Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, Mid-Atlantic Region

ECHOES OF ERIN 2015 by midatlanticcce
October 12, 2015, 10:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


October 22th – November 1

ECHOES OF ERIN, the 43rdth Annual Concert Tour of North America will be from Oct. 22 to Nov. 1, 2015. This year’s Tour is sponsored by Tourism Ireland, Culture Ireland and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Ireland and features 14 artists many of whom are All-Ireland champions.

Each year the Comhaltas concert tours of Ireland- Macalla na hÉireann and Britain and North America – Echoes of Erin- bring over two hours of the best of traditional entertainment to a wide range of venues and a wider range of audiences providing an insight into our authentic Irish cultural heritage. These concerts illustrate the scope of the various art forms- all aspects of solo and group instrumental music, songs in the Irish language (as Gaeilge) and traditional ballads in English, various forms of traditional dancing and the art of storytelling and recitation. They also provide traditional artists with an opportunity to enhance their performance and recording skills at the highest level and also with the experience of playing the role of as cultural ambassadors abroad.

Further details will be available at the website detailing information on the performers selected from all over Ireland. For more info contact Paul Keating, North American Public Relations Officer: Phone 201-965-6598 email

The venues for the 2015 Tour are:

  • Friday, Oct. 23 at 8 pm
    St. Barnabas School
    Woodlawn, New York Bronx/Yonkers
    Phone 914-713-4262
  • Saturday, Oct. 24 at 7:30 pm
    Cedar Lane U.U. Church
    9601 Cedar Lane
    Bethesda, Maryland
    Phone 301-960-3655 or
  • Sunday, Oct. 25 at 4 pm
    The Grand Opera House
    818 North Market Street
    Wilmington, Delaware
    Box Office phone 302-652-5577
    DV Branch Contact phone: 856-795-5094
  • Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 7:30 pm
    Mineola Irish American Center
    297 Willis Avenue
    Mineola, New York
    Phone 631-698-3305
  • Wednesday, Oct. 28 at 7:30 pm
    Middletown Arts Center
    36 Church Street
    Middletown, New Jersey
    Tickets at
    Info Phone 732-915-2191
  • Friday, Oct. 30 at 8 pm
    Pearl River High School
    275 East Central Avenue
    Pearl River, New York
    Phone 201-705-8948 or 201-965-6598
  • Saturday, Oct. 31 at 8 pm
    Shamrock House
    2388 State Route 145
    East Durham, New York (Catskills)
    Guaranteed Irish Shop
    Shamrock House 518-634-2897
  • Sunday, Nov.1 at 4 pm
    Gaelic American Club
    72 Beach Road
    Fairfield, Connecticut
    Info at 917-886-3368

Tour of North America 2015 Artist Biographical details

  • Orla Brannigan has been dancing all her life as her mother, Lolo Robinson, is an Irish Dancing teacher. Orla is a champion Irish dancer and has been participating in feiseanna since she was four. She has won numerous prizes at Ulster, All Ireland and World Championships. She has also competed in Fleadhanna Cheoil in flute, whistle and Comhrá Gaeilge. She was a member of the winning Senior Ladies 4 Hand Céilí Dancing team at the Leinster Fleadh.
    From the age of five, Orla has been a member of Drogheda Comhaltas. She has performed with them in France, Holland, Spain and Scotland, and helps entertain foreign visitors on CIE Tours weekly. She is also a member of Brú na Bóinne and has represented Ireland at various International Festivals throughout Europe in places such as Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, Germany, Majorca, Romania, Belgium, Sardinia,etc., and has appeared on Glas Vegas and An Jig Gig on TG4. Orla plays flute and whistle. She holds a B.A. in Irish and Music from UCD and is currently a working on master’s degree in Primary Education. She was recently elected as Óg Bhaill on the Ard Chomhairle of Comhaltas.
  • Dic Béimis, or Richard Beamish as his parents would prefer call him, hails from Ardfield/Rathbarry near Clonakilty, west Cork and has lived in Ballincollig, near Cork city for many years where he and his wife Marie are active members of Comhaltas. There he helps with singing sessions and Sean Nós dancing; and they both attend the very successful Set Dancing group each week. This is Dic’s third Tour of North America, his two previous having been to Canada. He has toured Ireland and Britain a number of times with this and other Comhaltas groups. He describes himself as an enthusiast for all forms of dancing, especially Sean Nós, Set and Céilí; an occasional scribbler of verse; a moderate singer and story teller, and a lover of poetry. He delights in the company of all the great performers on Comhaltas tours.
  • Hannah Collins is from Skibbereen in West Cork and is a member of the Skibbereen CCÉ branch of Comhaltas. She holds multiple All-Ireland piano titles. A member of the Ilen Ceilí Band and various other branch under-age groups and bands, she is a regular performer with Seisiún in Skibbereen and with the three times All-Ireland winning Skibbereen CCÉ’s Pléaracha na nÓg show. Hannah has just recently toured Ireland and Britain with Comhaltas. Also an accomplished classical musician, she has complete Grade 8 on piano. Hannah was one of the first recipients of the Mícheal Ó hEidhin award for achieving four distinctions in her Senior 4 examination in 2014. She was also awarded the ‘Music in the Community Award’ by the Cork County School of Music for her contribution to music in her local area in 2014. Hannah also plays button accordion and more recently the harp.
  • Sorcha Costello has been influenced from a young age by her mother, Mary MacNamara, who taught her the fiddle at the age of four in the East Clare style. Other influences are Martin Hayes (also East Clare style), Gerry O’Connor from Dundalk and musicians such as Catherine and John McEvoy who often played music with my mother. Sorcha’s first solo performance on stage was at the age of eight on the Shetland Islands as part of a cultural school exchange. She travelled and played on stage with her mother to many places, ranging from Shetland to Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. Performances such as these gave her a great understanding and love for performance. In 2007 at the age of eleven Sorcha won the U-12 All-Ireland fiddle competition and thus got the opportunity to perform on stages such as Glór in Ennis Co Clare. Other All-Ireland Fleadh achievements include, 3rd in duet U-12 in 2007, 1st in U-15 Céilí Band in 2010, 1st in U-18 duet and 2nd in U-18 fiddle in 2013. In 2011 Sorcha travelled to Oslo in Norway with a group of musicians from her mother’s music school. This was another cultural exchange with similarly aged musicians from Norway, a fantastic experience that involved solo and group performances in music, song and dance. Sorcha is a classically trained pianist and saxophonist, and plays traditional Irish music along with other genres of music on both instruments.
  • Joe Connaire, whose music has been influenced by Tom Cussen, Helen Comerford and Colin Nea, plays both banjo and mandolin. He has played with the Glenside Céilí Band for approximately eight years and with numerous traditional and folk groups in the midlands. He performs in a traditional folk group every week and is highly involved with the Comhaltas group in Ballynacargy, Co. Westmeath that perform at many functions. Joe has also participated in County, Provincial and All-Ireland Fleadhanna, a well-known teacher and adjudicator. Joe is well known as a great ‘session musician’ wherever he goes- ensuring that all involved enjoy the tune.
  • Michael Curran is a button accordion player from Fivemiletown, Co. Tyrone. He has won numerous accolades at provincial and national level, most recently winning the highly coveted Senior All Ireland Button Accordion title at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2014 in Sligo. He is no stranger to Comhaltas tours, having completed Tours of Ireland in 2010 and Britain in 2011. With a unique and personal Ulster style of playing, Michael is frequently sought after for sessions, concerts and workshops throughout the country, and has travelled and performed extensively in many places around Europe and America. In recent years he has supported many of the top traditional bands at concerts and festivals nationally, and can be found regularly at many of the main Trad and Arts festivals in the country. Michael has many numerous musical influences and credits the renowned Cavan button accordion player Martin Donohoe as a close mentor throughout his musical career. He has many favorite musicians of various instruments but cites Finbarr Dwyer, Joe Cooley and Billy McComiskey among his preferred accordion players. Away from music, Michael is currently studying for a PhD in Construction Project Management at Queen’s University Belfast, having already obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and a Master’s degree in Construction Project Management, also at Queen’s.’
  • Conor Mallon plays Uilleann Pipes, Whistles and Flute. His playing has been influenced by Padraig McGovern, Mikie Smyth and Mick O’Brien, and he is the recent winner of the ACNI/BBC NI Young Traditional Musicians Platform award. He is Senior County, Ulster and All-Ireland Champion on Uilleann Pipes in Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann and has won many other awards including the Uilleann Piping Scholarship from the Na Píobairí Uilleann Dublin in 2008, and was the first recipient of the Mark Donnelly Bursary for Uilleann Piping Award in 2010. He has been a guest musician with the Ulster Orchestra and with the award winning Foden’s Brass Band and has performed at many festivals in Ireland, Europe and the USA including the William Kennedy Piping festival, Piping Live in Glasgow, the Milwaukee Irish Fest and has toured extensively with Comhaltas. He has also performed for a number Radio shows, TV programs for RTÉ, TG4 and the BBC.
  • Clara Mannion Clara hails from Knockenpower, Colligan ,Dungarvan in Waterford and is a member of Craobh na gComarach CCÉ. The 2013 All-Ireland U18 concertina and 2014 U18 Duets and Trios title-holder, Clara cites her father as a primary influence in her continued musical development. She has performed as a soloist and with groups in the National Concert Hall, The Guild Hall in Derry, in the Irish World Academy of Irish Music and Dance and at Corofin Trad Fest. Her media performances include that on The Late Late Toy Show and other TG4 programmes and many broadcasts for Raidió na Gaeltachta with Neansaí Ní Choisdealbha. She performed Ceolta Sí group in Luxembourg and France and toured Ireland, Britain and Canada previously with Comhaltas. Clara, is the 2015 All-Ireland Senior Concertina Prize-winner continues to play at various traditional sessions with her family.
    Mark Nestor, a native of Ennis , county Clare has been dancing from a very young age. Mark has competed at Munster, All-Ireland and World championships over the years. Mark also Performs with the Brú Ború group in their cultural centre in Cashel. He most recently performed with the group at world Expo in Milan for president Michael D. Higgins. Mark is on the Ennis leadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2016 Committee.
  • Éadaoin Ní Mhaicín comes from a strong musical lineage in Balla, Co. Mayo. She has played music, both traditional and classical, from a very young age. She is a multi -instrumentalist and has achieved All-Ireland titles at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann over many years in fiddle, harp, piano, viola and lilting. In 2014 she was the first ever Irish winner of the Trophee Des Harpes Camac at the Festival Interceltique de l’Orient in Brittany France. She also had the honour of performing in Dublin for the Irish E.U. Presidency of the European Union as an Ambassador for young Irish Musicians. An accomplished classical violinist who has received a High Achiever’s Award from the R.I.A.M, Éadaoin tutors at a number of Summer Schools including Festival Interceltique de l’Orient in Brittany France, the Joe Mooney Summer School in Drumshambo and South Sligo Summer School. Éadaoin toured Ireland with Comhaltas’ Macalla na hÉireann in 2014 and was a member of the Echoes of Erin tour of Britain in Spring 2015. She toured Ireland in the Spring of 2014 as part of The National Folk Orchestra of Ireland with the Boróimhe Suite and the De Ceullar Suite. Éadaoin has performed with the National Harp Orchestra of Ireland and the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland. Éadaoin was the winner of the National Youth Awards and was crowned ‘National Hostess of the Year’ in 2012. A fluent Irish speaker, she gained All-Ireland honours at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann and Oireachtas na Gaeilge. She is a 3rd Year student in St.Patrick’s College of Education in Dublin. Éadaoin was a multi-prize winner at the All Ireland Fleadh 2015.
  • Elle Marie O’ Dwyer learned her singing from Deirdre Scanlon of Monagea in Limerick. In later years, Lena Bean Uí Shé of Cork city was her tutor and greatly influenced her style of singing and repertoire of songs. Con Herbert, former principal of Freemount National School which she attended, was always a huge support to her. Elle Marie has won All-Irelands at U-18 and Senior level in Fleadhanna Cheoil, has an All-Ireland medal in Amhránaíocht Aonair at Scór Sinsear, and in July 2014 was awarded the Comhaltas Gradam Seirbhíse. She has toured Ireland, Britain, Canada and North America with Comhaltas, toured Britain as singer with ‘The Irish Rambling House’, and has performed some of my her own concerts locally to packed houses each time. A former member of the renowned Brú Ború group in Cashel, Tipperary, Elle Marie has performed on RTE National Television and Radio shows on numerous occasions, has done support for The High Kings and also performed during ‘The Steeple Session’ series of concerts in Dublin. She has sung Amhrán na bhFiann in Croke Park, and sang for former president, Mary McAleese in Áras an Uachtarán. She has also released two solo albums- ‘Where the Allow Waters Flow’ in 2012 and ‘A Roving Heart in 2014.
  • Cein Sweeney is the current Senor All-Ireland Flute Champion. His main musical influencs include P.J. Flood, James McGovern, Sean Gilraine, local musicians around Killeshandra, and his own family and friends, has performed in sessions all over the country. He has played at the Eistonfod in Wales with the Loughgiel Set Dancers, and teaches music to children throughout the West Cavan area. He also plays Gaelic football with Killeshandra League.
  • Alannah Thornburgh, who plays tin whistle, fiddle, harp and piano, has found her main musical influences in her father, Rob Thornburgh, and Grainne Hambly. Rob, a fiddle player born and raised in America, introduced her to the world of Irish music at the age of five, and Grainne began teaching her the harp at the age of eleven.
    She has won numerous All-Ireland Fleadh prizes on harp, piano and accompaniment and is a member of the All-Ireland Fleadh winning céilií band, Tiarna Mhaigh Eo. She is currently an undergraduate student of Music and English in Maynooth University and recently won the Music Class Prize for obtaining the best exam results in her class. Alannah has recently completed a diploma in piano teaching studies with the Victoria College of Music in London, achieving a distinction award. She has taught traditional music and performed at many music festivals including Termonfeckin Harp School, Seosamh MacGabhann Summer School and Westport Scoil Cheoil and teaches regularly in her Comhaltas branch in Swinford, Michael Davitt CCÉ. Alannah (who with the rest of her family is an American citizen) has performed in America on previous occasions with her family – in Florida, Georgia, Washington, Virginia and in March 2013 she performed in Dublin Castle for the Irish Presidency of the European Union as an Ambassador for Young Irish Musicians. She has also toured Ireland and Britain with Ceoltóirí Comhaltas Éireann in 2014 and 2015.
  • Joe Arkins Former Mayor of Co. Clare Joe Arkins lives in the Ruan on the outskirts of Ennis. Joe is a regular in Clare’s singers circle and sings traditional Irish ballads and folk songs as well as story telling and recitation. He has also composed a number of humorous and satirical ballads and parodies. Joe has toured on five occasions with Comhaltas Concert Tours of Ireland Britain and North America. He has also toured Britain with the Irish Rambling House and in Germany with Ennis Singers Club and with his local Comhaltas Group. Throughout the Summer he acts as Fear a’Tí (emcee) in Cois na hAbhna Ennis, and Corofin Teach Ceoil entertaining audiences in the Seisiún Joe is actively involved in the preparations for Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann which is to take place in his home town of Ennis in 2016.
  • Aaron Brady is a highly talented singer and percussionist. Aaron is from Dublin and has toured with many Comhaltas units in the past.

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