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Local Acts Shine at Arts Centre

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Traditional musicians and singers from throughout Co Wexford converged on Wexford Arts Centre On Sept 16 for The Best of Comhaltas Concert. Hosted by Loch Garman Comhaltas the aim of the evening was to present a showcase of the best of the county’s traditional music and song.

Needless to say, a show such as this is only ever going to have time to focus on a selection of the many wonderful musicians and singers of which the county can boast. However, taken as a snapshot of the health of traditional music in Wexford today, this concert showed that the standard has never been higher, especially among younger musicians. 

The show opened with young musicians from Taghmon, Crossabeg, Shelmalier and Curracloe showing off their skills. The venerable Paddy Berry sang a couple of songs, one about Nicky Rackard, the other about Paddy and The Whale. Award-winning bi-lingual poet Máire Ní Bhriain read three poems: The Visiting Cat Discovers Sean-Nós, Blas, Revenge. Ballymitty harpist Shelly O’Grady enchanted the house with a couple of beautiful tunes. Kathleen Wickham (flute), Kevin Whitty (mandolin, tin whistle) and Paddy Fortune (guitar) may go by the name No Direction, but once they picked up their instruments they knew exactly where they were going! Kevin’s Bannow Bay on whistle was a poignant affair. Next act onstage, was, for many, a highlight of the evening when seven of the county’s top uilleann pipers blasted through a couple of sets. The Magnificent Seven, which included the talented young Eoin Doyle, performed a set of jigs (Garrett Barry’s and The Lark in the Morning) followed by a set of hornpipes (The Boys of Bluehill and Heart & Home). Fear an Tí, Matt Murphy, was joined for a set of tunes and songs by his colleagues in the Bridge Folk & Trad Group (see pic above: Kevin Murphy - whistle, flute; Statia Boyce - whistle, flute; Tony Boyce - guitar, banjo; Tony Durack - accordion). Statia Boyce’s tin whistle playing on Longing For Home was hauntingly beautiful. Mattie, himself, showed why he is in such demand on the traditional singing circuit when he launched into a raunchy Red Haired Mary. If ever a song is assured of full house participation it is this one! Gorey singer Rachel Ní Fhaoláin sang a lovely lament, An Mhaighdean Mhara, while Tom Coffey was warming up his pipes. Tom was accompanied by son Rory on banjo for his set. The fine playing of the young Reville quartet from Bannow was accompanied by an infectious good humour. Tuaisceart Comhaltas was represented by their All-Ireland Fleadh medal-winning U18 Céilí band crew. Their bodhrán supremo, Paddy Doyle, delighted the audience with a wonderful solo performance. With the clock running down Tuaisceart was joined by as many of the evening’s musicians as could be fitted on stage for a rousing finale set. Sean nós dancer Annmarie Nolan found a few square inches and rattled the floorboards into submission!

With the excellence of musicianship and the diversity on offer this was an evening which was as rewarding for those participating as it was was for the audience. Tá an spiorad dúchasach beo beathach i Loch Garman! 


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Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann is the largest group involved in the preservation and promotion of Irish traditional music. We’re a non-profit cultural movement with hundreds of local branches around the world, and as you can read in our history we’ve been working for the cause of Irish music since the middle of the last century (1951 to be precise). Our efforts continue with increasing zeal as the movement launches itself into the 21st century.

An Tobar: Ionad Gaeilge agus Cultúir


Is Ionad Gaeilge agus Cultúir é An Tobar atá suite i mBaile Loch Garman. Tá idir eagraíochtaí ceoil, Gaeilge, damhsa agus amhránaíochta lonnaithe ag An Tobar.