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Star Of The Sea Concert With John Spillane

Writes Celine Hyde

The 4th classes of Star of the Sea Primary School have been privileged to have had the opportunity to work with John Spillane singer/songwriter, as part of a folklore and song writing project which was kindly funded by Cork County Council Arts Office. The purpose of the project as outlined by Councillor Marcia D’Alton, “was to introduce the children to the old stories of Passage West and to stimulate in them an interest and a love of these ancient legends and to guide them in creating their own songs so that they can retell the stories in their own way.”

The children read many of the stories available on dú These stories of folklore and local traditions were compiled in Passage West as part of a National project involving many of the primary schools of the Irish Free State from 1937-1939.

The children then, with the help and guidance of John Spillane, composed their own song based on the story of Mrs. O’Grady and called it “Haunted House” reflecting the story written by Richard O’Neill in 1938. Emma Leahy and Chloe Walsh also composed a song called “Star of the Sea”.

On the 30th January, John Spillane and the children from 4th class put on a show for their parents. It included the children singing with John Spillane and they also debuted “The Haunted House”. Chloe and Emma along with John Spillane and accompanied by Sarah O’Connell on the violin, gave a pin dropping performance of their song “Star of the Sea”.

On the night, the parents were treated to a performance by the Attridge Academy of Irish Dance, under the guidance of Niamh Marie Gomez, who runs weekly classes in the school hall. Also present was their founder Nancy Attridge. Sixteen year old, Clodagh Quirke, a past pupil of Star of the Sea, also performed two of her own songs.

The children have had an enriching experience through this project. This would not have been possible without the support and funding of Cork County Council Library and Arts Services, Ian McDonagh, Arts Officer, Councillor Marcia D’Alton and of course John Spillane, The Bard of Passage West, and the enthusiasm of the children.

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