Ardara school's pioneering and dedicated approach to Irish traditional music celebrated

A musical launch at S.N.Mhín Tine Dé, Ardara

Led by global musical icon Mairéad Ni Mhaonaigh, a who’s who of Donegal’s best and famous traditional musicians from the Glen of Glenties, Glenfin, Laghey, the Rosses, Glenties and Ardara congregated recently for a night of musical celebration at Ardara’s S.N. Mhín Tine Dé.
Celebrated and re-knowned fiddlers such as Danny Meehan, Jimmy Campbell and his son Peter, Paddy Mc Menamin, Tara Conaghan joined with Mairéad, school past and present parents Shane Bracken (concertina), Chris Heatley-Mulhall and Pat Dorrian (both bodhrán), and fellow guests Annagry’s Brian O’Domhnaill (fideog mhór) and Ardara’s Tony Finnerty (bosca ceoil), in delivering a feast of traditional music to launch the school’s traditional fiddle focused music group Ceoltoirí Mul Musóg.
The event celebrated the school’s pioneering and dedicated approach to Irish traditional music when a number of years ago school teachers and parents started a fiddle lesson programme involving past and present pupils.
Tutored by Kevin O’Donnell of Dunkineely’s ‘O’Donnell School of Music’, the schools musical group has gone from strength to strength, showing their talents and Kevin’s tutelage - to the large proud and ecstatic audience in attendance.

Embracing our culture
Reflecting school principal Áine Nic Giolla Bhríde’s on the night statement and school ethos ‘that appreciating and embracing your own culture and language provides a firm bedrock for recognising and accepting others’, the school pupils delivered beautiful varied cultural melodies ranging from the traditional to the global – the latter a well-received finale of a lively rhythmic Congolese folk refrain involving samba drums.
The night was punctuated with a school awards presentation where Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh presented current school pupils the following:-
‘Labhairt na Gaeilge’ (Senior Classes) – Brandon Mac Séibhlín; ‘Labhairt na Gaeilge’ (Junior Classes) – Charlie O’Braonáin agus Donál O’Deoráin; ‘Amhránaí na Bliana’ – Donáillín Ni Ghallachóir; ‘Ceol Uirlisí’ – Dualta Ó Breacáin agus Ríonach Ní Dhochartaigh.
Recognising the school’s continued efforts and commitment to fiddle playing, Cairdeas na bhFidleirí’s Rab Cherry and Caoimhin Mc Kee presented the school with a highly coveted library of CDs and a series of beautiful posters of all the Donegal fiddlers, all of which will have pride of place in S.N Mhín Tine Dé’s music room.
Enlivened and enthused by the nights successful celebrations, parents, teachers and musicians fittingly decanted to school friend and often musical sponsor Pat Mc Gill’s Beehive Bar in Ardara, where patrons and tourists were regaled with impromptu beautiful Irish traditional music and sean nós singers Naoise Mac Cathmhaoil, Mairéad Ni Mhaonaigh and Brian Ó Dómhnaill.
As the saying goes ‘Tá leagheas sa cheol’.

All pictures featured in this gallery taken by John McConnell

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