Munster Secretary's Annual Report 2018/2019 - Part 2
April 17, 2020
Part 1 of this report can be read here
The following is the second installment of the Rúnaí na Mumhan, Assunta Uí Chathasaigh Annual Report for 2018/2019 given at February’s Munster Convention.
FLEADH CHEOIL NA MUMHAN: The 59th Fleadh Cheoil na Mumhan 2019 took place in Ennis hosted by Craobh na Mainstreach from 14-22 July. The Banner Capital had previously hosted 2018 Fleadh na Mumhan as well as 2016 & 2017 Fleadh na hÉireann. Thosnaig Fleadh 2019 le Aifreann Traidisiúnta álainn ar an Domhnach san Ard Eaglais. The unveiling of a magnificent and appropriate plaque to the late Silbheaster Mac Conmhuigh, Chairman of Comhairle na Mumhan and of course a past Uachtarán of Comhaltas, took place in Lissycasey. The opening reception & Ceolchoirm hosted by Inis Cathaigh Branch, gave a very slick presentation indeed by producer Anne Hayes. Frank Custy & Friends Lunch-time Concerts proved very popular during the week. Ennis Seisiún on both Wednesday & Friday nights and Sean-nós Dancing Workshop with Gearóid Devane, which was well attended. Céilithe were held on Wed and Friday nights; unfortunately the Sunday afternoon outdoor Céilí, due to the inclement weather, was transferred to Cois na hAbhna. Concert programme was held in the highly acclaimed Glór Theatre. Thursday Clare Youth Orchestra Conductor Pádraig O’Reilly and special guests, Séamus Begley & Óisín Mac Diarmada, Friday Shaskeen in concert, and ending with Kilfenora Band on Sunday night. All concerts drew large audiences. The weekend Singing sessions took place in Templegate Hotel which were greatly attended. Seisiún Sráide – The Street Entertainment competition took place at appointed locations throughout the town. The Gig Rig was a most popular attraction in the town providing music song story and dance from many groups over three evenings. Many groups provided fine entertainment. A visiting group from Sweden has asked to attend. And while they did all their own arrangements they were guided and welcomed by Mary Liddy. The group gave most enjoyable presentations, in full traditional costumes, at Lunchtime concerts as well as on the Gig Rig. They were highly impressed with the fleadh and Ireland in general. Bhí Ionad na Gaeilge fé lán tseoil ag an deireadh seachtaine le Eibhlín Uí Mhaoldomhnaigh i gceannas. Bíonn taispeántas iontach san Ionad gach aon bhliain den taighde atá déanta ag Eibhlín. Is fiú go mór cuairt a thabhairt ar an Ionad gach bliain. Once again the Annual Clár Chuimhneacháin was an attractive and colourful publication, offering interesting articles and competition detail. Comhairle na Mumhan & Fleadh na Mumhan Coiste are most grateful to all the generous sponsors. We appreciate the high level of financial support from Meitheal, Six County Boards and Branches throughout the Province. The subscriptions from Munster Comhaltas units each year show solidarity with the organising committee. The Fleadh committee are indebted to Clare Co. Council and Ennis Municipal section for their generous sponsorship. Lunch time catering for officials etc, organised by Mary Finnegan and Cois na hAbhna ladies was greatly appreciated. A very fine team of adjudicators were assembled for the Fleadh and we are most grateful to them for their excellent co-operation and help. The Fleadh na Mumhan team in order to cater for larger competition attendance and participation demands a large number of volunteers to help out in many ways, e.g. competition officials, adjudicators, call stewards, venue managers, door staff, results team, office staff, results collectors, programme & wrist band sellers, car park stewards, and all others who helped in any way. We are truly indebted to the dedicated Fleadh Coiste, and Craobh na Mainistreach and Clare Co. Board, led by its Cathaoirleach, Joe Arkins, for the very successful hosting of Fleadh Cheoil na Mumhan 2019. Molaim go hard sibh go léir.
SCOIL FONN & AMHRÁN: The County Scoil Fonn & Amhrán days were organised prior to four County Fleadhanna. The aim of these workshops is to create awareness on slow airs and songs and bring slow air playing and the art of traditional singing to a wider audience. The Munster Scoil Fonn & Amhrán day was held with Fleadh na Mumhan in St. Flannan’s College. The successful day catered for an attendance of 55 students. The following tutors provided excellent tuition: Marian Curtin, Majella Bartley, Clare Ann Kearns, Aoife Ní Argáin, Máire Ní Chéileachair, & EllaMarie O’Dwyer. These master classes have opened up the availability of this type of tuition to many young musicians and singers over the years. It is recommended to each Co. Board to organise its own Scoil Fonn & Amhrán day and avail of the grant provided by Comhairle na Mumhan to the County Board for this purpose.
SLIDE & POLKA WORKSHOP: The holding of these classes at Fleadh na Mumhan since 1997 has played a significant role in giving Polka & Slide playing its due recognition. Twenty attended Master class given by Máiréad Corridan who provided excellent tuition on Sliabh Luachra musical heritage.
Ceol - Amhránaíocht – Comhrá & Sceálaíocht ag an bFhleadh: Many competitions had a full quota of County qualifiers, all seeking the honour to perform at Fleadh na hÉireann, The close proximity of the competition venues, in Treacy’s West County Hotel and St. Flannan’s College greatly facilitated the competitors. High standards and wonderful entertainment in music, song and dance in 20 venues was available all over the weekend. Close to 100 teams between Bands & Grúpaí Ceoil graced the stage over the weekend, each providing high class musical programmes. Outstanding solo performances, haunting airs, beautiful singing, Comhrá snasta and storytelling/scéalaíocht to enhance the varied programme – all jewels of our culture could be heard over the weekend. Our participating numbers are improving in Storytelling and Scéalaíocht. Congratulations to all who competed in Ennis as well as Parents, Teachers, Tutors and Branch Officers who helped in preparing the competitors for Fleadh na Mumhan.
Set & Céilí Competitions: Competitions commenced on Friday, and continued over the weekend with non-stop dancing in excess of 170 teams performed, which is slightly lower than last year. Set & Céilí dancing competitions continue as always to create excitement in that special atmosphere. Well done to all dancers, parents, and tutors for the dedicated hours of practise, which resulted in a high standard of performance throughout the weekend. While the Céilí dance team numbers have decreased over the last couple of years, the high standard of Munster was clearly evident at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.
RINCE AR AN SEAN NÓS: Sean Nós Dancing competitions featured approximately fifty qualifiers from the counties to seek Munster honours in four age groups.
FLEADH CHEOIL na hÉIREANN: Fleadh na hÉireann 2019 returned to Drogheda. Competitions again produced an exceptional standard. Ninety three Munster competitors were acclaimed All Ireland Champions as well as in excess of one hundred & thirty
featuring among the prizewinners. Comhghairdeas leo. Fr Pat Ahern of Moyvane and Siamsa Tíre was the distinguished and very deserving recipient of the 2019 Ard Ollamh Award at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Drogheda. The honour bestowed on Fr Pat was in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Irish culture over the past sixty years. He played a significant role in the early years of Comhaltas in Kerry and served as Cathaoirleach of the Co Board. The founding of Siamsa Tíre was one of his many outstanding achievements and was its artistic director for twenty three years. He was producer of the first three Fleadh Nua, promoted the traditional step dancing of North Kerry, produced the first Comhaltas Concert Tours of North America and composed two Irish language masses. Tá éacht déanta ag an Athair Pat i ngort an chultúir. Táimid go léir faoi chomaoin aige. Go maire sé i bhfad. Among the awardees for 2019 Bardic Awards was well known Munster Master Traditional Fiddler: Eileen O’Brien from Nenagh. Eileen is a well known performer, teacher, composer. A Bardic Award was also granted to Master Button accordion player, Martin Connolly Clare. The award was accepted by Damien Connolly on behalf of his father. There was a Gala Legacy performance, featuring the Comhaltas National Folk Orchestra with Conductor Tom Doorley with narrators and special guest performances to a maximum audience. The Orchestra group included musicians and singers from the province as well as Manager Eddie Murphy.