Shandrum Céilí Band
Performs Friday 7:00-8:00pm, Saturday 2:15-3:15pm, & Sunday 2:15-3:15pm
On August 20th 2017, The Shandrum Céilí Band became one of only a handful of céilí bands in the long history of the coveted Senior Céilí Band competition to achieve the elusive “3-in-a-row”. Thereby, entering the history books to stand alongside legendary bands such as The Kilfenora, The Siamsa, The Ormond, The Ennis, The Táin and The Naomh Padráig Céilí Bands.
The journey began in 2015 in the Knocknaree Arena in Sligo where the Shandrum Céilí Band performed before a full house for the prestigious All Ireland Senior Céilí Band Competition. That same evening before an enthusiastic and engaged audience and to the delight of their many supporters the band was crowned All-Ireland Champions, a feat achieved only by the rare few in their debut year. The Shandrum became only the third Céilí Band from Cork in the history of the competition to win the title. Incidentally, all three Cork winning bands hail from the same Comhaltas Branch, Craobh Chrónáin in Freemount, North County Cork.
To celebrate this outstanding achievement the band were whisked straight to the Riverside Hotel in Sligo to perform for the live television broadcast “Fleadh TV” airing on TG4. This was followed by a performance on the Fleadh Gig Rig for the official closing of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2015 where thousands of spectators packed the square to get a glimpse of the newly crowned champions. The week after the All-Ireland the band held a homecoming in Charleville, Co. Cork where they performed to an audience of over 900 people, including many well-known and local musicians. Later in the month of September, the band were honoured to receive a presentation from the Mayor of Cork in Cork City Hall.
2016 marked the Centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising, this was to become a busy year for The Shandrum. Commemorations and celebrations were held countrywide to pay homage and honor to those involved in the Rising. In March 2016 the band received an invitation to perform a concert at Áras an Uachtaráin as part of the official St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. On the 17th of March, the band accompanied by a team of dancers travelled to Dublin to perform for President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina. The president and his wife held an official state reception after the performance to honour those present, which the band attended. In April 2016, The Shandrum were delighted to receive an invitation to perform at Dublin Castle for the Official State Commemoration of the 1916 rising. The evening of the State Parade in Dublin, the Shandrum performed in the State Reception Room of Dublin Castle. In attendance, was an audience of dignitaries from across the world, relatives of those involved in The Rising and once more President Higgins and his wife Sabina. 2016 saw Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireannn move to Ennis, where The Shandrum were to taste victory for a second time; successfully defending their title in front of more than 2000 spectators. This same year the band embarked on a new project, the recording of their debut album “The Dawn”. “The Dawn” was launched on Saturday 6th of May 2017 in the bands native North Cork to great critical acclaim.
It was a return to Ennis for Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireannn in 2017 and it was here The Shandrum entered the history books, Ennis has always been regarded as a second home for the band. It was in Ennis they played their first engagement in December 2014, the Annual Christmas Céilí in Cois na hAbhana; to a capacity crowd. On the Sunday evening of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireannn 2017, the band took to the stage of the Dome to achieve the elusive “3 in a row”. On this night, the Shandrum Céilí band not only achieved the impossible but a dream, winning for the third successive year. The band was greeted by thousands of well-wishers and music fans at the gig rig located in the main square, Ennis. The bands Gig Rig performance would not only officially close Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireannn in 2017 but also end the Ennis tenure of the Fleadh, a special moment that will live forever in the memories of the members of The Shandrum.
Each of these achievements and accolades has become the stuff of legends since the formation of the band in December 2014. The band is now, more so than ever in demand across the country and abroad to perform music for dances, concerts and céilithe; much like the old Shandrum band in their heyday.
It has been more than a privilege for the band to record this album of local tunes. Especially those, which would have made up the repertoire of many of our ancestors. The tunes featured on this album would have been staples of the repertoire of the old Shandrum Céilí Band, continuing the link between past and present thus; ensuring these wonderful and brilliant tunes are reintroduced and retained not only in the local repertoire but musical repertoires country and even worldwide.
We hope you enjoy listening and dancing to these tunes as much as we enjoy playing them!
Alan Finn, the band’s leader, is an Accordion and Fiddle player from Buttevant, Co. Cork. He began playing music at the age of five, learning from his cousin Maggie McCarty, and from very early on, attended local music sessions in the North Cork area. He has many All-Ireland titles to his name, not only as leader of the Awbeg and Shandrum Céilí Bands, but also in solo, duet and trio competitions. Alan has been awarded the prestigious Micheál O’hÉidhin medal and the Churchtown medal of honour in recognition of his accomplishments. He has toured extensively across Europe and America, most notably playing for President Barack Obama in the White House on St. Patrick’s Day 2009. Alan now teaches music and he has coached his students, Grupaí Ceoil and Céilí Bands to many All-Ireland successes.
Mikie O’Gorman is a fiddle player who hails from a strong musical family in Boherbue, Co. Cork. He began learning the fiddle when he was 9 years old, becoming well versed in the local Sliabh Luachra style of fiddle playing. He was a member of the underage Maule Cross Céilí Band who went on to have great success at county, provincial and All-Ireland level. He also claimed All-Ireland honours in the 15-18 trio competition of Fleadh Cheoil 2009 with two other members of that band, including his brother Billy. Mikie currently works as a primary school teacher in Ballincollig, Co. Cork and is a prominent fiddle player and teacher in Co. Cork and beyond.
Eddie Kiely is a fiddle player from Boherbue, Co. Cork. He started playing music at the age of 8, learning from Buttevant musician, Alan Finn. He later joined the Freemount branch of Comhaltas winning All-Ireland medals with the u15 Crossfields Céilí Band and with an u18 grúpa ceoil, both under the guidance of Alan Finn. He also performed in the National Concert Hall in the 2014 final of Siansa Gael Linn with the group Lasair. Eddie is currently a primary school teacher and teaches with the Freemount branch of Comhaltas.
Brian O’Loughlin was born and raised in the north Clare village of Corofin. From a strong musical family, he started the flute at the age of 8. At 11 years of age, he won his first All Ireland solo title and duet title with his brother Keith. He also had numerous All-Ireland successes in the underage céilí band competitions, being a member of the Inis Óg Céilí Band under the direction of Padraic O’Reilly. In 2015, Brian released an album with French piper Tom Delany, accompanied by West Kerry’s Dessie Kelleher on guitar. Brian now resides in Ennis where he is a much sought after performer and teacher.
Timmy Collins is a flute player and set dancer from Kiskeam, Co. Cork. A native of Sliabh Luachra, he has been heavily influenced by the musicians of this unique style of traditional Irish music. His interest in céilí bands began in his teens when dancing at céilithe and playing with the underage Maule Cross Céilí Band. He has competed and often championed at All-Ireland level competitions, in both music and dancing, such as Fleadh, Siansa and Scór. As a fluent Irish speaker, Timmy finished the Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas in NUI Galway to become a secondary school teacher in Irish and Mathematics.
Keith O’Loughlin was born in Corofin, Co Clare, an area rich in the Irish music tradition. He comes from a very musical family and started playing the banjo at the age of 8 under the tutelage of Marcus Moloney. He competed with success in the All-Ireland Fleadh on a number of occasions in solo, duet and trio competitions and with the Burren and Inis Óg céilí bands and groups. Keith regularly teaches at workshops both in Ireland and abroad and he can be found playing all over Clare and at various festivals around the country throughout the year.
Tadgh O’Sullivan is a concertina player from Millstreet, Co. Cork. He started playing music at the age of 9, learning from Lixnaw musician, Anne McAuliffe. He later joined the Freemount branch of Comhaltas winning All-Ireland medals with the u15 Crossfields Céilí Band and with an u18 grúpa ceoil, both under the guidance of Alan Finn. He also performed in the National Concert Hall in the 2014 final of Siansa Gael Linn with the group Lasair. Tadgh is currently a primary school teacher and teaches with the Millstreet, and Freemount branches of Comhaltas.
Aileen O’Callaghan is a piano player from Mallow in North Cork. She took up music at a very early age and went on to study Music at University College Cork before completing her training in Education in 2014. She has had huge success with céilí bands, having played the fiddle with the 2012 All Ireland Champions, The Awbeg Céilí Band. She has been teaching piano and concertina for the past 14 years. She has performed across Europe including England, France, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and Italy. Aileen currently teaches Maths and Music at St. Aloysius Secondary School, Cork.
Ger Naughton is a musician from Newtownshandrum in Co. Cork. He is a recent graduate of Architecture having studied in University College Cork, and is now a practicing Architect. Ger has played music practically all his life. He started learning the concertina at the age of 6 from Con Herbert, competing in the Fleadh Cheoil almost every year since in underage solo, group and band competitions. Ger also plays the bodhrán, drums and bouzouki, which he teaches at several local Comhaltas branches and performs at gigs, concerts and céilithe regularly throughout the country.
Bláithín Kennedy is a multi-instrumentalist from Co. Tipperary. Blaithín has been an All Round winner at the All Ireland Fleadhanna Cheoils from a very young age - having won All Ireland medals in Fiddle, Viola, Mandolin, Tin Whistle and the Newly Composed Tune competition. Bláithín has also taken second place in the highly esteemed Fiddler of Dooney Competition in Co.Sligo. She was also a part of the senior Grúpa Ceoil ‘Tairseach’ that took first place at the All Ireland Fleadh in 2018. She has completed her SCT Comhaltas exams and performance diploma on fiddle and was awarded an hÉidhin medal in recognition of the grade she achieved. In 2019, Blaithín was part of the Echoes of Éireann Comhaltas Tour of Ireland and Great Britain. She is currently studying to become a Primary School Teacher in Mary Immaculate College.
Hailing from Dringah, near Skibbereen in West County Cork, Andrew Collins is a dancer and multi instrumentalist. Playing both the Piano, and the Piano Accordion, he was crowned the senior Munster champion on both instruments at the Fleadh Cheoil na Mumhan 2022, in Newcastlewest. Andrew has won seven All Ireland medals in Fleadh Cheoil competitions in both Dancing and Music throughout the years. He was recently awarded the prestigious Mícheál Ó hEidhin medallion for achieving a distinction result in his Grade 8 SCT exam. He dances in both the styles of Sean Nós dancing and Irish dancing. Having qualified for three world Irish Dancing Championships, Sean Nós dancing is his preferred style as well as his brush being his favourite dance partner. Andrew is currently studying to become a primary school teacher in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick and is a regular performer as both a musician and dancer at many festivals and Fleadh Cheoils across Ireland.