Trad legends The Bothy Band announce first Irish concert for 45 years - in Belfast

One of the most influential Irish trads bands of all time is reforming to play their first Irish concert since 1979 at Belfast’s TradFest...

The re-united Bothy Band will perform their first Irish concert for 40 years at Belfast's Waterfront Hall in 2024
The Bothy Band are set to perform their first Irish concert for 40 years in Belfast

THE Bothy Band are set to return to the stage to play their first Irish concert for 45 years at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall.

The show on Sunday February 25 will be part of the city’s annual TradFest event’s Winter Weekend.


Once described as “a rock’n’roll band in folk clothing”, The Bothy Band’s line-up is a ‘who’s who’ of Irish music, featuring Matt Molloy (The Chieftains), Donal Lunny (Planxty, Moving Hearts), Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill (Skara Brae), Kevin Burke (Patrick Street), Paddy Glackin (Ushers Island) and uilleann pipe supremo Paddy Keenan, coming together to perform their first public concert in 45 years as The Bothy Band. They will be joined in Belfast by Seán Óg Graham on guitar.

Formed in 1975, the band were together for just five years, but left an indelible imprint on Irish music. Known for their incendiary live performances driven by a front line of fiddle, pipes and flute underpinned by a powerhouse rhythm section of guitar, bouzouki and clavichord, they released three studio albums and one live set.

In 2006, founding member Mícheál Ó Domhnaill died, while Donegal’s Tommy Peoples who played fiddle on the band’s first recording passed away in 2018.

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After reuniting October of this year for a TV documentary on The Bothy Band’s brief but illustrious career, the band members enjoyed the experience so much that they decided to perform live again.

Donal Lunny says: “As we embark on the journey of bringing The Bothy Band together to grace the stage at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall, the anticipation is both exhilarating and humbling.

“The prospect of reuniting with such exceptional musicians after over four decades is a testament to the enduring power of our musical connection and the timeless appeal of traditional music.

A poster for the The Bothy Band's upcoming Belfast show, their first Irish concert for 40 years
The Bothy Band Belfast 2024 poster (Donal O'Connor)

“Belfast holds a special place in the heart of Irish musical history, and the Waterfront Hall provides the perfect canvas for our first Irish reunion concert. The echoes of the past blend with the vibrant energy of the present as we prepare to bring The Bothy Band’s distinctive sound back to life.

“The city’s rich musical heritage and the enthusiastic audience at the Belfast TradFest Winter Weekend create a fitting backdrop for this momentous occasion”.

Belfast TradFest Artistic Director Dónal O’Connor says “The Bothy Band’s influence on the landscape of Irish folk music is immeasurable, and to witness their magic after nearly half a century is a rare and extraordinary opportunity.

A night to remember

“As they reunite, we can expect a night of musical alchemy, where Belfast will resonate with the timeless sound of this iconic band, creating a moment that will be etched into the hearts of all who attend.

“This reunion is not merely a concert: it’s a celebration of a musical legacy reborn, and Belfast TradFest are honoured to be part of this historic event.”

Tickets go on sale at 10am on Friday December 8 via waterfront.co.uk, with a pre-sale registration now available via belfasttraditionalmusic.com.

Full festival information available at belfasttradfest.com.