During the month of December the Branch held their annual prize giving and Christmas party hosted by Chairperson Roisin Howell. The afternoon began with a display of Music, singing and dancing from members.
Most improved, U8 Whistle – Aoibhin Byrne and Conor McCartan
Most Improved, U10 Whistle – Eoghan Breen and Mya Kelly
Most Improved, U12 Whistle – Marissa Rooney and Shea McGrath
Most Improved, U15 Whistle – Niall Donnan
Nancy Rodgers Trophy, Most Improved Flute – Jessica Hayes and Eoin Flynn
McCawley Family Shield, Most Improved U10 Fiddle – Jude Brannigan and Aoibhe Hastings
Rush Family Shield, Most Improved U12 Fiddle – Catherine Cousins
The Paddy Brennan Cup, Best Overall Fiddle – Lorcan Garland
Willy McCartan Trophy, Most Improved Fiddle, U15 – Cliona Hanna
TJ’s Gems Award, Most Improved Banjo/Mandolin – Caoimhe Coughlan and Barry Rogan
Most Improved Beginner Guitar – Cian Maginn and Peter Jennings
Scullion Perpetual Trophy, Most Improved Guitar – Ciaran Og O’Hare
Bartley Finnegan Perpetual trophy, Most Improved Bodhran/Drums – Corran Coughlan and Anna-Rose Kelly
Murray Perpetual Trophy, Most Improved Uilleann Pipes – Luke Savage
Walsh Perpetual Trophy, Most Improved Concertina – Milo Crean
Newcastle CCE Accordion Award – Eoghan Breen
Most Improved Harp – Cathleen Garland
Cowan Perpetual Award, Most Improved Singing – Realtan Rodgers and Annie Breen
Overall Set Dancing, U8 – Caitlin McKenna, Rosie O’Connor and Cara Croskery
Overall Set Dancing, U10 – Rose McGrady, Amy McMurrough and Heidi Keenan
Overall Set Dancing, U12 – Niamh O’Reilly and Rochelle Campbell
Sean MacRuairi Cup, Highest marks in County Fleadh – Ruaírí Howell
Newcastle CCE Shield for Contribution to the Branch – The Barbour Family
Chairpersons Shield, Members Member of the Year – Vivienne Mulcahy and Niamh Howell
As well as this, some of our members were given the opportunity to attend the Traditional Irish Concert and Workshops hosted by Cavan CCE and Cavan Pipers. This consisted of a top-class recital on Friday the 25th of November in Belturbet Town Hall featuring some of Ireland’s finest musicians. (Louise and Michelle Mulcahy, Mick and Ciara O’Brien and the McKenna Family).
Following this, there was a session in the Seven Horse Shoes Hotel in which our members joined in and played tunes with lots of other musicians. A great night was had by all!
The next morning, they all took part in the workshops and were taught by some of the musicians who played the previous night. There were classes in flute, fiddle, concertina, uilleann pipes and harp.
A big thanks to Hugh Brady and Cavan CCE for organising this event which turned out to be a great success and an enjoyable and rewarding experience for our members.
Dates for your Diary:
Monthly Ceili 13th January – Long Note Ceili Band
Mid Term Break – 16th and 18th February (No Classes)
Newcastle Comhaltas hosted their annual AGM on the 23rd of October 2016. This year’s meeting was fantastically attended by many members of the branch, and we were pleased to welcome members who hadn’t previously attended any prior AGMs.
Newcastle CCÉ were pleased to welcome a guest speaker from the Ulster Comhaltas Committee, James McCaffrey. James spoken to the attendees before presenting various awards to members of the branch. There were many certificates awarded to members who recently passed their London College of Music exams for grade 1 to 8. James remarked on the number of members who passed their exams, and stated they were a credit to their branch.
James also awarded 7 members and families of the branch with a commemorative 1916 Proclamation. This Proclamation was presented to members or families who have given exceptional service to culture including music, song, dance, language and contribution to charity.
The new Committee for 2017:
Chairperson: Roisin Howell
Assistant Chairperson: Paul Rush
Treasurer: Terry Cowan
Assistant Treasurer: Brenda Maguire
Secretary: Karin McVeigh
Membership Officer: Sharon McCawley-Breen
PRO: Siobhan Walsh
Assistant PRO: Matthew McAstocker
Child Protection Officers: Cara Maginn, Paddy Breen
Treoraí na Gaeilge: Megan Rush
Youth Officer: Niamh Howell
Delegates to County Board: Terry and Patricia Cowan
Members of the Newcastle CCÉ committee for 2017 pictured with guest speaker James McCaffrey
Recipients of LCM examination certificates, pictured with tutor Vivienne Mulcahy
The Annual General Meeting of Newcastle C.C.É. will take place on Sunday the 23rd of October at 3pm in The Lodge Cultural Centre, Castlewellan. Guest Speaker on the day will be James McCaffrey, P.R.O. on the Ulster Council. All members are very welcome.
Please find attached a nomination sheet for officers. Anyone wishing to stand for a position on the committee can only be nominated, proposed and seconded by fully paid registered members.
If you wish to stand for nomination or wish to nominate any member for a position and cannot attend the meeting on the day, we must have the intention to stand for nomination in writing.
Macalla na hÉireann, the 2016 Comhaltas Concert Tour of Ireland will visit 14 venues between the 9th and 22nd of October. Newcastle CCE are proudly playing host to the annual tour on Saturday 15th of October at 8pm in The Lodge Castlewellan. One of only two performances taking place in Ulster. The concert will showcase the very best of traditional talent drawn from all four Provinces of Ireland.
Following on from the fantastic success of previous years Concert Tours. This year’s tour promises again to assembles a fine mix of established artistes together with up-and-coming young stars. These are blended together to produce a fast-moving and colourful show which incorporates traditional music, dance and song, and will appeal to both the connoisseurs and peripheral fans of Irish traditional entertainment.
This year’s line-up is as follows; Dick Beamish (Cork) – Fear an Tí, Emma Corbett (Waterford) –Melodeon & Button Accordion, Ciara Fox (Tyrone) – Singer, Finbarr English (Tipperary) – Fiddle, Sandra Walsh (Cork) – Banjo & Mandolin, Shirley Rodgers (Roscommon) – Flute & Whistle, Claire Anne Kearns (Offaly) – Fiddle & Button Accordion, Ciarán MacGerailt (Kildare) – Flute, Colm Slattery (Tipperary) – Button Accordion, Melodeon & Piano, Fergus Bogue (Cavan) – Button Accordion, Jack MacPartlin (Tipperary) – Uileann Pipes, Sinead Mulqueen (Clare) – Concertina & Piano, John Joyce (Galway) – Sean Nós Dancer, Áine McDermott (Cavan) – Dancer, Aoife McEntee (Cavan) – Dancer, Muireann O’Dwyer (Tipperary) – Harp, Eddie Murphy (Limerick) – Manager.
The concert will begin at 8pm, The Lodge Castlewellan.
For all ticket enquiries please call 07743487034.
Tickets cost £10 however discounts and family rates are available.
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.