Bryan takes his place among Ireland's finest

HIS every move is surrounded by music and friends - and very musical friends.

There was a great fáilte abhaile for Bryan O'Leary as he returned home with the TG4 Gradam Ceoil Ceoltóir Óg trophy on Sunday night week. It was quite a celebration with a wonderful, musical gathering at Browne's Bar here in Castleisland.

There was a surprise in the night as well. Bryan's da, Bertie, was quietly celebrating a birthday almost unknown to the packed pub. Then, a cake with candles flaming emerged from the kitchen with neighbour, Katie O'Sullivan behind it. You couldn't make it up. It was a case of Happy Birthday / Happy Bertie - and the band played on.

Then, on Easter Sunday night the televised version of the awards ceremony was broadcast on TG4 at 9.30pm. And there, Bryan O'Leary took his place amongst Ireland's finest.

For a young man who's studying music in college, his whole life before him, a massive pedigree behind him, good nature and charm to sell and a TG4 Gradam Ceoil award on the mantle at home in Toureencahill - that's not a bad start in life at all.

While taking it all in his stride, I don't know if he fully appreciates how delighted people are for him. I do know that he has added enormously to the legacy and the potency of the music and culture of the area we know as Sliabh Luachra. And he's only 20 years of age. For all those who couldn't get near enough to you to say so: Well Done Bryan.

This year's Gradam recipient list is as follows: Gradam Ceoil - Harry Bradley; Ceoltóir Óg (Young Musician) - Bryan O'Leary; Gradam Saoil (Hall of Fame) - Chris Droney; Gradam Comharcheoil TG4 (Musical Collaboration) - The Goodman Project; Amhránaí (Singer) - Nan Tom Taimín de Búrca; Gradam Comaoine TG4 (Special Contribution) - Mick Moloney. An independent panel of adjudicators selects recipients of the TG4 Gradam Ceoil each year. Each is presented with a specially-commissioned piece by sculptor John Coll as well as a stipend.

TG4 Deputy CEO Pádhraic Ó Ciardha says that the Gradam Ceoil is unique in honouring a wide array of major figures in Irish traditional music during their lifetime and away from the competition platform.

"We are delighted to organise, sponsor and broadcast this well-deserved recognition for extraordinary and talented artists who bring beauty to our lives with their music and are a source of pride to us all," he said.


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