The returning officer had barely announced the election of Ireland South’s Liadh Ní Riada when Sinn Féin and the Ó Riada clan, one of the most acclaimed traditional music families in the country, burst into song.
The Nemo Rangers complex became home to an impromptu session as men sang through tears of joy as Ní Riada’s election victory was made official.
Proud brother Peadar produced a squeeze box and members of Cór Chúil Aodha gathered round and performed a rousing rendition of ‘Mo Gille Mear’, a song with deep personal connections to the Ó Riada family.
“That was originally a recruiting song in the Gaelic nation 300 years ago,” Peadar said. “And when my father Sean died, I started using it as an anthem to try and draw us together as a community.
“And lots of other people have picked it up since — it’s actually two or three songs mixed together. That was a shortened version.”
Corkwoman Ms Ní Riada was elected on the fourth count with 132,590 votes, nearly nine hours after Fianna Fáil poll topper Brian Crowley.
It’s been an incredible few months for the former RTÉ producer, who was virtually unknown outside arts and culture circles up until a few months ago.
“Hopefully when we go home to the hills, we’ll have our own celebrations,” said Peadar.
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