Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Gaelscoil teacher scoops top Oireachtas award

Crossmaglen teacher Bláithín Mhic Cana proved that her talents are not confined to the classroom when she scooped a top award in the recent Oireachtas na Gaeilge competition in Dublin.  The annual arts festival of Traditional Irish arts and culture attracts a high standard of competitors from across the country with Sean Nós singing one of its major categories.  

A teacher in Gaelscoil Phádraig Naofa, Crossmaglen, Bláithín beat off stiff competition to take the top prize in the ladies Sean Nós singing category and was awarded the Corn Nic Dhonnchadha.

The judge on the day was the renowned Donegal singer Maire Ní Cholim, who was highly impressed by Bláithin’s renditions of Maidin Fhomhair and Neansaí bhán Nic Gobarlaí, remarking on her use of traditional ornamentation and style.  

Teacher Bláithín Mhic Cana pictured with her Sean Nós singing group in Gaelscoil Phádraig Naofa, Crossmaglen.

Bidding to rejuvenate the tradition of Sean Nós singing in the south Armagh area, Bláithín mentors children and young adults in both competition and social settings. Her fellow members in the local singing circle Glórtha gCuilinn are delighted at Bláithín’s achievement, saying it is a major boost for the entire singing tradition of south Armagh. 

“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 accessible to the people who live here. That is why it so wonderful to see people like Blaithín Mhic Cana passing on this wonderful tradition to our young people and being rewarded and recognised at All Ireland level,” the group said.

Bláithín is pictured at the Oireachtas na Gaeilge event with renowned singer and judge Máire Ní Cholim and fellow Oriel singers Pearse Larkin, Ciara Hall and Síomha Ní Ghribín.

 Glórtha gCuilinn singing circle is held in Keenan’s bar, Crossmaglen for young children and adults on the first Friday of every month. During this session folk singing and Sean Nós singing is celebrated. Everyone is welcome to come along and spectate or participate and enjoy.