County success for Ring of Gullion Comhaltas

June 15, 2010

By Brónagh Murphy

The Forkhill-based Ring of Gullion Comhaltas is celebrating its most successful season to date following the noteable achievements of dozens of its members at last weekend’s Armagh County Fleadh in Portmór.

Almost ninety musicians, singers and dancers from the group will now progress to represent their county at next month’s Ulster Fleadh in Castlewellan.

For the first time dancers from the Majella McEnteggart School of Irish Dancing are representing the Ring of Gullion in the Fleadh.  Dancers Caoimhe Crummy, Serena McVerry, Rosie Doyle, Alana Flynn, Sarah Johnston, Stacey McCann, Jayne Hearty and Fiona Marks were highly praised by the adjudicators for their teamwork and style of dancing.

Céilí Dancing, along with Traditional Singing and Banjo tuition are among the new classes initiated by the Comhaltas this year.  This development, coupled with the success of the Comhaltas in last year’s Fleadh Cheoil, has attracted dozens of new members to the weekly classes, some of whom have already tasted success after last weekend’s showing.

Meanwhile, the Grúpaí Cheoil from Ring of Gullion swept the boards at the County Fleadh with all four groups progressing to the provincial final.  These groups range in age from Under 12, 12-15 years, 15-18 years and Over 18 and are under the astute guidance of musical maestro, Elaine O’Sullivan.

Aside from the Grúpaí Cheoil, dozens of individual performers, duets and trios have also progressed to the Ulster Fleadh Cheoil.  It will be held in Castlewellan, Co. Down from 23-25th July.

Under 12

Cathal Ó Murchu (1st Whistle, 1st Bodhran), Sean Murphy (2nd Bodhran), Michael Muckian (1st Banjo, 1st Mandolin), Miceal Muckian (1st Button Key Accordion), Eoin Ó Murchu (1st Concertina), Niamh Daly (1st Girls Singing), Niamh Downey (1st Gaelic Singing, 2nd Girls Singing), Sarah Kilgallon (3rd Girls Singing), Tiernan Conway (1st Boys Singing).

12-15 years

Eoin Ó Murchu (1st Button Keyed Accordion), Alana Flynn (1st Bodhran, 1st Girls Singing), Darrach McNulty (2nd Bodhran), Laura Matthews (1st Fiddle, 2nd Banjo, 2nd Whistle), Michael O’Callaghan (1st Boys Singing), Miceal Ó Mealaoin (1st Whistle, 3rd Banjo).


Clare O’Callaghan (2nd Fiddle), Ellen Matthews (2nd Whistle), Conor Ó Murchu (1st Banjo, Accompanist and Miscellaneous), Marie Therese McCann (2nd Bodhran).


Niall Ó Murchu (1st Fiddle), Gearoidín Ní Fhaolain (1st Melodeon), Tony O’Callaghan (1st Men’s Singing), Pearse McMahon (2nd Men’s Singing), Noreen McCreesh (1st Gaelic Singing (Women’s), 2nd Singing), Emma Ní Mhurchu (1st Whistle).

Comhaltas Summer Programme

The Ring of Gullion’s Summer Programme will get underway later this month when

Gerry O‘Connor will headline the opening night on 29th June in the Welcome Inn. Patrons are advised to arrive early as a full house is expected.


In recent years the Ring of Gullion Comhaltas has been going from strength to strength and now boasts a membership of more than 130 musicians.

Over the coming weeks The Examiner will take a closer look at the work of the Comhaltas and its role in sustaining and cultivating traditional music and culture in the south Armagh area.

We will also examine the new genres of Céilí dancing and traditional sean-nós singing tuition which have commenced this year and are already yielding success.