Wednesday 16 October 2019

Máire to bid farewell to Corn Uí Riada after final celebration at Daonscoil

Concubhar Ó Liatháin

As her reign comes to an end, Corn Uí Riada winner Máire Ní Chéilleachair will be the guest of honour at the annual Daonscoil gathering on the banks of the lake in Gúgán Barra this weekend.

The Cill na Martra born sean nós singer won the blue riband of traditional singing at the Irish language Oireachtas festival last year, after finishing in second place a record seven times previously. 

The past few years have been hectic for Máire as the long awaited Corn Uí Riada victory came in a year she also was awarded the prestigious TG4 Gradam for best singer. 

Her triumph at the Oireachtas final in Killarney was the third win by a Múscraí singer since 2014. Two people to whom she had taught sean nós singing, Conchubhar Ó Luasa (2017) and Nell Ní Chróinín (2014), had won it before her. 

Máire is thrilled that the organisers of the Daonscoil are honouring her win at Friday night's event. 

"It's really nice to get the recognition from your own and it's nice to see the Corn/Cup being honoured in this way," she said. 

"It's been a hectic year for me as winning Corn Uí Riada does open doors - I'm not long back from Milwaukee where I took part in the Irish Fest there, for instance."

She's looking forward to Friday night's event and has promised that she will bring Corn Uí Riada on one of its last excursions in her company before it has to be returned to the Oireachtas in time for this year's festival in Dublin during the mid-term break.

"I have to return it in a fortnight but I will definitely bring it to the Daonscoil - I've gone there for several years," she said, admitting that she would be sad to part with the historic trophy, named after Seán Ó Riada, the composer of Mise Éire who spent the last years of his life in Cúil Aodha. 

The celebratory event for Máire will be preceded by the official opening in the Gugán Barra Hotel which will be the duty of Seán Óg Ó Duinnín, Scoil Mhuire principal and a talented musician and storyteller. 

It will be an early start on Saturday morning as UCC lecturer Seán Ó Laoi gives an account of the history of the Irish language movement in Cork at 10.30 before an afternoon workshop in the composition and performance of agallaimh beirte/luibíní by multiple Oireachtas award winners, Seán Ó Muimhneacháin and Seosamh Ó Críodáin.  

That evening, after 6pm festival Mass in St Fionbarr's Oratory, Éamon Ó Broithe will give a lecture aimed at explaining to people what 'sean nós' is, a lecture which will be followed by a scoraíocht hosted by another of Múscraí's array of exceptional sean nós singers, Eibhlís Uí Thuama of Béal Átha'n Ghaorthaidh. 

The wealth of the Irish language in Múscraí will be the subject of Sunday morning's workshop led by former teacher Domhnall Ó Loingsigh and the formal events will conclude with another session of Múscraí sean nós songs.

Festival goers from throughout Ireland have already signed up to attend the Daonscoil and organisers are confident that the weekend will be successful.

Further information about the weekend event, which received assistance from Comharchumann Forbartha Mhúscraím can be got by contacting festival organisers Seosamh Ó Criodáin,