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The late Ashling Murphy on the Tour of Ireland with Comhaltas

Ashling Murphy remembered by her friends at Willie Clancy


FRIENDS and family of the late Ashling Murphy arrived in County Clare this week having joined a cycle travelling from Tyrone to Miltown Malbay’s Willie Clancy Summer School festival in memory of the popular teacher.

The 23 year-old primary school teacher and traditional Irish musician, who had been a regular visitor to the Willie Clancy summer school, was tragically killed in January of this year while out running in Tullamore.

Her life has also been remembered with the announcement by Comhaltas  Ceoltóirí Éireann of three scholarships in her honour, with the organisation describing Ashling as “a light of inspiration”.
The ‘Wheels & Jigs’ cycle is raising funds for the Ashling Murphy Memorial Trust which has been set up by the Murphy family and at the time of going to press close to €10,500 had been raised.
The cycle was founded in 2015 and has raised funds for a number of different charities over the years. Ashling had performed with Fermanagh musicians and cyclists John Mc Cann and Gareth Maguire on the Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Concert Tours. For this year’s cycle having left Dromore, County Tyrone they teamed up with fellow musicians, friends and members of Ashling’s family in Tullamore before heading on to Clare.

A spokesperson for the event stated, “Ashling was an amazing young lady who was an extremely talented primary school teacher, camogie player, singer and most of all an outstanding musician. She was a natural leader and has inspired so many young people in the traditional music scene. The traditional Irish music scene have lost a close friend who had such a passion for the Irish culture.”

They added it was a “great honour” for the cyclists to be able to come together and remember Ashling as they approached the first Willie Clancy festival without her.
Ashling had been a member of Ballyboy Comhaltas Branch in County Offaly and this week Comhaltas  Ceoltóirí Éireann announced the establishment of scholarships in her memory. Comhaltas is offering three scholarships “to recognise and remember the talent and legacy of the late Ashling Murphy” worth €2,000 each.
Ardchláraitheoir of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Majella Bartley explains that the funding was offered by Ken Barrett from Limerick to go towards scholarships for people that are involved in the Irish traditional arts and education.

“Comhaltas believed that this was a perfect way to honour Ashling’s memory. These scholarships were built around the work and dedication Ashling had for her love of music, education and community. The scholarships are based on developing the traditional arts and music education in the community, as well as engaging with our youth who will carry our culture into the future. They are practical and research based and help to support individual artists working to develop participation and practice in traditional arts.
“Ashling was a light of inspiration for all her students whether they were in school, Comhaltas class or privately. She was a highly skilled performer and educator and very well known in the traditional music circles.”

The first Ashling scholarship will primarily focus on the community. The scholarship is to support individual artists working to develop participation and practice in traditional arts, including collaborative, community and socially engaged arts practices. Development of current Comhaltas community structures should be explored and working on tangible and beneficial outcomes for the traditional arts in the community. The delivery of this scholarship will be blended by developing practical/recorded performances and research into same.

The second Ashling scholarship will focus on young people, children, and their music education. This scholarship supports individual artists working with, and producing work for, children and young people across the Irish traditional arts. The purpose of this scholarship is to support artists to develop their art practice and to encourage young people and children be more confident in their own ability. Delivery of this project can be through research, development of new programmes of music education, recordings or performance.
The third will be research based. Research should be based on an area in the Irish traditional arts and also considering music education.

Submissions and details of the proposed project should to be sent to majella@comhaltas.ie before 5pm on July 15, 2022. Submissions should include name, contact information, short bio of the applicant and a brief outline of the project and which scholarship you are applying for. A selection committee will then assess all submissions. Submissions can be made in both English and Irish. Scholarships will be given at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Mullingar.

Donations can still be made to the Wheels & Jigs cycle at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/wheelsandjigscycleinmemoryofaishlingmurphy2022

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