THE first ever Scoláireacht Éamoinn Ghráinne, a sean-nós singing scholarship in memory of the late Éamonn ‘Ghráinne’ Mac Ruairí of Tory island and Falcarragh, has being awarded to his daughter Patricia.
At a special ceremony at An tSean Bheairic in Falcarragh last weekend, the centre’s manager Helena Nic Laifeartaigh presented Patricia with the prestigious scholarship in front of a large crowd of local dignitaries and traditional artists and singers.
As part of the scholarship initiated by An tSean Bheairic, Patricia, a respected singer in her own right, will take up the position of sean-nós singer in residence in the arts and cultural venue over an eight-month period.
She will be tasked with developing and nurturing the rich sean-nós singing tradition of the area and delivering a comprehensive programme of sean-nós singing activities, with a particular focus on transmitting this ornate and beautiful tradition to the next generation.
Patricia Nic Ruairí said she hoped the award would allow her to develop the valuable tradition her father loved. She also said she would try and ensure the project would do justice to the memory of her father and to the as the rich musical legacy he left behind.
“Hopefully, we can play a small part in the regeneration of the sean-nós singing tradition in Cloughaneely, particularly amongst young people. My father always believed the tradition would stay alive and flourish if it was passed on to the younger generation,” she said.
Éamonn ‘Ghráinne’ Mac Ruairí was a highly-esteemed singer, musician and folklorist who is recognised internationally as one of the finest exponents of the rich musical and cultural heritage of Tory Island as well as being acknowledged as one of the masters of the Donegal sean-nós singing tradition.
Éamonn left an indelible mark on the singing tradition of the Donegal Gaeltacht and he greatly contributed to the strong sense of identity and historical continuity of the Tory Island community. His family is also steeped in that tradition and all three generations of the family has produced accomplished sean-nós singers.
An tSean Bheairic, with the support of Ealaín na Gaeltachta, felt it was important to remember Éamonn, to build on the legacy he left behind and to help promote the traditional arts in the region.
Micheál Mac Aoidh of Ealaín na Gaeltachta said: “It is a great honour to be able to offer this important scholarship and to honour the memory of one of the finest singers to come out of the Donegal Gaeltacht. It is also important that the traditional arts are fostered and developed in this area. This scholarship can play a small but important role in achieving that goal.”
One of Patricia’s first duties as the sean-nós signer in residence was to announce the launch of a programme of sean-nós singing classes for children between 7 and 12 years old. The classes commence in November and will run until April, 2014.
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