Nenagh dancer and Lord of the Dance star Bernadette Flynn and her husband Damien O’Kane treated the audience at the opening of this year’s Terryglass Arts Festival to a spectacular dance routine.
Bernadette took the world by storm when she joined Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance at just 16 years old as his original leading lady, and Damien has danced with the show for 13 years. Between them they have performed in front of an estimated 80 million people in over 60 countries.
So how did it feel dancing in Terryglass Village Hall.
“Just great,” Bernadette told the Tipperary Star. “I’ve been away for the past 15 years, and it’s fantastic to come back to this. I really enjoyed it.”
Bernadette, daughter of Andy and Mary, who run Flynn’s Bistro on Pearse Street, and Damien are now based in Nenagh and run the Flynn O’Kane School of Dancing.
Earlier, talented local singer and violinist Roisin Heenan, 15, fresh from her appearance on the John Murray Show on RTE Radio 1 last Tuesday, entertained the crowd. Roisin won the 2011 U15 Feis Ceoil All-Ireland Traditional Singer award.
The overall festival was deemed a success by Niall Heenan, who was involved in bringing RTE presenter John Murray to the village last week.
Over 80 people turned out for Peter Ward’s food presentation on the Thursday night, while Tommy Fleming played to a packed audience in the local church on Friday.
Close to 1,5000 peole crammed the quay on Saturday night for the fireworks display.
The sunshine brought the crowds to the village on Sunday, with Highly Strung entertaining people wth their brand of oera and comedy.
Meanwhile, the 13th arts festival was opened by Junior Minister for Public Transport Alan Kelly, who said that the event had gone from strength to strength over the years. He described the festival as a “great family event”.
“It is now well and truly on the map of arts festivals and I expect and hope that funding from the various State agencies continues into the future for it. The festival deserves to be recognised and supported,” he said.
The Labour TD also praised the input of North Tipperary arts officer Melanie Scott, saying that there was “nobody else in the country in her field as good as her”.
The offical welocme to the festival was performed by thge Mayor of North Tipperary, Cllr Micheal Lowry, who said that they were there to “celebrate an active and creative community”.
He said that the continued growth and vitality of the festival was “testament to the dedication and effort being exerted by all involved. It is the people of this area who are the driving force behind this initiative.
“The dynamic and committed organising committee, the volunteers, the sponsors, the artists and performers. It is in the coming together and the group investment of all of these people that this festival thrives.”
He congratulated the committee, led by chairperson Valerie Cotter, and said that, “as someone who is involved in a number of voluntary community led projects I can fully understand the difficulty and commitment required to organise an event such as the arts festival. Both Valerie and the committee have carried out this unenviable task with competence and flair. “