OF SACRED MUSIC

Limerick Choral Festival

The tradition of a major choral event in Limerick stretches back to the 1950's when some interested choir enthusiasts held a festival of plain chant in the city's Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, which ran successfully for approximately ten years. This was essentially aimed at school choirs to foster a love of choral music among those taking part.  The prime objective of this initial event was rewarded with the graduation of these same young people into some of the finest church choirs throughout the city.


In the late 1970's the Church Music International choral festival was established with the support of the then Limerick Corporation (as the 'anchor' event of the city's St Patrick's Week celebrations) and succeeded in attracting participation not only from Limerick and the Mid-West, but from all parts of the country – and from abroad.


Following the discontinuation of this event in 2000, and the suspension of the choral section of Féile Luimní, it was decided in 2004 to create a single choral event for the city, rather than a fragmented approach, which had prevailed up to then.


In 2005, a festival exclusively designated to church music was held for the first time, with adjudicators since then such as Dr. John O'Keeffe, Ms. Orla Barry, Mr. Donal Doherty, Dr. Ite O'Donovan, Ms. Blánaid Murphy, Dr. Patrick McCormack, Dr. Óscar Mascareñas, Dr. Gwen Moore, Prof. Helen Phelan, Dr. Marion Doherty-Hayden, Dr. Kevin O'Carroll, Dr. Roisin Blunnie, Dr. Paul McKeever, Dr. Bernie Sherlock, Dr. Eric Sweeney, Dr. Hannah Fahy, Ms. Máire Keary-Scanlon, Mr. John Fitzpatrick – and others presiding. Among the Composers-in-Residence who have participated were Br. Jean-Paul Lecot (Lourdes), Professor Seoirse Bodley, along with the celebrated Irish composers Fr. Liam Lawton, Dr. Patrick McCormack, Fr. Columba McCann, Mr. Patrick Killeen - and Mr. Marty Haugen (USA).


For 2021, responsibility for the event has once again been assumed by the Limerick Choral Festival Society, which is committed to its development internationally over the next five years. As always, choirs from far and near are heartily welcome, so that the rich tradition of what has already been achieved will continue to prosper.


HISTORY & DEVELOPMENT