Photo-Slides from Fleadhanna Ceoil, 1950s &1960s


The first fleadhanna ceoil (festivals of music) were organised in the early 1950s by the traditional-music organisation Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, soon after it had been established in 1951. Competitive and organised on county, regional and all-Ireland bases, the fleadhs were modelled on the long-established feiseanna or competitive cultural festivals of the Gaelic League. The fleadhs also provided meeting places and informal performance opportunities for hitherto isolated musicians and they grew in popularity with musicians and audiences throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s.

The colour photo-slide transparencies of musicians at early fleadhs reproduced below were taken by Pádraig Ó Mathúna, the well known Cashel, Co Tipperary, silversmith, who has lived in An Daingean, Co Kerry, for some years. From the 1940s Pádraig and his brother Éamonn, both fiddle players, were involved as musicians in a variety of Gaelic League and other music activities – feises, concerts, ‘aonaigh’ and ‘aeraíochtaí‘ (indoor and outdoor assemblies), and radio programmes – throughout Munster and further afield, and in the 1950s and 1960s they also took part in CCÉ fleadhs.

The photo-slides form part of the ITMA’s Pádraig Ó Mathúna Collection, a valuable donation made by him of scrapbooks, correspondence, programmes, posters and other rare ephemera, and photographs, which uniquely document in detail traditional music activity of the late 1940s, the 1950s and the 1960s.

With thanks to Pádraig Ó Mathúna, Eamonn O'Toole & Aibhlín McCrann. The ITMA would welcome identification of any of the musicians seen on the photo-slides.

NC & TH, 1 April 2011

Photo-Slides from Fleadhanna Ceoil, 1950s &1960s