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West Cork Chamber Music Festival - Concerts on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way

Concerts featuring national and international artists including Anna Devin, Julius Drake, Boris Giltburg, Alasdair Beatson, Anna Federova and the Pavel Haas, Sonoro, Dudok and Signum Quartets.

Grounded in artistic collaboration, the festival is an intensive musical experience, often comprising up to three or four short concerts a day. 

Set in the picturesque town of Bantry on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.

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30 Jun - 04 Jul 2024 £2,140 Book this tour

  • Bantry House, photo ©Lizzy Holsgrove.
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The southwest coast of Ireland is one of the most beautiful and dramatic landscapes in all Europe. There are towering mountains, rugged cliffs and magnificent long, deep bays; but the climate is mild, encouraging the growth of lush, verdant woodland and a profusion of wild flowers. There is something about being amid fertile nature, far removed from the clamour of modern urban life, that is perfectly suited to the experience of chamber music: the subtlest, most confidential form of music in the Western classical literature.

The picturesque little harbour town of Bantry, convenient but intimate, is the ideal location, as its founders realised when they established the West Cork Chamber Music Festival 24 years ago. Bantry House, an eighteenth-century stately home with glorious ornamental gardens, makes a superb location for many of the concerts. From modest beginnings, staffed by volunteers, the festival has developed into one of Europe’s leading chamber music events, attracting visitors and performers from all over the world, while at the same time building strong connections with the local community, especially through its ambitious outreach projects involving schools throughout the county.

The programme places familiar classics from Bach to Beethoven, Schumann to Stanford, alongside two world premieres. The performers are well-known chamber musicians as well as rising stars from all over the world - Denmark, France, Germany, Russia, Ukraine and of course Ireland, to name a few. Here, the listener can be both challenged and soothed. It is the perfect antidote to the deadening frenzy of so much of modern life.

Flights to Cork are not included. We recommend the Aer Lingus flight from London Heathrow on 30th June at 9.20am, arriving in Cork at 10.45am.

Day 1

Bantry. Leave from Cork Airport following the arrival of the Aer Lingus flight from London Heathrow at 10.45am. Alternatively meet in the small, charming harbour town of Bantry, renowned for its brightly decorated houses and views across Bantry Bay. Lunch and visit at the 18th-cent. Bantry House. An introductory lecture precedes dinner and evening concert in the library of Bantry House. Fanny Clamagirand (violin), Roustem Saitkoulov (piano): Violin sonata No.5 in F Op.24 ‘Spring’; Violin Sonata No.6 in A, Op.30/1. Nightingale Quartet: Smetana, Quartet No.1 ‘From My Life’

Day 2

Bantry. Morning concert in St Brendan’s Church. Fanny Clamagirand (violin), Roustem Saitkoulov (piano): Beethoven, Violin Sonata No.7 in C minor Op.30/2; Violin Sonata No.8 in G Op.30/3. Lunch and some free time before returning to St Brendan’s Church for the late afternoon concert. Fanny Clamagirand (violin), Roustem Saitkoulov (piano): Beethoven, Violin Sonata No.9 in A Op.47 ‘Kreutzer’; Violin Sonata No.10 in G Op.96. Time for an independent dinner before the evening concert at Bantry House. Signum Quartet, Matthew Hunt (clarinet): Roxana Panufnik, Faithful Gazelle (world premiere); Stanford, Fantasy No.2. Chiaroscuro Quartet: Beethoven, Quartet in F Op.59/1. Optional late-night concert at Bantry House. Anna Federova (piano): Schumann, Carnaval Op.9; de Falla, El Amor Brujo.

Day 3

Bantry. Morning concert in St Brendan’s Church. Camerata Øresund: Vivaldi Concertos. Lunch and some free time before the late afternoon concert at Bantry House. Matthew Hunt (clarinet), Alasdair Beatson (piano): programme to include Stanford Clarinet Sonata Op.129. Time for an independent dinner before the evening concert at St Brendan’s Church. Anna Devin (soprano), Julius Drake (piano): Schubert, The Shepherd on the Rock D.965. Ensemble MidtVest: Jørgen Jersild, At spille i skoven (Music making in the forest). Fleur Barron (mezzo soprano), Julius Drake (piano): Schubert, Winterreise D.911.

Day 4

Bantry, Garinish Island. Morning concert in St Brendan’s Church. Sonoro Quartet: Haydn, Quartet in B minor Op.33/1; Quartet in B flat Op.76/4 ‘Sunrise’. In the afternoon travel by boat to Garinish Island, an island garden designed by Harold Peto. Dinner in the hotel followed by the evening concert at St Brendan’s Church. Ensemble MidtVest: Ligeti, Bagatelles; Dudok Quartet: Bushra El-Turk, String Quartet (world premiere). Pavel Haas Quartet, Boris Giltburg (piano): Brahms, Piano Quartet No.2 in A Op.26.

Day 5

Bantry. Morning concert in St Brendan’s Church. Camerata Øresund: Bach and Bach. A coach leaves for Cork Airport at c. 1.00pm in time for the 4.15pm Aer Lingus flight to London Heathrow.

Leo Samama

Writer, composer, and co-founder of the Netherlands String Quartet Academy, he has worked with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Residentie Orchestra in The Hague and the Netherlands Chamber Choir. Between 1977 and 1992 he taught at the Utrecht Conservatory, the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and Utrecht University, and today teaches music philosophy. Among his publications are Nederlandse muziek in de 20-ste eeuw (Dutch Music in the 20th Century), a monograph on Alphons Diepenbrock, The Meaning of Music and most recently Het strijkkwartet (The String Quartet) in 2018. In 2010 he was knighted as an Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau for his contribution to Dutch musical life.

Prices, per person

Two sharing: £2,140. Single occupancy: £2,440.


Travel by private coach; accommodation as described below; breakfasts; 2 dinners and 3 lunches with wine, water, coffee; all admissions; all tips; all taxes; the services of the lecturer and tour manager. 


Flights are not included in the cost of the tour as the most convenient flights are with Aer Lingus and we cannot make a booking without knowing the passenger name. Suggested flight details are provided with your confirmation of booking.


First category tickets to 11 concerts, costing c. £400.


The Maritime Hotel, Bantry: a comfortable 4-star hotel in the centre of Bantry, a short walk from all concert venues. Single rooms are doubles for sole use.

How strenuous?

Bantry House is accessed on foot via a fairly long, uphill drive and so would be difficult with impaired walking. There is very little coach travel throughout apart from the journey to and from Cork Airport on the first and last days. Average distance by coach per day: 25 miles.

Are you fit enough to join the tour?

Group size

Between 10 and 22 participants.

Travel advice

Before booking, please refer to the FCDO website to ensure you are happy with the travel advice for the destination(s) you are visiting.

Combine with

The Schubertiade16–23 June 2024

Flemish Painting, 19–23 June 2024

The Grange & Glyndebourne, 22-26 June 2024

Medieval West Midlands, 24-28 June 2024

Vienna's Masterpieces, 24-29 June 2024

Savonlinna Opera, 7-11 July 2024

Western Ireland Archaeology, 8-14 July 2024

Gastronomic West Country, 8-14 July 2024

Scottish Houses and Castles, 10-19 July 2024

'The lecturer had an outstanding combination of enthusiasm, knowledge and the ability to communicate.'

'Tour manager: Professional. Charming. Observant. Attentive. Absolutely first class.'