On Tuesday 9 April 2019 the Clongowes Trad group had their final session of this year in Connolly’s of Ballagh, County Kildare. Started in 2008 by music teacher, Ms Catherine Heslin, the group is a collaboration of students from all year groups as well as staff members who play a variety of musical instruments including the fiddle, flute, tin whistle, guitar, banjo, mandolin, cajón and bodhrán.
The music session in Connolly’s was final in more ways than one, as it was time to say goodbye to the six Rhetoric (sixth year) students, most of whom had been with the Trad group since first year. The night was a lively one with some great sets of tunes and a beautiful rendition of ‘Sweet Sixteen’ from Seán O’Grady. Ms Catherine Heslin reports on the success of the graduating students.
“As a group we reminisced over the past six years, our annual ‘Road Trip’, our links with Trócaire, our sessions in Connolly’s (not forgetting how well we were fed in the various establishments that we played in!). It was roundly agreed that the highlight for the group was the recording of the Trad Group Album earlier this year, which will always be a wonderful memory and a tangible souvenir.
“It has given me great pleasure to watch the students develop into fine musicians over the past years. Music is always something that they can take with them wherever they go, and a love of their culture and traditions is a value to be prized. The shared experiences of playing music together, socialising together and just having fun are all memories that the group will have long after academic life is over.
“The students were presented with a picture made up of a photo of their first ‘Trad for Trocaire’ in 2013 and their last in 2018 (above). The physical changes from small boys to young men was apparent, but more importantly has been the development into mature, confident and accomplished musicians.
“So goodbye to Seán O’Grady, Seán Brogan, Robbie Savage, John Maher, Aaron Clarke and Fred Sargaison. Tá súil agam gur bhain sibh go léir an-taitneamh as an gceol agus as an craic.”