge – 8:30pm
(Top Irish DJ Ollie Mulhooley will get everyone dancing to lively Irish Trad tracks. Admission - £5 – Pay at Door)

Friday 9th June – Cap on the Wall Band – Imperial Bar Downstairs Lounge, Bangor – 10pm (Traditional Music with a Twist – Admission - Free)

Saturday 10th June – Traditional Music Session – Bangor Courthouse – 3-6pm
(Traditional Music led by David Lennon & guests – Free - All Musicians welcome)

Saturday 10th June – Festival Workshops – St Comgall's Parish Centre – 2:30pm
(1hr workshops by world-class musicians Dezi Donnelly, Mike McGoldrick and Tim Edey in Fiddle, Flute & Guitar - £10 – Pay at door)

Saturday 10th June – HEADLINE CONCERT - Dezi Donnelly, Mike McGoldrick, Tim Edey & Celtic Storm – St Comgall's Parish Centre – 7pm - Book Now (Festival Headline Act - Admission - £12.50 - Kids free with paying adult)

Saturday 10th June – Trad on the Bay Boat Tour – Bangor Marina – 3pm: Book Now
(Enjoy local tales and trad music from the sea on board "Ocean Crest". Musicians welcome to bring small instruments on board and join in. Admission - £20 – Online purchase only)

Sunday 11th June – Columbanus Boat Tour – Bangor Marina – 3pm: Book Now
(Enjoy Bangor's beautiful coastal path from the sea on board "Ocean Crest"
with Co Down Music, Poetry & Storytelling. Admission - £20 – Online purchase only)

Sunday 11th June – Festival Closing Session – 2-4pm
(Traditional Music led by Ards CCÉ musicians – Free - All Musicians welcome)


Details subject to change.

This event is Grant Aided by Ards and North Down Borough Council's Tourism Department.



  • All areas accessible to disabled visitors

Parking & Transport

  • On site parking
  • Station nearby

Guide Prices

Ticket TypeTicket Tariff
Ticket£5.00 per ticket

Note: Prices are a guide only and may change on a daily basis.

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