The history of Newcastle CCÉ is extensively set out in the book we published in 2002. However it is worth registering some of the highlights here, as well as updating our achievements since 2002.
The origins of this branch of Comhaltas lie in the Mountains of Mourne Ballad and Music Festival that took place in Newcastle in the late 1960s, whose participants were also involved in sessions in Kitty Cowans pub at the Harbour. The first formal meeting of Comhaltas in the old Girls School on Newcastle’s Main St registered 22 members.
Subsequent venues included a spell of approximately five years based in the Newcastle Watch House. Things dwindled for a while after 1975 as younger musicians moved away to work and study, although there were great sessions during those years in the Arkeen Hotel. In the early 1980s Seán P. Mac Ruairí along with his brother Matt Rodgers and Matt’s wife Nancy spearheaded a rejuvenation which has endured since. A committee was elected and formal classes began at Carnacaville School in 1981. More recent venues have included Newcastle Parish Centre and Newcastle parochial house.
History will undoubtedly show that one of Newcastle CCÉs landmark achievements has been acquisition of our own premises in Dún Éigse since January 2008. We now have our own office, sound equipment and storage rooms, as well as excellent teaching and performance space which afford stunning views of the Mourne Mountains. The external gardens are tastefully landscaped and include a raised wooden platform with seating
area that is ideal for external functions.
ROLL OF HONOUR
Newcastle CCÉ All-Ireland Winners
1978 Thomas Poland – Banjo
1985 Kevin Cunnigham – Saw-playing
1988-91 Brendan Mullan, Damien Lavery & Damien Flynn – Warpipes
1995, 1997 Darragh Murphy – Uilleann pipes (12-15, 15-18)
1997 Michaél O’Gallchobair – Comhra Gaeilge (15-15)
2003, 2006 Sean O’Neill – Bodhrán (15-18, Over 18)
2001, 2004, 2005, 2008 Emer Walsh – Whistling (U12, 12-15, 15-18)
2008, 2009 Niall McCrickard – Bodhrán
2009 Terry Cowan – Newly composed English ballad
2017 Ruáirí Howell – Uilleann Pipes (15-18)
2019 Ruáirí Howell – Uilleann Pipes (Senior)
2022 Cathleen Garland -Ladies Singing (15-18)
2022 Terry Cowan – Newly composed English ballad