Small Towns Big Ideas Celebrates Bardic Tradition


As a part of Galway 2020’s Small Towns Big Ideas programme, a night of choral and traditional music, poetry and heritage will take place in Milltown this Friday (1 February) to celebrate its strong Bardic tradition.

In medieval Ireland, Milltown was home to the renowned Scoil Filíochta Ó hUiginn Bardic School, described in manuscripts as being one of the important educational institutions in the art of teaching young poets of that time.

The first in a series of cultural evenings throughout 2019, Ceall Cluaine Culture’s programme for the night will take place in Milltown Community Centre. It will include performances by Aoífe Blake on harp and local banjo and string player, D Flanagan, who will perform with his band, The Tribesmen. Poet and musician, Pete Mullineaux, who has given a number of workshops in primary schools, will perform his own poetry, while Galway City-based Cois Cladaigh will perform several pieces of poetry. The Young Bards of Bellmount and Milltown will also perform their piece Ode to Spring, which they created in workshops with Pete Mullineaux.


The place to be this Fri evening (Feb 1st) is Milltown Community Centre. Come along and celebrate Lá Fhéile Bhríde (St Brigid’s Day) for the Ceall Cluaine (Kilclooney) Culture event. This is the first in a series of cultural evenings during 2019, when the community of Milltown will present an evening of performances by local artists and friends. See poster for more details. All welcome.

Organised by The Milltown Heritage Group and the Milltown Community Development Group, the concept for the event was created to help reignite awareness in the community of Milltown’s rich bardic tradition. The Scoil Filíochta Ó hUiginn /Bardic School of The O’Higgins was a renowned school of poetry situated in Kilclooney in the parish of Milltown. The Bardic School functioned as a centre of learning from the 14th to 17th Centuries, with students attending during the winter months. They learned, by heart, the formation of various types of poems, their metre, spelling and all things to do with composition and writing ‘as Gaeilge’, and Latin.

The heritage group in Milltown has been working closely with Dr Liz Fitzpatrick, Professor of Archaeology at NUIG over the last year to enhance local awareness of the Bardic tradition. Dr Fitzpatrick, honorary Ollamh of the Bardic school, will attend the event on Friday.

Áine Ní Shioradáin of Ceall Cluaine Culture, says the aim of the project is to learn from our landscape. “Throughout this project, we endeavour to learn from our landscape of word, landscape of sound, landscape of heritage. We’re really looking forward to the first in our series of events which is another step on our journey of exploration into discovering our Bardic tradition – past and present. It’s been great fun and there’s a great sense of achievement to think that a small town can create such an event.”

“What better way to celebrate La Fheile Bride than with an event like Ceall Cluaine Culture with its fantastic night of music and poetry,” says Galway 2020’s Community Engagement co-ordinator, Nollaig McGuinness. “We are delighted to see our Small Towns Big Ideas programme continue to develop this year with events like this that showcase the richness of Galway’s heritage and culture,” he adds.

About Galway 2020 Small Towns Big Ideas

Ceall Cluaine Culture is just one of the 51 Small Towns Big Ideas projects currently being funded by Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture.

Small Towns Big Ideas, a Galway 2020 Flagship programme, celebrates Meitheal, the ancient Irish tradition of coming together for a common purpose, working together to ensure that all succeed in achieving a goal.

Small Towns Big Ideas was designed by Galway 2020 in response to the absolute need to recognise and celebrate diversity and richness of Galway, its places, its people and its rich culture in both urban and rural settings.

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