Schools welcome back traditional Irish music

Owen Hickey

Reporter:

Owen Hickey

renowned as the Limerick hub of traditional Irish music, Templeglantine has produced many a musician down through the years.

renowned as the Limerick hub of traditional Irish music, Templeglantine has produced many a musician down through the years.

Now a man from the west Limerick village is passing on some of the musical skills he has honed from an early age to school children around the county.

Willie Larkin is the Director of Comhaltas School Outreach (CSO) which is run by traditional Irish music organisation Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.

The new scheme aims to bring traditional music back to primary schools and is giving children of all ages the chance to develop their musical skills in the classroom.

Mr Larkin explained why he has brought the scheme to children around Limerick.

“We want to bring music to everybody. Music is not just for the elite, it is something that everyone should be able to experience.

“This is something that can give people a little lift with how tough things are for people in the country at the moment,” said Mr Larkin.

The scheme was initially rolled out in St John’s infant boys and girls school at Cathedral Place in the city centre.

Pupils from fourth to sixth class in the school are now participating in the scheme, starting with simple instruments like the tin whistle, before moving on to the accordian, concertina, banjo, fiddle or flute.

Sixth-class girls Marina Stevens, Ann O’Donoghue and Aideen Hannon were full of praise for the scheme.

“We love it. Learning new instruments is great and it’s something we really enjoy,” they said.

Teacher Evelyn Quinn was equally complimentary of the lessons.

“The children have great fun every week and it’s great for them to be learning something new. They probably wouldn’t have picked up a tin whistle if it wasn’t for this,” she said.

The programme is taught over a period of 26 weeks, for one day each week. Each session lasts for 30 minutes and costs are as little as €1 per pupil per week.

As well as St John’s, Scoil Chriost Rí in Caherdavin and Ballingarry National School are also now availing of the services of CSO.

A website for the scheme is currently being set up and will be available shortly at www.schoolsoutreach.ie.

Any schools that are interested in participating in the CSO scheme can contact Willie Larkin at 087 6709124.