All posts by bpaddy

Nancy Rodgers Workshop / Fleadh Launch – 3rd March 2018

The 3rd of March will be one filled with Music, Song and Dance in The Lodge Castlewellan. Newcastle CCÉ are holding their 5th annual Nancy Rodgers Weekend, in remembrance of a lady who helped rejuvenate Newcastle Comhaltas in the 1980’s and who helped build it into the successful branch it is today.

Nancy Rodgers Workshop 2018

The weekend is famed for its Music Workshops on Saturday 3rd. These workshops have ben growing in popularity each year as musicians from all over Ireland, many of whom are All Ireland champions on their instrument, teach classes to musicians not only from Newcastle CCÉ but also from neighbouring Comhaltas Branches. Notable Tutors which will be attending ad teaching in the workshops are the Maguire family. Each of the family members, Lorena, Maggie and Chris, are multiple All Ireland Champions in various disciplines from Ceili Band, Trio and individual competitions and we are honoured that such a prestigious family in the Traditional Music scene are coming to teach in the workshops.

The workshops will be followed on Saturday afternoon at 4pm for the launch of the Ulster and County Fleadhanna. The day will be rounded off by a Tutor Concert in the Kings Inn at 8pm, which will showcase the fantastic talents of the tutors who were teaching throughout the workshops, as well as performances from Newcastle CCÉ multi instrument group and Ceol Group.

For any additional information or to book spaces for the workshop please contact Newcastle CCÉ at or by phoning 07743487034.

Cracking Christmas Craft Fair is returning to Castlewellan

FATHER Christmas will be winging his way to Castlewellan on Saturday 25 November 10am – 4pm for a special visit to a Christmas craft fair.

Now in its eighth year, the popular, annual event which is organised by two Newcastle CCE tutors, sisters Maria McGrady and Donna O’Flaherty, is held at The Lodge, and has become a favourite with locals who are keen to snap up some of the best gifts available, which have been produced by some of the country’s top craftsmen and women.

The free event guarantees to be a fun-filled festive day out and Father Christmas himself has promised to take a few hours out of his hectic schedule to spend time with local children and to buy some Christmas gifts at the fair.

Christmas Craft Fair

With plenty of activities for all the family, this event will have lots of things to keep the younger members of the family entertained, while the grown-ups head around the stalls, including face painting, balloon modelling, a sweetie stall, and a colouring activity table and tombola.

Boasting an array of items, all of which are sure to make wonderful Christmas gifts, the fair will include artwork, woodwork, metalwork, and felt work, floral arrangements, scented candles, soaps, aromatherapy oils, bath bombs, nappy cakes and gift hampers amongst the wide collection of unique gifts up for grabs.

Delicious cupcakes, sweet treats and other tasty home-baked delights will also be on sale.

Shoppers will also be able to rest their feet and enjoy a hot cup of tea, coffee or mulled wine while listening to the festive music

So, for a fabulous family day out not to be missed, which is offering some of the very best handcrafted goods, make sure you visit The Lodge in Castlewellan on Saturday 25 November, between 10am and 4pm.

For more event information search for Castlewellan Christmas Craft Fair on Facebook or email

Newsletter – January 2017

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)

  • Nancy Rodgers Workshop – 11 and 12th March

  • County Concert – Date TBC

New committee elected following AGM

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

Branch Annual General Meeting (Sunday 23rd Oct, 3pm)

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.

Comhaltas Concert Tour of Ireland is Visiting Castlewellan

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.

Newcastle CCÉ Members excel at the County Down Fleadh

ON Saturday 18 June, musicians from Newcastle CCÉ travelled to Warrenpoint to compete in the Down Fleadh.

Newcastle CCÉ were well represented in various competitions, including solo, duet, trio, dancing, singing, Grupaí Cheoil and Ceílí Band competitions.

It was a hugely successful day for Newcastle CCÉ, with over 50 members from the branch being placed first, second and third recommended.

Newcastle  CCÉ Down Fleadh Results

They will be moving forward to represent their branch and County at the Ulster Fleadh in Bangor on 23 and 24 July.

Newcastle CCÉ would like to thank all parents and tutors for their support throughout the year and wish each member moving forward to the Ulster Fleadh the best of luck.

Lots of happy faces for our young Newcastle CCE musicians, each travelling to Bangor in July to compete in their respective instrument and age categories.
Lots of happy faces for our young Newcastle CCE musicians, each travelling to Bangor in July to compete in their respective instrument and age categories.
Newcastle CCE members father and daughter Seamus and Cathleen Garland will be singing their way to Bangor in July.
Newcastle CCE members father and daughter Seamus and Cathleen Garland will be singing their way to Bangor in July.
Looking forward to competing in the Ulster Fleadh from left, Barry Rogan, Emmett McCartan and Luke Savage.
Looking forward to competing in the Ulster Fleadh from left, Barry Rogan, Emmett McCartan and Luke Savage.
Newcastle CCE senior men winners Seamus Garland, Paul Rush and Terry Cowan.
Newcastle CCE senior men winners Seamus Garland, Paul Rush and Terry Cowan.
U12 trio of winners, Tara Howell, Erin Maginn and Cathleen Garland.
U12 trio of winners, Tara Howell, Erin Maginn and Cathleen Garland.
Terry Cowan is pictured with grandchildren Ruairi, Tara and Enya Howell, along with Erin Maginn. Together the family brought home 28 medals. (Absent from photograph is Niamh Howell).
Terry Cowan is pictured with grandchildren Ruairi, Tara and Enya Howell, along with Erin Maginn. Together the family brought home 28 medals. (Absent from photograph is Niamh Howell).
The Leckey sisters from Newcastle CCE, each through to the Ulster Fleadh in Bangor.
The Leckey sisters from Newcastle CCE, each through to the Ulster Fleadh in Bangor.

Talented young musicians chosen to take part in prestigious pipers event

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.

Newcastle CCE pipers Ruaírí Howell (seated left) and Matthew McAstocker (right) pictured with Newcastle CCE master tutor Padraig McGovern and branch tutor Vivienne Mulcahy (standing).
Newcastle CCE pipers Ruaírí Howell (seated left) and Matthew McAstocker (right) pictured with Newcastle CCE master tutor Padraig McGovern and branch tutor Vivienne Mulcahy (standing).

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.

Xmas Ceili – Neily O’Connor Ceili Band – Fri 11th Dec @ 8.30pm

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.