LOCAL Newcastle Comhaltas members Ruaírí Howell and Matthew McAstocker have been invited to perform in the prestigious pipers event, Na Píobairí Uilleann Annual Leo Rowsome Commemoration.
This event is held every year at Na Píobairí Uilleann Headquarters in Henrietta Street in Dublin, to commemorate Leo Rowsome, the piper, pipe maker, teacher, patron and founder of Na Píobairí Uileann. This year’s event takes place on Saturday 27 February.
Matthew and Ruaírí will be joined in the recital by fellow pipers Marion McCarthy and Nollaig, Deirdre and Sinéad MacCarthaigh. Matthew and Ruaírí were invited to perform at this event by Leo Rowsome’s granddaughter and event organiser Helena, following a performance at the International Piping Day
event in Stormont late last year.
Both boys are accomplished multi-instrumentalists as well as accomplished pipers. Matthew and Ruáirí are both members of Newcastle CCÉ and it was here that, at the age of 10 and 9 respectively, they started to learn how to play the pipes under the expert guidance of their tutor Vivienne Mulcahy.
Both boys commented on how hard it was to get established on this complex instrument due to the set of pipes seeming so big.
They also both wished to thank Vivienne for her endless patience in those early days! Matthew had previously attended classes in Tin Whistle, Flute and Concertina while Ruáirí had embarked on Tin Whistle and Banjo before they decided it was the Uilleann Pipes for
Over the years they have attended various workshops and classes around the country, including Willie Clancy Week in Miltown
Malby, the William Kennedy Piping Festival in Armagh, Scoil Eisge and Meitheal.
Matthew states that Belfast born piper John McSherry has been the biggest influence on him while Ruáirí adds the tuition and guidance he has received from Pádraig McGovern has had the biggest impact on his piping.
Despite the boys still being so young they have both achieved tremendous success on their pipes at County, Provincial and All-Ireland Fleadhanna.
In fact both boys have also claimed medals within various genres at All-Ireland level. In 2012 and 2013 they claimed medals for taking part in the trio competition in Cavan and Derry; ironically Matthew plays in a trio with Ruáirí’s sister Niamh while Ruáirí plays
in a trio with Matthew’s brothers Jack and James.
Both boys are honoured to have been invited to play at this prestigious event in Dublin and hope to be playing their pipes for many years to come.
Only 1 more sleep!!!!That’s how excited we are here in the Lodge Cultural Centre Castlewellan Co Down. Tomorrow night Friday 11th December we have the wonderful Neily O’Connor Ceili Band playing the tunes for our big Christmas 🎄 Ceili, with the Ravishing Ronan Eastwood our Caller for the night. Reminder of the earlier start of 8.30pm due to the band having to travel home again. Admission £8 including homemade supper and fantastic raffle. Drive easy everyone, see you all there 😊 From Newcastle Comhaltas Ceili Committee.
We are holding an Open Morning on SATURDAY 19th SEPTEMBER in The Lodge/Dun Eisge when any child/young person who wishes to take part in Group Cheoil or Ceili Band can come along and meet the music committee and this year’s tutors.
Every child/young person will get the opportunity to have an informal chat with the music committee, play a tune or two and tell the committee any ideas or thoughts they might have to enhance or improve the groups, if they play any other instruments or showcase any other hidden talents that we at Newcastle CCÉ could enhance or nurture.
Please note the following times:
Under 12 Group/Ceili Band – 10.00am-11.00am
12-15 Group/Ceili Band – 11.15am-12.30pm
15-18 Group/Ceili Band – 12.45pm-1.30pm
Even if your child/young person has participated in groups before it is most important that they attend the open morning as places within Groups and Ceili Bands especially, can fill up very quickly.
It will also give our tutors an opportunity to see the wide variety of instruments and talented young people they will be working with throughout the year
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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:
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 – 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.
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.
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.
Photo 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.