6th Summer School 2016
6th Annual Seosamh Mac Gabhann Summer School - 3rd to 8th July 2016
The 6th Annual Seosamh Mac Gabhann Summer School was a huge success. The week started on Sunday 3rd July with Aifreann Gaeilge in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Kilmovee with some lovely words of encouragement for the week from Fr. Vincent Sherlock. The choir was in full voice and there were some lovely tunes from local musicians with the Irish reading by Méabh Ní Chathasaigh to get the week of music, song, dance and Gaeilge started.
This was followed by our heritage tour visiting sites impacted by events post 1916 during the War of Independence and Civil War in Kilmovee Parish. It was a fascinating tour led by local historian James Reddiough and visited sites including Sraheens Barracks which was attacked in April 1921 and Derrylahan where an ambush took place in September 1922. The tour also visited the Yan Goulet Monument in Kilkelly where Paddy Joe Tighe sang The Ballad of Paddy Boland which tells the story of how Boland was cruelly murdered by the ‘Black and Tans’ during the War of Independence in 1921. James Reddiough recalled the cruelty of these dark times in the area as he outlined how each of the men commemorated on the monument was killed between 1918 and 1923.
James Reddiough speaking at the Yan Goulet Monument in Kilkelly
The final part of the tour covered events pre 1916 focusing on emigration from Urlaur after The Famine as captured in the Kilkelly Ireland song. Peter Nyland and Paul Phillips led this part of the tour and the first site visited was schoolteacher Pat McNamara’s house. He wrote letters on behalf of his neighbour Bryan Hunt to his son John who had emigrated to America and the song is based on these letters. The tour then moved on to Urlaur Community Centre where Peter Nyland had a copy of the letters on display and a copy of the Hunt Family History, courtesy of the South Mayo Family Research Centre. Paul Phillips sang each verse of the song and Peter explained the sad story of emigration behind the letters. The final site visited was Urlaur Abbey cemetery, where Paul sang a few verses of the song at Pat McNamara’s graveside.
The tour ended in the ‘Cois Tine’ Heritage Centre with a few tunes by local musicians and a few more songs from Paddy Joe Tighe. The visitors for the tour from Australia, USA, UK and Ireland enjoyed the music and song with cup of tea and some home baking courtesy of the ‘Cois Tine’ Heritage Committee. On display at this time was a Cumann na mBan exhibition provided by Mayo County Library.
Paddy Joe Tighe singing a song in ‘Cois Tine’ Heritage Centre, Kilmovee at the end of the Heritage Tour
Monday started with class registration in Kilmovee Community Centre with over 200 pupils registering for 24 different classes covering music, song, dance and Gaeilge. By 10am everyone had been allocated to their classes which were in Kilmovee Community Centre, the Kilmovee Family Resource Centre and a couple of local houses. The staff of the Community Centre and the Family Resource Centre with support from the Seosamh Mac Gabhann Summer School Committee and volunteers from the area helped ensure everything ran smoothly for the week. On Monday night the Official Opening took place, with music from John & Maggie Carty, Noel O’Grady and Francis Gaffney. This was followed by the ‘Cois Tine’ Heritage Night with local and visiting singers, dancers, musicians and storytellers ending a great day.
John & Maggie Carty with Noel O'Grady and Francis Gaffney at the Official Opening of The Seosamh Mac Gabhann Summer School
From Tuesday to Thursday, morning classes continued from 10am to 1pm each day with afternoon classes from 2pm to 5pm. Many pupils chose to attend a class in their favourite instrument in the morning, stay for lunch in the Community Centre and then attend a class in Sean Nós Dancing, Comhrá Gaeilge, Traditional Singing or a second instrument in the afternoon.
Morning Classes at the Summer School
Afternoon Classes at the Summer School
Sessions were held each night, starting with Duffy’s Four Ways in Kilmovee on Tuesday night, Shazzy Mac’s in Kilkelly on Wednesday night and The Brusna Inn in Brusna on Thursday night. The sessions were led by local musicians and tutors starting at 8pm each night with a slow session, followed by the full session at 9.30pm. The quality of music, song and dance in the sessions from the pupils was commented on by many parents who were delighted to see their children getting this opportunity to play with other musicians. It was clear that the impact of classes through the year followed by the annual Summer School had started to come through in the great music, song and dance that everyone attending the sessions were treated to each night.
Slow Session in Duffy's Four Ways, Kilmovee
Session in Shazzy Mac's, Kilkelly
Some young dancers at our Slow Session in The Brusna Inn
On Friday all of the focus was on the Closing Concert, which started after the classes at 7pm. Pupils and Tutors treated the packed hall to a wonderful night’s entertainment and again the standard of music, song, dance and Gaeilge on display was commented on by many people present. It brought to an end another great week in Kilmovee.
The week is only made possible by the work put in by the Seosamh Mac Gabhann Summer School Committee, the staff of the Kilmovee Community Centre and Family Resource Centre and Volunteers. Funding is also an essential element to keep the school going and this was secured with support of local politicians including Senator John O’Mahony, Councillors John Caulfield, Tom Connolly and Gerry Murray, Minister Michael Ring and Dara Calleary T.D. Sponsors for the week were The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Comhaltas, IMRO, Mayo County Council, IPB Insurance, Fáilte Ireland, Foras na Gaeilge and Music Generation. Thanks also to all the Local Sponsors who included Towey’s Topaz Ballaghaderreen, Kilmovee Bingo, Durkin’s Bar Restaurant & Accommodation, Brusna Inn, All Seasons Florists, Ballaghaderreen & District Credit Union, Imelda Towey, Brian Mulligan, Padraig Mulligan, Kelly TV & Electrical, Fiddler’s Elbow, Tarpey’s of Kilkelly and Rushe’s Shop, Kilmovee.
Some of the Staff from Kilmovee Community Centre who helped out during the week
Of course the week would not be possible without the top class tutors and most importantly our pupils who we look forward to welcoming back again next year at the 7th Seosamh Mac Gabhann Summer School which takes place in Kilmovee from July 2nd to July 7th 2017. Bígí linn!