Two days after winning the men’s singing contest at Oireachtas na Samhna in Killarney, Conchubhar Ó Luasa of Cúil Aodha, Co Cork, became the youngest-ever winner of the Irish language festival’s top prize, the Corn Uí Riada.
Conchubhar, 21, became the second singer to bring the cup named in honour of Cúil Aodha composer Seán Ó Riada back to the Múscraí Gaeltacht in the space of three years, following Nell Ní Chróinín’s win in 2014.
Renditions of ‘Maidin Luan Cásca’ and ‘Na Táilliúirí’ secured the cup for Conchubhar, who received tumultuous applause when he followed up with a celebratory performance of local song ‘Scoil Barr d’Inse’, which makes mention of his own great-great grandfather, also Conchubhar Ó Luasa.
Conchubhar, runner-up two years ago in the men’s singing competition, said: “I’m delighted alright. Did I expect it? Not a bit in the world.” Unfazed by the pressure of the competition, he said: “I enjoy it. I reckon that nerves take from your performance so I don’t bother with nerves.”
Festivities continued at a homecoming at the Top of Coom on the Cork-Kerry border last night, celebrating Conchubhar’s success and that of fellow Múscraí singer Máire Ní Chéileachair, who came second in the same competition.
Máire, a teacher with Múscraí singing project Aisling Gheal, has been instrumental in handing down the sean-nós heritage, the project bearing fruit with Oireachtas wins for young singers Danielle Ní Chéilleachair and Orlaith Ní Loingsigh at the weekend.
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