Sunday 16 December 2018

Concert at O'Carolan Harp Festival

ONE of the highlights of the O'Carolan Harp and Traditional Music Festival which is being held over the August Bank Holiday Weekend is a concert to commemorate the late Peig Needham-McGrath (All-Ireland flute player) from Dundalk and formally from Derrycashel, Corrigeenroe.

This is the 10th anniversary of Peig's death and musicians from all over Ireland are coming to perform as a way of remembering the great musician.

Peig was a founder member of the Tain Ceili Band – All-Ireland winners on three occasions and, of course, was involved in the teaching of Irish music in and around Dundalk for a number of years.

Peig passed on the tradition to her family, her children are now regarded as some of Ireland's leading musicians and who will be appearing at the concert.

Peig lived with her husband (from Louisburgh) and four children in Dundalk. Before that she lived in Dublin and took part in many Comhaltas tours all over the world. She also appeared on television and could be heard on both local and national stations.

Peig and her friend Kathleen Smith recorded an album entitled 'Cherish the Ladies' which is still popular to this day.

Peggy McGrath as she was known earlier when she lived in Corrigeenroe, started playing music at the age of 7 where her teacher in Corrigeenroe National School, Mrs. Bridie Doyle formed a Tin Whistle band.

Two of Peig's family, Hughie and Briege also played. Their parents, Tom and Margaret who played the Melodeon, encouraged them to continue the music and with the help of their cousin, Michael Joe Brady, who played the fiddle, peig and Hughie moved on to play the concert flute and Briege played the accordion.

Soon afterwards the Moonlight Ceili Band was formed and this involved playing at concerts and ceilis throughout the country. Sometime later Peig joined the Coleman Country Ceili Band from Gurteen before moving to Dublin.

Josie McDermott and Peig were friends for many years and Josie dedicated the first tune he composed to her – 'Peig McGrath's Reel'.

Artists appearing at the concert include John Regan, Liam Purcell, the Needham family, Moonlight Ceili Band, Patsy and Pauline Hanley, Peter Horan, P.J. Hernon, Hughie McGrath, Briege Duffy-McGrath, Padraig Donlon, Kathleen Smith, Michael McNamara, Cathy Martin, Ann Marie Benson, Maria Daly and Paddy Ryan as M.C. The concert starts at 9.00pm.