Borrisokane’s Keelan McGrath, described as “a powerhouse” on the accordion featured on the programme.

Local traditional music celebrated on TV

A celebration of the distinctive styles of the traditional music in North Tipperary were celebrated on national television on Sunday night last.

The TG4 programme, ‘Ceolaireacht’ (Musical Wanderings) also provided a showcase for some of the wonderful pubs of the district that have traditionally hosted trad’ sessions down the decades.

Presenter Doireann Ní Ghlacáin brought viewers on a musical journey from the shores of Lough Derg, to Nenagh and to the hills above Thurles as she cycled around the north of the county to talk and listen to musicians for the area who offered their interpretations of the distinctive qualities of the traditional music of the locality.

Starting out from the bridge at Ballina-Killaloe, the presenter went on to meet up with Borrisokane’s, Keelan McGrath, described as a “powerhouse” on the accordion, who treated viewers to a selection of tunes, including ‘The Boys of Youghalarra’. The footage also featured Dromineer, and Keelin teamed up with Caithlín McGrath, on flute, for another delightful tune.

The show also featured splendid scenes from Garrykennedy and with more interviews and performances. The setting for these was the award winning Larkin’s pub and restaurant and featured young local musicians, Mairead O’ Brien and Laoise  O’ Chinnéide. Later, the same idyllic pub was the setting for interviews and performances by local  family, the renowned Gerry ‘Banjo’ O’ Connor, his brother Michael and sister Ann Marie.

Their mother Dolly recounted attending many trad’ sessions hosted in Garrykennedy, a village described as “the hub” of traditional music in North Tipperary down through the decades.

Scenes from Nenagh, including Pearse Street, the Hibernian Inn and McQuaid’s music shop featured, and there was some lovely old footage screened of the late masters of the art, Paddy O’ Brien and Seán Ryan, whose music styles are the inspiration for many musicians in North Tipperary to this day.

There was a lovely scene from the Nenagh Heritage Centre where the Costelloe family performed and gave their interpretations of local styles.

Before the conclusion it was on to The Thatch in Ballycommon where Willie Fogarty gave his interpretation of distinctive local styles of playing. Willie then teamed up with other local musicians, Kathleen Costelloe, John Ryan, Jim Lawlor and Angela Hogan to play a few tunes.

The presenter, Doireann, also visited Upperchurch and the local renowned Jim O’ The Mills Pub where she interviewed the proprietor Jim Ryan and musician Cáith Ni Riain who both sang old local songs.


Doireann Ní Ghlacáin is determined to uncover emerging uncelebrated and styles around the country and this Sunday the programme features the distinctive styles found in Cork.

Directed by Feilimí O’Connor and produced by Edel Ní Churraoin, experience the best of music and song as Doireann Ní Ghlacáin leads this exciting new series of ‘Ceolaireacht’, which is screened on Sundays at 9.30pm.