There was a tremendous turnout in the Seven Oaks Hotel on Saturday 10th March for the Pan Celtic national song contest where eighteen original songs went head to head for the top prize of €1,000 and the honour of representing Ireland in the International Contest in Letterkenny in April. Galway based musicians Pádraic Seoighe and Niall Teague scooped the top prize with their song ‘Ar Saoire’.
The 18 finalists from across the country, including two from Carlow, performed live before an audience of more than 300 and the judging panel of Alan Swan, Head of Music with RTÉ 2fm, Rossa Ó Snodaigh of Kíla fame and well known local musician Pádraigín Caesar.
Musical director for the contest was Ollie Hennessy while the Pan Celtic House Band featuring Ollie on piano and keyboard, Aoife Kavanagh on fiddle and Tom McDermott on drums provided accompaniment for many of the compositions.
Local musician and singer Eric Butler was guest performer for the evening while local rapper Jahk O’ Connaith also entertained the crowd with his song ‘Gan Dídean’. Main sponsor of the gala event was IMRO and the winning composers were presented with the national trophy and a cheque for €1,000. Gael Linn and Glór Cheatharlach sponsored the runners up prizes.
The judges were extremely impressed by the high standard of the entries and were visibly moved by the professional delivery of all finalists.
Having listened to all 18 songs and marked each performance under the agreed criteria the marks were finally totted up and the winners announced. A big cheer went up when it was announced that 3rd place would be shared by Áine Durkin for her song ‘Grá faoi Bhláth’ which was performed by local singer Lisa De Buitléar and the group Blind Poets from Cork with their song ‘Farraigí Garbha’ . Pádraic Jack from the Aran Islands was thrilled to be placed second with his song ‘I bhfostú sa bhFiántais while the top prize of €1,000 and the Pan Celtic trophy went to Pádraic Seoighe and Niall Teague from Galway for their composition ‘Ar Saoire’ which is based around the refugee crisis. Pádraic and Niall will now look forward to a trip to Letterkenny over the Easter break where they will represent Ireland at the Pan Celtic International Song Contest competing against the entries from the other participating Celtic nations of Wales, Scotland, Brittany, Cornwall and The Isle of Man.