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DkIT Student sings at John Hannon Tribute

19 July 2022

Colleen Savage, a DkIT research student, took part in a celebratory event in honour of John Hannon, Scholar and Collector of Spoken Irish of the Fews in Crossmaglen recently. The Ulster History Circle unveiled a blue plaque on the corner of Newry Street where he once lived and worked in the family merchant shop. John was a scholar who was fascinated by the Irish Language and collated material from the last generation of native Irish speakers in the area, this collection is now viewed as a linguistic treasure.

Colleen Savage is a research student in the Department of Creative Arts, Media and Music who is undertaking research on the song traditions of South Armagh, funded with a DkIT Postgraduate Research Scholarship under the joint supervision of Dr Daithí Kearney and Dr Gearóid Trimble.

Colleen Savage said,

‘John Hannon is the focus of my ongoing postgraduate studies at DKIT, so I was both delighted and honoured to be part of the celebratory event following the official unveiling the Blue Plaque.’

At the event Colleen was amongst the singers who performed songs collected by Hannon in the locality, some of which may not have been heard for nearly a century. These musical pieces were arranged for the Oriel Traditional Orchestra, ensemble-in-residence at DkIT, by Dr Daithí Kearney, who also performed at the event.

Dr Daithí Kearney said:

The ongoing research at DkIT highlights the rich cultural heritage of the Oriel region and seeks to bring it back to the community through performances and public events. This project involves collaboration with various individuals and groups including Dr Gearóid Trimble, a notable scholar on the socio-linguistic heritage of the region.’ 

Colleen recently presented on her research at the Joint Society for Musicology in Ireland and International Council for Traditional Music Ireland Postgraduate Conference hosted by Dublin City University. She will also be presenting a paper entitled ‘A second life for The Lost Songs of the Border – Amhráin Chaillte na Teorann’ at the conference As I Roved Out: Traditional Songs, Singers and Collections of Britain, Ireland and Beyond at the University of Limerick in June. Colleen is the recent recipient of a bursary from the Traditional Song Forum, which will support her participation in the June conference.

Colleen regularly hosts evenings of song in Co. Armagh and her research contributes to an understanding of cross-border cultural relationships. Her work is valued by Tourism Northern Ireland, and she can be contacted at Colleen Savage

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