TG4 Gradam Ceoil to Feature Weekend of Fringe Events in Belfast

The late writer and flute-player Ciaran Carson – a tribute will take place as part of the TG4 Gradam Ceoil events.

TG4 Gradam Ceoil to Feature Weekend of Fringe Events in Belfast

Events from 20–23 February will include a tribute to the late Ciaran Carson.

This year’s TG4 Gradam Ceoil takes place in Belfast next weekend and will feature four days of fringe events as well as the awards ceremony (23 Feb., Waterfront Hall). From Friday 20 to 23 February, a series of talks, pop-up events and performances will take place in various venues across Belfast, all of which are free of charge. 

The first of the fringe events is on Thursday 20 February and will explore contemporary Irish harp accompaniments to Gaelic bardic poetry with performances by harper Lauren O’Neill, the Sunflower Folk Club and singer Pete Mullin. On Friday, Nigel Boullier, author of Handed Down: Country Fiddling and Dancing in East and Central Down, will host a lecture on traditional fiddle playing and dance music in County Down at the Linenhall Library. Boullier will discuss how the music and culture have been influenced by both its nationalist and unionist communities. Fiddle player Geordie McAdam will accompany. 

Later that evening in Cumann Cultúrtha Mhic Reachtain there will be a sean-nós singing and dancing event featuring  the 2019 Corn Uí Riada winner Máire Ní Choilm, 2019 Steip winner Ruadhán Ó Flatharta, Máire Ní Chéilleachair, Róisín Elsafty, Joe Ó Dónaill and more. 

On Saturday 22 February, a workshop on self-expression through music will be held for children aged two to ten at Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich. Musician and music therapist Josie Nugent will lead the workshop, which aims to build self-esteem and confidence for the participants by encouraging them to self-express through music and realise that their voices are important and acknowledged. Parents are also welcome to partake in the event. 

Throughout the series of fringe events, there will also be performances by Scad the Beggars, the six-piece folk group from North Antrim (22 February); Bene & Cormac, the duo of fiddle player Benedict Morris from Glasgow and guitarist Cormac Crummey from Belfast (22 February); guided walking music trail across the city (22 February), and an evening of flute music in honour of the late flute player Ciaran Carson, with performances by Harry Bradley Catherine McEvoy, Davey Maguire and Brendan O’Hare (22 February). 

There will also be a bilingual bus tour of East Belfast, highlighting its Irish place names and history (23 February), a performance by Gradam Ceoil recipient Ned Kelly’s ensemble, the In Tune for Life Orchestra, and bagpipe ensemble Kask (23 February). 

Gradam Ceoil 2020
The Gradam Ceoil, which is now in its 23rd year, is the annual awards ceremony hosted by TG4 in recognition of outstanding achievements in, and contributions to, Irish traditional music. The recipients this year are harper Laoise Kelly, traditional cello player Sharon Howley, sean-nós singer Lillis Ó Laoire, composer and multi-instrumentalist Josephine Marsh, button accordionist Ned Kelly and fiddle player and educator Seamus Connolly. 

The gala awards ceremony, which will be broadcast live on TG4 from the Waterfront, will feature performances from the six award recipients and a selection of musical guests, including the Kilfenora Ceili Band. 

See the full fringe programme below. For further information and tickets for the Gradam Ceoil 2020, visit

Published on 14 February 2020

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