Since its inception in 1903 ,Sligo Feis Ceoil has welcomed and rewarded the finest musicians, artists and thespians to Sligo. Boasting a wide range of categories, Sligo Feis Ceoil is a renowned platform for budding artists and established talent to compete against like- minded and gifted individuals.
Competitors who Progressed
50 Years on ....In the 1969 Feis the Player Wills Bursary Competitions
were won by Susan Boyd of Armagh in the vocal section and by 17
year old ‘Mimimin Vanecek’ in the violin class, the adjudicator commenting that
she was ‘quite up to concert standard’. This is not surprising as her father
was professor of violin and viola at the R.I.A.M. Dublin and later in London. A
native of Bratislava he is recognised as one of Europe’s most accomplished
violinists and renowned as a teacher. As an example of the preparatory work being
done in schools, Summerhill College won the Ceili Band competition, Mary
Clifford won the junior dancing championship and Ned McGoldrick the Percy
French Song Contest. The time-consuming and arduous job of Feis Secretary was
now carried out by Gladys McFadden.
In May that year Eugene Lambert, (a previous Feis
Ceoil participant) and his R.T.E. Wanderly Wagon programme was shown in
Finland, as part of the ‘European Television Series’.
40 years on......The 1979 Feis survived a financial crisis, a
particularly cold spell and a postal strike. However, good news came from
Player Wills who increased their Bursary from £600 to £2000. It was a much
sought after cash bonus put to good use by former winners such as Michael
O’Rourke (Sligo) and John O’Connor (Dublin)who became well known and renowned
Likewise this year’s winner Padraic O’Cuinneaghain
pianist studied, graduated and became Head of Piano studies at the Schola
Cantorum from 1984 to 2003 and is now a prominent recitalist and lecturer at D.I.T. College of Music. He said that “as tuition is
very expensive, he could not have afforded it otherwise”.
The senior duologue was won by Robert Burnside and
John Caheny, the Junior Duologue by Brid Feehily and Assumpta Kelly, the
Jubilee Trophy by Teresa Doherty and the Kilcoyne children made their stage
debut with a successful outcome.The raised Player Wills Bursary of £2000 was a huge
attraction inviting contestants from afar and thus making it even more
difficult for local competitors to win major awards.
The Bursary winner was Yvonne Egan, Dublin who also
won the Isobel Bryson Cup.Sligo winners to emerge were Nicola Sharkey for
Oratorio and Sacred Solo and Dramatic Solo Song; the Mercy Convent continuing
their excellent record in choral singing, Sinead Harney winning Comhra Juvenile and the Kilcoyne
Sisters, Emer, Una and Roisin well placed in prizewinners list. In
the girls trio class Julie Kelly, Assumpta Kelly and Fidelma Morrison excelled
while the ceili singing class was won by the amusingly named Brady Bunch.
In 1989, 14 year old Lorna Horan was awarded a Grant by the Fitzwilton Trust to enable her to continue piano studies at Chethams School of Music, Manchester. Gail Henry won the U-17 Solo Recorder Class while Maria McGarry won the Piggott Cup U-14 .Kian Egan and Edel Shannon are also included as prize-winners. At the official opening of the Feis, Mayor Lyons made a plea for public funding. Local winners were:- Joe O’Dowd Cup – Declan Foley, Innisfree Ceili Band, Ursuline School Orchestra, Austin O’Callaghan, Thomas and Gerard Staunton, The Pam Donaghy Ensemble, and The Fitzpatrick S.S.D won the Eddie Watson Cup. The I.C.A. choir competition still attracted entrants from a wide area. Athlone I.C.A. won on this occasion.