Rúairí lifts senior uilleann pipe title

Rúairí lifts senior uilleann pipe title

21 August 2019

A CASTLEWELLAN teenager piped his way to become senior uilleann pipe champion at the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil held in Drogheda at the weekend. 

Nineteen year-old Rúairí Howell clinched first place fresh from his win at the Ulster Championships held in Castlewellan last month. 

Ruairi’s mother is Sinn Féin councillor for Slieve Croob, Róisín Howell who tweeted she was a “proud mummy”. 

Rúairí, a member of Newcastle Comhaltus Ceoltoiri Éireann (CCE), is following in the footsteps of the uilleann piping greats such as Paddy Maloney and Willy Clancy. 

Over half a million visitors thronged to Drogheda and were treated to some of Ireland’s most talented musicians including Nathan Carter, Damien Dempsey, Horslips and Stockton’s Wing.

Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann spokesperson Lauren Freir congratulated Rúairí on his win. She said: “It was an exciting week of competitions, concerts, céilithe, sessions and more over last weekend and we are delighted at the success of all our competitors including Rúairí. 

“Over half a million people thronged the streets of Drogheda over the eight days of the Fleadh, while tens of thousands of people attended the special opening by President Michael D Higgins.”

She added: “The town pulsed with rhythm as age-old traditions were celebrated by new generations and the vibrancy of the Fleadh rung throughout the streets.

 “This is the second year in succession that Drogheda hosted the All-Ireland Fleadh. Next year it will be moving to Mullingar. Every year, the Fleadh provides a meeting place for those who carry the great traditions of Irish music, song and dance in their hearts.”

Lolo Robinson, chairperson of the Fleadh executive committee said: “What a wonderful week at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. 

“It has been a pleasure to host the Fleadh for the last two years. Memories have been made that will last a lifetime and the legacy of the Fleadh is traditional Irish music, song and dance will continue for generations to come.”

Lolo added: “We would like to wish the organisers of the 2020 Fleadh in Mullingar every success and look forward to joining them” 

Dr Labhrás Ó’Murchú, Ardstiúrthóir, Comhaltas Ceoltóiri Éireann said: “‘When Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann commenced in 1951 it was obviously a very small event.

“In the years that followed, the Fleadh has grown to be a global festival. It emphasises how our childhood traditions have been nurtured and today play a significant role in tourism with over a quarter of the half million visitors coming from outside Ireland.”

He added: “At the core of the Fleadh are the competitions that see traditional musicians, dancers, singers and story tellers of all ages and backgrounds competing at All-Ireland level, following victories at regional competitions. 

“This year over 7,000 competitors played, sang or danced for All-Ireland titles in 180 competitions.

“The standard was high and the music more than lived up to the expectations of judges who had a very difficult job choosing winners for each category and competition.”