South Armagh Bards conquer at Ulster Fleadh
A song written by well known South Armagh Bard Pat Mc Geeney has won the best newly composed ballad award at the recent Ulster Fleadh held in Bangor with his composition “Mystical Mountain,” based on the legendary Slieve Gullion. This is the first time that such a section has been introduced into the Fleadh and he was representing Armagh at the event having won the county competition earlier in the summer.
The song was performed by celebrated ballad singer Tony O’Callaghan, a native of Culloville, and who also won his fourth Ulster Fleadh victory as best male singer in the overall ballad section. Both personalities now go on to represent Armagh and Ulster at the All-Ireland Fleadh to be held in Ennis on August 20th.
Pat Mc Geeney, a native of Drumbee near Culloville but living on the Maphoner Road, Mullaghbawn looking out on Slieve Gullion, said that such was the historic fame of the mountain both in its centrality in Irish lore and mythology as well as its rare geological structure, that a fresh song proclaiming its legendary status was in order. He also felt this was timely because of the great renewed interest in the mountain in recent times as a tourist attraction and a place of recreation by the local people, who were more and more taking ownership of their famous landmark.
Pat Mc Geeney is a former winner of the annual Bard of Armagh festival of humorous verse, and several years ago was given the Hall of Fame award and a Scroll of Honour for this outstanding contribution to the great traditional Irish art of humorous verse.
Tony O’Callaghan’s reputation as a superb ballad singer is established throughout Ireland and is totally in keeping with the venerable South Armagh tradition. They eyes and ears of many will be on Ennis in a few weeks time in the hope that these two artists will more than challenge the best in Ireland.