Síomha scoops top provincial prize in Sean-Nós singing

February 18, 2019

A young pupil of Gaelscoil Phádraig Naofa, Crossmaglen has beaten off stiff competition to win one of the most prestigious prizes in the traditional art of sean-nós singing in Ulster.

At the tender age of just eight, Síomha Ní Ghribín won the Under 12 Corn Mhic Reachtain for Sean-Nós singing at the Sean-Nós na Fearsaide traditional singing competition held in  Cumann Áras Mhic Reachtain, Belfast on Wednesday last.

The festival has been running for a number of years and is regarded as the highest standard of Sean nós in Ulster with the winner gaining entry to the prestigious Óireachtas na Gaeilge national singing competition, which takes place in the City West Hotel, Dublin in November. And although at just eight years old, Síomha was one of the youngest performers on the day, she walked away with the top prize, having impressed the judge with her incredible voice and mature use of traditional ornamentation and style.  

Judging the competitors was renowned Gaoth Dobhair singer Doimnic Mac Giolla Bhríde, who was highly impressed by Síomha’s renditions of Mal bhán Ní Chuilleanáin and Neansaí bhán Nic Gobarlaí. 

Gaelscoil Phádraig Naofa, Crossmaglen pupil Síomha Ní Ghribín (8) celebrates success at the recent Sean-Nós na Fearsaide traditional singing competition in Belfast

Gaelscoil teacher and Sean Nós singer Bláithín Mhic Cana, who mentors Síomha, is delighted at her young protégée’s success and said it is a tremendous achievement, not just for Síomha, but for entire singing tradition of South Armagh. 

She said: “South Armagh, and the wider region of Oriel, is regarded as one of the richest areas in the whole of Ireland in terms of the music and songs that have been written and collected here for generations.  But much like the Irish language, that tradition was in decline for a time and at serious risk of being forgotten, or at the very least, no longer being accessable to the people who live here.  That is why it so wonderful to see how the likes of Síomha and the many other young  Sean nós singers in the area, are embracing these songs, breathing life back into them, and gaining recognition and awards at a national level.”

Meanwhile, on Saturday it emerged that Bláithín, having participated in the same festival, also triumphed and was crowned winner of Oireachtas na Gaeilge Sean Nós na Fearsaide, doubling the success of Gaelscoil Phádraig Naofa.  Maith sibh!

Síomha displays her trophy with her proud mum Aishling and mentor Bláithín Mhic Cana, who brought further success when she was crowned winner of Oireachtas na Gaeilge Sean Nós na Fearsaide on Saturday.