Monday 19 November 2018

Marcus honoured with Chief Bard of Irish music

Marcus O Murchu
Marcus O Murchu

A MUSICIAN with close Sligo connections has been declared the Chief Bard of Irish Music.

Next August 15th, Marcas O Murchu, will receive the accolade at a gala dinner in the Everglades Hotel in Derry.

It is Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann's highest recognition for his work as a teacher, historian, folklorist and broadcaster.

The event is expected to attended by ministers from Dublin and Belfast as well as many members and followers of Comhaltas.

For over 30 years, the Belfast native now living in Derry has been tirelessly preserving and promoting the best traditions of Ireland.

He has produced and presented BBC, RTE and RnaG programmes since he was in his twenties.

Not widely known is that he recently donated his personal collection of over 700 hours of performances and interviews to the Irish Traditional Music Archive in Dublin.

Comhaltas 'Treoir' magazine said "for style and repertoire Marcas has few equals."

He has particular interest in the Sligo and other Connaught emigrants to USA.

Marcas told The Sligo Champion: "I am delighted to receive this honour as much for myself as on behalf of all the Sligo and other musicians who gave me so much so generously."

Marcas received a crystal plaque for promoting Sligo music from Sligo Comhaltas in Ballintogher in 2001 .

He was guest of Sligo band Téada at their-10 year commemoration in Tubbercurry.

Marcas and Oisin MacDiarmada (Téada's all Ireland champion fiddler from Coolaney) and a host of other musicians and dancers will play in the Methodist Hall, Carlisle Road, Derry on Friday 16 August 16th at 8pm

Marcas' own family are Connaught people, through his mother, Nóra McDermottroe, born to Roscommon-Sligo emigrants in Belfast in 1925.

Marcas is a descendant of the princely McDermottroe family.

The famed Turlough O'Carolan, last of our musical Bards (1670-1738) was reared in Ballyfarnan and buried with his patrons, the McDermottroe family in the family plot in Kilronan cemetery, Ballyfarnan.

His grandmother Brigid nee McPartland McDermottroe (1890-1964) was also born in Ballyfarnan. She was the daughter of Pat McPartland (1857-1906), a renowned sean-nós dancer after whom a trophy is named, in Keadue.

She was an aunt to Sligo flute player Josie McDermott.

Marcas' father Alf who has Leitrim roots in Rossinver was the sean-nós Oireachtas first prizewinner in Irish singing in 1960.

Sligo Champion