Reviving Irish Culture Essay

2617 words - 10 pages

Largely due to the Great Famine, Ireland experienced a significant loss of culture—due to the millions of death and emigrants. For the first half of the twenty-first century, traditional Irish folk music and dance struggled. Without anyone to pass on the knowledge and enthusiasm for Irish song, people quickly lost interest in the Celtic heritage. Practically the only help the folk culture received was anything played in the United States and secretly in homes in Ireland. Irish Musicians kept their hobby a secret in fear of community ridicule and rejection. They mainly played in homes and pubs in the countryside, and primarily for dancing. Not until the mid-1900s did a revival suddenly begin. During the revival, not only can one see Irish music becoming popular again, but its continual evolvement as well. Many events and people contributed to the sudden love for folk music again, but only a few can be pinpointed to have directly touched the rebirth: the Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, Sean O’Riada, and the music’s rise to popularity in the United States.
In January 1951, a group of people from the Thomas Street Pipers’ Club and music enthusiasts from County Westmeath met in Mullingar. The two ideas discussed were already ideals both groups had talked of with one another. The collective agreed to find an organization whose main purpose is promoting traditional Irish music and agreed the organization should host an annual festival to celebrate Irish music, song, and dance (Comhaltas: History).
A month later, the group met again and decided a Fleadh Cheoil was to be held once a year, with the first in May 1951 over the Whit weekend. The Fleadh Cheoil aim was to promote traditional music and to stop its decline in popularity. The first Fleadh Cheoil was not a large success—only a few hundred attended. However, by the mid-1950s, only a few years after the inaugural festival, the Fleadh Cheoil became a great national festival with musicians, singers, and dancers from Ireland and overseas. The amount of people attending within a few years of its acquisition played a major role in furthering its aim. The Fleadhanna Cheoil gave traditionalists a stage to play to a traditionally appreciative audience. The festival became so grand it is still used as a scale of merit today (Comhaltas: History).
The night of 14 October 1951 gave birth to the group’s final idea: an organization to promote traditional Irish music. With the first standing committee elected the same night, they finally formed the Cumann Ceoltoiri na Eireann. However, it was not until 6 January 1952 at a meeting in St. Mary’s Hall in Mullingar that the group changed the name to what the organization is known as today, Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann (Irish Folk Revival).
Idealism is central for the CCE (Irish Folk Revival). The organization strives to keep the tradition of Irish folk music alive. Thus, it is important for them to idealize the standards of the music, song, and dance. Through the central...

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