Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

All-Ireland drama success for Crossmaglen Gaelscoil

Gaelscoil Phádraig Naofa in Crossmaglen is celebrating remarkable success in this year’s Féile Scoil-dramaíochta having scooped the All-Ireland title in the prestigious drama competition.

Féile Scoildramaíochta is one of the most prestigious and renowned competitions in the area of drama and script writing for primary and secondary schools throughout Ireland, with participating schools achieving success at local and provincial level before reaching the national final, which this year was held in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. 

Pupils from the gaelscoil’s Rang 6 and Rang 7 swept the boards with their production of ‘Taibhsí an tSleibhe’ (Ghosts of the Mountain), a play based on the heritage and culture of the Ring of Gullion.  

Written by Gaelscoil teacher Bláithín McCann, the drama encompasses the legend and folklore associated with the ghosts of Slieve Gullion.  Directed and produced by Múinteoir Aisling Uí Ghribín, alongside digital director Múinteoir Barra Ó’Muirí and musical director Elaine O’Sullivan, it presents a superb reflection of the beauty and history of South Armagh.

Through their research and performances of the play, the young cast learned about some of the south Armagh’s most famous ancestors – like St Oliver Plunkett, the poet Peadar O’Doirnín and more recently, the late Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich, himself a keen advocator of Féile Scoildramaíochta.

Following the performance at the Ulster final stage in Letterkenny, the judge remarked on the children’s high quality of spoken Irish and on the pride and understanding they displayed in their community and local history.  The inclusion of the sean-nós singing tradition throughout the play was also unique for children so young, he commented.  Indeed seán nós singing has become extremely popular at Gaelscoil Phádraig Naofa since being introduced by Múinteoir Bláithín some years ago. 

A member of the judging panel at the Féile Naisiúnta, BBC presenter Lynette Fay said she was “overwhelmed” by the production, remarking that it was incredible to think the children are still primary school age, and she highlighted the innovative digital set along with the clever use of script which combined local history and tradition of the past with life in south Armagh today.

Reacting to the All-Ireland title win, Múinteoir Aisling Uí Ghribín said that Gaelscoil Phádraig Naofa and St Patrick’s Primary School as a whole is immensely proud of their young actors.

Congratulating the cast on their success, she said: “They have represented our school and community with pride, maturity and understanding way beyond their years.”

The winning cast and crew will attend a special awards ceremony on 17th May in Croke Park, where they will be crowned All-Ireland champions of one the most highly coveted accolades in the area of schools’ drama production.  Maith sibh!  Mól an óige agus tiocfaidh sí!