COMHALTAS Ceoltóirí Éireann in Scotland enjoyed great success at this year’s Fleadh Cheoil, bringing home over half the British medal haul from this year’s competitions.
Scottish CCÉ development officer Paddy Callaghan said their triumph was testament to a “real determination to preserve the culture” in the region.
“The success is down to the hard work of the individuals who take the time out, free of charge, to teach the next generation,” he said. “This is all helped by the fact that for the first time in a long while, trad music is considered cool!”
The All-Ireland-Fleadh, held this year for the first time north of the Irish border in Derry, is described as the Olympics of traditional music.
Musicians and performers from around the world compete for the top spots.
Competitive events include song, dance, Irish language and music, with instruments ranging from bouzouki to bodhráns.
This year saw Glasgow branch St James the Great achieve its first ever winner when Kathleen Ewins took gold in the under 15 accompaniment.
“Many branches in Comhaltas are in jeopardy of closing or indeed have lost large swathes of their membership in recent years,” said Paddy, who is also this year’s BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year.
“This is probably partly down to the current crop being third, fourth or fifth generation as opposed to first or second. However that is the trend we are trying to buck in Scotland.
“This is all possible with the tireless work of volunteers who give up so much of their lives to preserve Irish culture. The current successes are a testament to their devotion.”
Joining the Scottish branches in celebrating a great 2013 Fleadh were winners from London, Luton, Birmingham , Liverpool and Leeds.
West London’s Etaoin Rowe enjoyed triple honours, securing first place in the Lilting competition and second place in both Songs in English (Ladies, 15-18) and the Newly Composed English category. This brings the 17-year-olds All-Ireland first place total to eight, with 19 medals overall.
For pictures of those who travelled from Britain to take part see next week’s Irish Post, out Wednesday, August 28.
The full list of British winners at this year’s All-Ireland Fleadh were:
Roisin Anne Hughes, CCÉ, Irish Minstrels Glasgow – 3rd
Button Accordion (12-15)
Conor Whelton, CCÉ West London – 2nd
Mairi Therese Deighan, CCÉ Irish Minstrels, Glasgow – 2nd
Piano Accordion (15-18)
Matthew Murphy, CCÉ South Birmingham – 2nd
Piano Accordion (O18)
Kevin Murphy, CCÉ Irish Minstrels, Glasgow – 2nd
Mouth Organ (O18)
Jarlath O’Hara, CCÉ Leeds – 3rd
2nd Patrick Ballantyne, CCÉ Leagrave – 2nd
Kevin Murphy, CCÉ Irish Minstrel, Glasgow – 3rd
Ben Connolly, CCÉ North London – 3rd
Céilí Band Drums (15-18)
Liam Murphy, CCÉ Irish Minstrels, Glasgow – 3rd
Céilí Band Drums (O18)
Sean O’Neill, CCÉ Johnny Doherty, Motherwell – 2nd
Kathleen Ewins, CCÉ St James the Great, Glasgow – 1st
Flute Slow Airs (U12)
Mark Docherty, CCÉ Irish Minstrels, Glasgow – 3rd
Flute Slow Airs (15-18)
Hannah Irwin, CCÉ West London – 2nd
Whistle Slow Airs (Faoi 12)
Ruari Connor, CCÉ Liverpool – 3rd
Whistle Slow Airs (O18)
Martin Hughes, CCÉ, Johnny Doherty, Motherwell -3rd
Breanna Wilson, Jamie Conway, CCÉ Irish Minstrels, Glasgow – 2nd
Roisin Ann Hughes, Patricia McArdle, Catriona mcArdle, CCÉ Irish Minstrels, Glasgow – 2nd
Songs in Irish (Men) (O18)
Jim McElhone, CCÉ Irish Minstrels, Glasgow – 3rd
Songs in English (Ladies) (15-18)
Etaoin Rowe, CCÉ West London – 2nd
Newly Composed English (Any Age)
Etaoin Rowe, CCÉ West London – 2nd
Etaoin Rowe, CCÉ West London – 1st