Macalla na hÉireann @ Kilteel

Last night’s fun was to catch Comhaltas‘s Macalla na hÉireann tour in Kilteel, sponsored by Bus Eireann & Foras na Gaeilge. This tour features a selection of extremely talented musicians identified through the Fleadh circuit showcasing traditional music, song & dance around the country, intertwined with a bit of craic and an Ghaeilge. The music was top drawer from start to finish, and the musicians, singers and dancers were great performers (particularly, for me, on the night, Róisín Ryan’s singing, Audrey Murphy on flute & tin whistle and Fionn Morrison’s uilleann piping).

There wasn’t a lot of emphasis on fiddle playing, for some reason; the presentation was a bit backward-focussed, assuming young people are a key target market; but my main issue was with the garb: the lads all in black was one thing (why not allow SOME individuality into the clothes considering there is so much individuality in the music?), but the poor, poor girls have to put up with a tour of the country wearing Bunratty Castle-type velvet dresses, complete with flared mesh sleeve extensions. Whatever about that being about right for the tourists (although it’s about as authentic as ringlet curls), and whatever about dancers, for musicians on a tour of their own country it seem “wrong” for the target audience of locals out just to hear some great music. I couldn’t help wondering who persuaded the women to wear the gear, how much resistance they put up against the idea, whether or not one or two of them could have threatened to walk out if they didn’t get to wear their own clothes, and how patronising and almost sexist the whole thing looks. Am I alone in that reaction?

Anyway, costume aside, for the music alone it’s a tour worth catching:


Date Location Contact
Tuesday, October 12th Oriel Centre, Old Gaol Dundalk Kay Webster 042 932 8887
Wednesday, October 13th Cavan Town Hall, Town Hall St. Cavan Martin Donohoe 086 234 2270
Thursday, October 14th Glenfarne, Co. Leitrim Gerry Finneran 071 985 3084/087 894 1797
Friday, October 15th “The Factory” The Wild Duck Inn, Portglenone, Antrim Eamon Graham 028 258 21025/ Geraldine Donnelly 028 258 21734
Saturday, October 16th Dún Uladh, Omagh, Co. Tyrone Brendan McAleer 028 822
Sunday, October 17th Ceoláras Coleman, Gurteen, Co. Sligo Box Office 071 918
Monday, October 18th Station House Theatre, Clifden, Co. Galway Marie Walsh 086 401
Tuesday, October 19th Cois na hAbhna, Ennis, Co. Clare Doreen Norris 065 682
Wednesday, October 20th Brú na Sí, Youghal, Co. Cork Micheál de Buitléar 087 164 2373
Thursday, October 21st Ceolann Cultural Centre, Lixnaw, Co. Kerry Bridie Stack 086 164 2373
Friday, October 22nd Brú Ború, Cashel, Co. Tipperary Box Office 062 Donnchadh Ó Cinnéide 087 254 7412
Saturday, October 23rd Clasac, Clontarf, Dublin 3 01 836 3060


The 2010 Tour will include the following talented traditional performers:

Name From Instrument
Róisín Ryan Ciarraí Bean a’Tí/Amhránaí
Ros Casserly Cill Mhantáin Rinceoir
Michael Curran Tír Eoghain Bosca Ceoil
Séamus Fay An Cabhán Amhránaí/Portaireacht
Fionn Morrison Baile Átha Cliath Píb Uilleann
Bernadette Nic Aoidh Muineachán Cruit
Audrey Murphy An Iarmhí Rinceoir
Avril Murphy An Iarmhí Rinceoir
Breda Shannon Ros Comáin Consairtín
Shauna Sweeney Muineachán Fidil
Killian Shannon An Clár Bainseó
Marie Walsh Gaillimh Bosca Ceoil
Maura Walsh Ciarraí Consairtín/Fidil
McElligotts Ciarraí Fuaim

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s