MEMBERS of the Kilfenora Céilí Band past and present received a prestigious award this week when John Lynch, the group’s musical director, was bestowed with a Master of Music from the National University of Ireland, Galway.
The honour recognises the members of the current band as well as all those renowned musicians of earlier decades, from Kilfenora itself and from elsewhere, who have created a century of outstanding musical tradition.
In 2009, the Kilfenora Céilí Band, the country’s oldest céilí band and an enduring icon at home and abroad of the traditional culture of Ireland, celebrates the centenary of its foundation.
Nearly 800 students graduated from NUIG at this week’s winter conferring ceremonies.
As well as John Lynch, the regional development activist Tony Barrett, was also presented with an honourary degree, a Master of Arts.
Tony Barrett, was honored for his personal contribution to local and regional development across the region and the Gaeltacht, to the Irish Cooperative Movement, and to a range of University projects. Mr Barrett was a member of the first class of the Master’s in Rural Development degree at NUI Galway, graduating in 1987.
According to the president of NUI Galway, Dr James J Browne, “NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history. This week’s honorary graduands – John Lynch and Tony Barrett – have made valuable and distinctive contributions in the areas of traditional music and community development. In very different ways they have added to the social and cultural life of Ireland and NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise these exceptional individuals”.
The Kilfenora Céilí Band played a short selection in the Aula Maxima at a private lunch following the conferring.
This was a repeat performance, as university archives show that the band played in the Aula Maxima in 1937 for the Sigerson Cup Céilí.
The current membership of the Kilfenora Céilí Band is John Lynch, Anne Rynne, Pat Lynch, Annemarie Mc Cormack, Anthony Quigney, Garry Shannon, Tim Collins, Claire Griffin, Seán Griffin and Fintan McMahon.
The band leader, John Lynch, who re-formed the band in 1991 and has been its leader since then, is a son and nephew of two stalwarts of the 1950s band.