Success at Ó Ghlúin go Glúin Research Symposium

20 September 2018

A special symposium celebrating a number of important individuals in Irish traditional music and their role in passing on the tradition took place at this year's Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Drogheda. Ó Ghlúin go Glúin: Celebrating Legacy and Transmission in Irish Traditional Music was organised in collaboration with the Creative Arts Research Centre at DkIT. The historical Barlow House provided a fitting venue on Friday 17th August 2018.

The symposium was chaired by local researcher, performer and teacher Dr Daithí Kearney, Co-Director of the Creative Arts Research Centre at DkIT, who introduced six speakers from around the country and facilitated questions and discussion. His colleague Dr Adèle Commins, Head of Department of Creative Arts, Media and Music at DkIT, presented a paper on her research into the musical life and legacy of Rory Kennedy, the renowned Dundalk-based music teacher and leader of the immensely successful Siamsa Céilí Band. Current DkIT postgraduate researcher Barra McAllister also presented on his ongoing MA research that considers seminal Dublin fiddle player Tommie Potts.

Other speakers included Dr Conor Caldwell of Queens University Belfast who discussed the importance of Donegal fiddle player John Doherty, and DkIT graduate Dr Seán McElwain who reflected on the immense role of Eamonn Ó Múirí (1912-1966) in the preservation and revival of Sliabh Beagh’s musical tradition. Since graduating with his PhD from DkIT, McElwain has disseminated his research in a variety of ways and was awarded a TG4 award in 2016 for an album drawing on his research entitled 'The Dear Dark Mountain with the Sky Over It'. 

Meath concertina player Mícheál Ó Raghallaigh highlighted some of the important figures that influenced the popularity of the instrument in Meath today, along with Offaly fiddle player Attracta Brady who reflected on her own family’s rich musical heritage, which continues to be evident in the competitions and session in Drogheda this year. Ó Raghallaigh, Brady and McAllister were also tutors at Scoil Éisgse in Drogheda.

Ó Ghlúin go Glúin reflected aspects of research in Irish traditional music that celebrate and evaluate the legacy of notable musicians who have made a significant contribution to the development of Irish traditional music, very often through their teaching or mentoring of young musicians. The speakers drew upon their personal insights, shared recordings and performed examples that illustrated the contribution of selected individuals to the transmission of the tradition.

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