Composer and choir director Peadar Ó Riada recognised with UCC accolade

Peadar Ó Riada was conferred with an honorary Masters of Music at UCC on Thursday. He is pictured here with Dr Jean van Sinderen-Law, Associate Vice President, UCC. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Concubhar Ó LiatháinCorkman

The Gaeltacht Mhúscraí composer and choir director Peadar Ó Riada has been conferred with an honorary Masters degree in music from UCC to honour his contribution to the Irish cultural landscape.

The award was conferred on the director of Cór Chúil Aodha, the renowned male voice choir, and its female counterpart, Cór Ban Chúil Aodha, at a ceremony in UCC on Thursday, almost 50 years after he received his primary degree from the same institution.  More than 1500 students were conferred with degrees at the university this week.

In 1971, following the death of his father, Mise Éire composer Seán Ó Riada, Peadar stepped in to play the harmonium and lead the choir of local male singers his father founded to sing the first Mass composed in a vernacular language, Irish rather than Latin, as a result of the relaxing of the rules by the Second Vatican Council.

He since founded the all female Cór Ban Chúil Aodha, a choir which is known for its stunning rendition of Peadar Ó Riada’s musical setting for one of Ireland’s most famous love poems, Caoineadh Art Uí Laoghaire.

He has released a number of solo recordings himself, including albums in which he featured along with renowned fiddlers Martin Hayes and Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, as well as a number of albums with singer Seán Ó Sé, a musician who often performed with Peadar’s father, Seán, in Ceoltóirí Chualann.

As well as pursuing other interests, Peadar is also the presenter and producer of a long running RTÉ Ráidió na Gaeltachta traditional music show, Cuireadh Chun Ceoil.  In this role he has set up the presitigious Bonn Ór Sheáin Uí Riada, a competition which attracts the best traditional musicians from throughout the world to contest for a significant prize fund as well as a gold medal dedicated to the memory of his father.

“We wished to recognise the significant role Peadar has played in Ireland's cultural landscape” stated Professor John O’Halloran, President of UCC “I also wish to congratulate all the parents and families, this is a very special day for so many and we extend a warm welcome to these newest members of our alumni family.”