MONAGHAN ON SONG AT PROMS

My report from the RDS Arena in Dublin on Sunday. Northern Standard Thursday 5th February 2015.

MONAGHAN IN SONG AT PEACE PROMS 2015

Knockconan NS, Emyvale   Photo: © Michael Fisher

Knockconan NS, Emyvale Photo: © Michael Fisher

Eight national schools and five young musicians from County Monaghan contributed to a great spectacle of music and song at the Arena of the Royal Dublin Society at the weekend. On Saturday evening,  the Model School from Monaghan town took part in the Peace Proms 2015. On Sunday afternoon, seven Monaghan schools helped to form the large choir of schoolchildren performing at the same event along with the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland.

St Dympna's NS, Tydavnet  Photo: © Michael Fisher

St Dympna’s NS, Tydavnet Photo: © Michael Fisher

It was a major operation to get a total of 180 schools from different parts of the country distributed over four performances in the course of two days, usually with the same arrangement of songs and music on each occasion. The seven schools I met all had to leave Monaghan early on Sunday morning, in order to arrive at the RDS at 11.30am in time for a rehearsal. The massed choir and musicians practised together for nearly an hour and were then given a break for lunch. But half an hour before the 2pm performance they had to be ready to go back to take their seats on the stage.

St Joseph's Boys NS Carrickmacross with Principal Paul Fitzpatrick   Photo: © Michael Fisher

St Joseph’s Boys NS Carrickmacross with Principal Paul Fitzpatrick Photo: © Michael Fisher

Carrickmacross was represented by Bunscoil Lughaidh Naofa,  Cloughvalley, and St Joseph’s Boys’ National School,  Farney Street.  There were pupils and their teachers from Knockconan National School, Emyvale, and St Dympna’s National School, Tydavnet. There were also representatives from St. Louis Girls’ National School,  Park Road in Monaghan town; Scoil Mhuire,  Moys,   Clontibret  and also Scoil Mhuire National School, Latton, Castleblayney.  

The first half of the concert included favourites such as “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “Climb Every Mountain”. In the second half the large audience was serenaded with “Ireland’s Call” and “Let There Be Peace on Earth” and several other popular songs.  

Bunscoil Lughaidh Naofa Carrickmacross with Principal Maeve Callan   Photo: © Michael Fisher

Bunscoil Lughaidh Naofa Carrickmacross with Principal Maeve Callan Photo: © Michael Fisher

The Peace Proms is a choral education project for Primary Schools devised and delivered by the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland.  Over 15,000 children from 300 schools participate in Peace Proms annually. It is not a “classical orchestra”. Their music  highlights the pop, folk and traditional cultures of the island of Ireland. They use all the instruments of a full symphony orchestra but include traditional instruments.

The five Monaghan members of the orchestra include two sets of siblings. Laura Rahill who plays the cello attends the St Louis Secondary School in Carrickmacross. Her brother Donal, a student at the Patrician High School, plays the violin. Tara Nic Giolla Seanáin from Clontibret is a harpist and attends Coláiste Oiriall in Monaghan, where she is in third year. Her younger sister Rossa is in first year and plays the violin in the orchestra. Their mother Eleanor Gilsenan, a teacher in Threemilehouse, is a member of the CBOI Parents’ Association. The fifth person from the county in the orchestra is another pupil from St Louis Secondary, Carrickmacross. Laura McKenna plays the flute. 

Scoil Naomh Mhuire,  Moys,   Clontibret  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Scoil Naomh Mhuire, Moys, Clontibret Photo: © Michael Fisher


Many of the CBOI’s commissions have been written by Brian Byrne who is recognised as one of Ireland leading contemporary composers and arrangers. The Belfast Peace Proms with schools from Northern Ireland are being held next Sunday 8th February at the Odyssey Arena. A similar event will also be staged in Limerick at the end of the month. 

Scoil Mhuire NS, Latton, Castleblayney  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Scoil Mhuire NS, Latton, Castleblayney Photo: © Michael Fisher


The Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland which runs the Proms was established in 1995 as a peace initiative and is now composed of 120 young people from all over Ireland – north and south. It encourages diversity through music and community. It is internationally recognised as one of Ireland’s flagship peace initiatives. The Orchestra is led  by some of Ireland’s top professional musicians including: conductor, Gearóid Grant, violinist, Patricia Treacy and tenor, Emmet Cahill.

St Louis Girls' NS, Monaghan  Photo: © Michael Fisher

St Louis Girls’ NS, Monaghan Photo: © Michael Fisher

This poem by 12 year-old Eimear Treanor, a pupil at Knockconan National School, from Faulkland, Glaslough, was awarded first prize in the Peace Proms 2015 poetry competition. Her parents received complimentary tickets for the concert at the R.D.S. Arena, in which Eimear participated.

PEACE  by Eimear Treanor:

Knockconan N.S., Emyvale, Co. Monaghan

For there to be peace in the world

There must be peace in the continents

For there to be peace in the continents

There must be peace in the country

For there to be peace in the country

There must be peace in the province

For there to be peace in the province

There must be peace in the county

For there to be peace in the county

There must be peace in the town

For there to be peace in the town

There must be peace in the village

For there to be peace in the village

There must be peace in the home

For there to be peace in the home

There must be peace in the heart. wpid-dsc_10202.jpg.jpeg

All but three are my photos. The one on the top right of the Model School Monaghan is copyright Rory Geary/Northern Standard. The top one is copyright Anamaria Meiu/Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland. Knockconan NS supplied the picture of Eimear Treanor.

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