Northern Ireland

Captive audience for Belfast prison concert

Ray Giffen and Niamh McCann of McCracken Summer School in Belfast's Crumlin Road Prison, the venue for a unique concert.
Image caption Ray Giffen and Niamh McCann of McCracken Summer School pictured in Belfast's Crumlin Road Prison, the venue for a unique concert. (Photograph courtesy of North Belfast News)

Johnny Cash staged his famous concert in San Quentin and Leonard Cohen gigged in Dublin's historic Kilmainham Gaol - now it is the turn of Belfast's Crumlin Road Prison.

Top class Irish and Scottish traditional musicians take to the stage on Wednesday evening in the historic old prison for a very special night of Irish traditional music.

Organisers claim the Gaels At The Gaol gig should have people clambering to get into prison when the 'governor' for the evening, legendary Irish traditional artist Dónal Lunny, takes to the stage.

Joining Dónal on stage will be Connemara box player Máirtín O'Connor and award-winning sean nos (unaccompanied singing) exponent Róisín Elsafty.

The talented line-up also includes Scottish Gaelic singing star Sinèag MacIntyre accompanied by pianist Mháirí Hall and local traditional musicians Barry Kerr, Shane McAleer and Eamon Murray.

'Inspiration'

The unique concert, the first to be held by non-inmates, is the showcase event of this year's McCracken Summer School which runs between 23 and 29 July.

Event organiser Ray Giffen said he took inspiration from Leonard Cohen's legendary concert in Kilmainham Gaol in 2010.

"I just thought, why can't we do the same in Crumlin Road gaol?" he said.

"We are so privileged to have so many wonderful musicians taking part and it promises to be a brilliant evening.

"It's such a unique event, I just hope people won't be breaking down the walls to get in."