All Ireland Fleadh success in Sligo

This years Fleadh Cheoil Na hEireann returned to the beautiful west of Ireland for the second year in succession. Sligo town seen an estimated 400,000 visitors and 10,000 competitors converge upon the streets to celebrate the largest  annual Irish traditional music, song and dance festival in the world which ran from the 9th-16th of August.

Huge crowds packing the bustling streets of Sligo once again for the Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann.
Huge crowds packing the bustling streets of Sligo once again for the Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann.

President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins launched the weeks festivities with a very powerful and moving speech from the Gig-rig at the opening ceremony. This kicked off the first day of the fleadh and created a buzz of excitement that continued throughout the week.

President of Ireland Michael D higgins spoke from the podium on the Gig-rig at the official opening of the Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann, with a very moving and powerful speech.
President of Ireland Michael D higgins spoke from the podium on the Gig-rig at the official opening of the Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann, with a very moving and powerful speech.

There was plenty to see and do for all the family from street entertainment, craft fairs, markets, heritage trails, tours of the wild atlantic way or the W.B Yeats trail experience. This was in addition to the live music and craic on the bustling streets and inside the busy bars and restaurants. The Fleadh continues to be a meeting place for old friends while new friendships are created through the international language of music.

One of our youngest members, little miss Lucy taking time out at the fleadh to visit the grave of W.B Yeats whilst participating in the Yeats experience.
One of our youngest members, little miss Lucy taking time out at the fleadh to visit the grave of W.B Yeats whilst participating in the Yeats experience.
Street entertainment comes in many shapes and sizes at the fleadh!
Street entertainment comes in many shapes and sizes at the fleadh!

Monday the 10th saw a group of our young members start their week long Scoil Eigse classes. Scoil Eigse gives everyone the opportunity to take part in the various instrumental music, singing, dancing and Irish language classes. Classes boast a low pupil to teacher ratio and are led by a team of international tutors who are also master performers. These tutors have proven track records and they bring a wealth of performance and teaching experience, reflecting the underlying educational philosophy of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann. All our members thoroughly enjoyed their individual experiences at Scoil Eigse but all to quickly the weekend was upon us and it was competition time.

Some of our branch members enjoying the high standard of music in some of the many competitions at the fleadh.
Some of our branch members enjoying the high standard of music in some of the many competitions at the fleadh.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday saw all our members take to the stage and those who competed played, sang and whistled fantastically. Chairperson of the branch Roisin Howell said both her and the committee are immensely proud of you all, you are a credit to yourselves, your families, your tutors and everyone at Newcastle CCE is honoured to have you as members. For some members and their families this was their first experience of an All Ireland Fleadh and needless to say accomodation is already being sought for next year.

The following people represented our branch;

  • Niamh Howell, Matthew McAstocker & Ciara Maguire in the 15-18 Trio.
  • Ruairi Howell in the 12-15 Uilleann Pipes.
  • Terry Cowan in the newly composed song.
  • Niamh Howell in the 15-18 concertina.
  • Aidan Finnegan in the 15-18 Bodhran.
  • Paul Rush in the Over 18 Ceili band Drums.
  • Over 18 Grupa Cheoil Members  =  Siobhan and James Walsh, Eimear and Cormac Hyland,  Caitlin Bloomer, Noleen Jaidane, Maria McGrady, Deirdre Hayes, Claire Stratton-Savage,            Bronagh Sawey,  Sharon McCawley-Breen, Patricia Savage, Sean O’Neill, Dearbhla   McDonnagh, Sean O’Baoill and Terry Cowan.

However, two of our youngest members returned home as All Ireland medallists.

Castlewellan’s young Ruairi Howell competed in the mouth whistling 12-15 age group having won gold at the Ulster Fleadh a few weeks ago. Ruairi has also been Ulster champion for the last five years in this competition! Ruairi first discovered he could mouth whistle many years ago and he is self taught. He practices daily around the house driving his siblings crazy! He faced stiff competition from 12 others and when the adjudicator stepped up to give her verdict she spoke of how pleased she was to see such a huge revival in what was one of the oldest traditional forms of sharing traditional music even when there was no instrument. When announcing the results she spoke of the three that she had placed, saying she had awared them medals as each of them whistled with confidence and conviction like they would if they were in a session. Ruairi was awarded the bronze medal which was accepted on his behalf by his mum Roisin, as Ruairi was then competing in his Uilleann Pipes competition; a very busy fleadh for Ruairi indeed! Many congratulations to you and your extremely proud parents Karl and Roisin from all at Newcastle CCE.

Proud All Ireland Fleadh medal winner Ruairi Howell who was placed 3rd in Mouth Whistling in Sligo
Proud All Ireland Fleadh medal winner Ruairi Howell who was placed 3rd in Mouth Whistling in Sligo

Representing our branch in the ladies singing under 12 age group was 10 year old Cathleen Garland from Dundrum. Cathleen is this years Ulster Fleadh Champion and again she faced stiff competition from 14 other girls but she kept her nerve and she sang The sweet maid of Gurteen and The Creggan White Hare. The Sweet Maid of Gurteen is a Silgo song and Cathleen and her family got the opportunity to visit Gurteen while they were down at the fleadh this year. After much deliberating by the adjudicators, it was result time. The adjudicator said they were looking for song choice and the interpretation of the song and the ability of the competitor to tell a story through the song. They were also looking for a very traditional style with nice natural use of ornamentation. Eventually Cathleen was awarded second place, and her friend from Co Fermanagh Aoife O’Reilly who had came second to Cathleen at the Ulster Fleadh got awarded the bronze. Our heartiest and sincerest congratulations go out to Cathleen and her very proud mum and dad, Roisin and Seamus for winning this much sought after accolade in her first year competing at an All Ireland Fleadh. Cathleen is now just looking forward to getting back to her traditional singing classes to continue learning more new songs. She will be an inspiration to all of our up and coming young singers at the branch, who, under the tutelage of Terry Cowan and Annemarie Martin will no doubt hope to emulate Cathleens great achievement.

All Ireland Medal winner Cathleen Garland proudly shows off her winning smile along with her silver medal in the ladies Under 12 singing competition in Sligo.
All Ireland Medal winner Cathleen Garland proudly shows off her winning smile along with her silver medal in the ladies Under 12 singing competition in Sligo.

But all too soon it was Sunday evening and the large crowds that had gathered on the streets were entertained with the visiting marching bands parading through the town. Then the crowd got what they where all eagerly waiting for, the newly crowned All Ireland Senior Ceili Band champions 2015 from Shandrum, Co Cork. Alan Finn on button accordian had a few of our young female members (Ciara, Niamh & Caitlin) screaming for more, and Alan and his bandmates certainly new how to entertain the crowd.

The newly crowned 2015 All Ireland senior ceili band winners, Shandrum Co.Cork, on the Gig-rig at the closing ceremony.
The newly crowned 2015 All Ireland senior ceili band winners, Shandrum Co.Cork, on the Gig-rig at the closing ceremony.

The closing ceremony of the Fleadh saw a fantastic display of fireworks as the Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann was handed over to Ennis, Co Clare for 2016.

A spectacular fireworks display brought this years fleadh to a close.
A spectacular fireworks display brought this years fleadh to a close.
This young ladys singing voice along with her musical friends gathered a large audience when she started singing and as usual the crowds listen attentively and join in on the chorus lines.
This young ladys singing voice along with her musical friends gathered a large audience when she started singing and as usual the crowds listen attentively and join in on the chorus lines.

 

Classes will commence again on Thursday 24th and Saturday 26th September in the Lodge Cultural Centre, Castlewellan.  Come along and enroll yourself or your children (or both) at one of our registration sessions. Anyone that is currently hiring an instrument, could you please bring it along on the 5th of september for inspection and rehire if needed / return if not needed.

REGISTRATION DATES.

  • Saturday 5th September from 10am-12noon – FOR CURRENT MEMBERS ONLY!
  • Thursday 10th September from 7pm -9pm
  • Saturday 12th September from 10am-12noon

Classes available in tin whistle, flute, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, guitar, bodhran, drums, piano and button accordion, concertina, uileann pipes, harp, junior and senior set dancing, traditional singing, all levels of Irish language and music theory / grades.

Children must be Primary 3+. All returning members and new members can look forward to another fun filled year of sessions, trips, concerts, social events and much much more.

An Caislean Nua CCÉ abu!!!!!!!!

Newcastle CCÉ members success at Ulster Fleadh

This years Ulster Fleadh returned to the town of Dromore, County Tyrone for the third successive year to celebrate traditional music,song,stories and dance. Competitors gathered from all corners of the province to compete for the Ulster titles and the chance to represent themselves, their branch and county at the highest level – Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann which this year returns to Sligo town. Some stated that the standard at this years Ulster fleadh was at the highest it has ever been. It was a brilliant weekend of craic agus ceol and the organisers can be truly proud of work well done.

Once again Newcastle CCÉ branch was well represented with members competing in a range of competitions:

The results are as follows;

  • Niamh Howell,Matthew McAstocker & Ciara Maguire  — 1st Trio (15-18)
  • Cathleen Garland — 1st Singing ( Under 12)
  • Ruairi Howell — 1st  Whistling (12-15)
  • Conor McVeigh  — 1st Storytelling  (12-15)
  • Grupa Cheoil — 1st – (Over 18)
  • Terry Cowan — 2nd – Newly Composed Song
  • Niamh Howell — 2nd – Concertina (15-18)
  • Aodhan O’Fionnaghan — 2nd – Bodhran ( 15-18)
  • Paul Rush — 2nd – Ceili  Drums (Over 18)
  • Ruairi Howell — 2nd  – Pipes (12-15)
  • Tara Howell — 3rd – Whistling ( Under 12)
  • Niamh & Ruairi Howell — 3rd  – Duet (15-18)

Well done to all who took part, they have done themselves, their teachers, parents and branch very proud.

Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann will be held in Sligo from 9th – 16th of August and we look forward to travelling there to support our members who will take part in various singing, storytelling and music competitions, a great array of talent no less.

Sean Keane – Granny’s Suitcase (Friday 19th June)

Sean Keane – One Man Show – Granny’s Suitcase
Fri 19th June, 8pm
Venue: The Lodge, Castlewellan
Admission: £15 (£12 concession)

Sean Keane brings his new one Man show ‘Granny’s Suitcase ‘ to the Lodge night. The show is set in his grandmother’s kitchen as he searches through her old Leather Suitcase where she held all the words of many famous songs that she collected from people who visited her home in Carragh near Caherlistrane in Co. Galway.

This is very much a family show and it is an opportunity to bring young children who may be interested in singing to hear the master at work.

Sean will sing many well known favourites during the show like, A Stor mo Chroi, Dear little Isle, May Morning dew, and many more including Erin’s Lovely Home, the first song he remembers learning. This is an opportunity to hear the authentic Voice
of Ireland perform these songs like the way they were passed from person to person and one generation to the next.

Class information – please read!

Next Thursday evening (4th June) is our last Thursday classes of the year and instead of the normal classes, our music committee (Maria, Vivienne & Niamh) have decided to get all the classes together for an end of year session.

The evening will run as follows :

  • 6.15-7.15pm — All 1st & 2nd year beginners on all instruments.
  • 7.30-8.30pm — Anyone playing 3yrs plus- Intermediate level again on all instruments.

This is for ONLY those who attend classes, unfortunately there won’t be room for Mums Dad’s in the hall at the sessions.
Also on display in the green room will be a variety of different types of traditional musical instruments which everyone can see and find out if they would be suitable to commence on these instruments come the start of the new Comhaltas year in September.

Our Music theory/ Music exam tutor Vivienne will also be available to speak to if you would like information about taking music grade exams through the Comhaltas. Pass the word please.
PS. NO USUAL CLASSES THURSDAY 4th JUNE- JUST THE ABOVE SESSIONS.

Many thanks,
Comhaltas committee members

Newcastle CCÉ presents Gaeltacht Summer Scholarships

Pictured are some of the students from the Newcastle Branch of Comhaltas Ceoltoirí Éireann, who were awarded scholarships to attend Irish language Summer Colleges in the Gaeltacht this summer. This scholarship fund was developed cooperatively between Newcastle CCÉ branch and the local Irish language Group, Glór Uachtar Tíre.

IMG-20150525-WA0008Photo includes Newcastle Comhaltas Members Jean O’neill Treorai na Gaeilge Officer, Darragh McCrickard Treorai na Gaeilge Youth Officer and representing Glór Uachtar Tíre Tony O’Prey. Scholarships awarded to Oisin Hastings, Aoife & Orlaith McCusker and Alannah & Brianna McCartan-Walsh.

COUNTY DOWN FLEADH – ENTRY FORMS AND INFO

It’s almost Fleadh time again, this year’s County Down Fleadh will be held in Castlewellan on the 27th June (sets/ceili competitions on the 21st June). We would encourage all our members to enter the Fleadh and join in competition with fellow musicians from across our County.

Entry forms need to be filled out by the 24th May and returned to any committee member. You can download a copy of the form using the link below OR we will have copies available at the desk on Thursday/Saturday classes.