Portglenone CCE Irish Traditional Music Group, under the direction of Harry O'Neill and Kieran Convery has been holding junior sessions every Wednesday evening for the past eleven years in The Wild Duck Inn. Many faces have come and gone during that time. However, the group’s numbers has been boosted over the past couple of years by a new crop of young musicians, drawn mainly from the Monday night CCE classes. The resurgence in the group’s numbers has coincided with invitations to play at various functions including ‘The Big Splash’ festival and the opening of the local GAA club’s new pitch, both in 2018. This year the group performed at St. Patrick's Day events for both Greenlough Parish and the local GAA Club’s ‘Lá Fhéile Pádraig’ celebrations. The musicians also participated in the County Antrim Fleadh which was hosted by the village of Dunloy in May of this year. Even more astounding is the fact that some members of the group only started learning and playing their instrument last September at the CCE Irish Traditional music classes, held every Monday evening during term time in St. Mary’s Primary School. These young musicians are now playing in front of packed halls, in marquees and on gig rigs as well as performing in front of well-known adjudicators - a tremendous feat in itself! The group has also been enhanced by some talented Mums and Dads who instead of just dropping off their kids at the Wednesday sessions are now bringing their own instruments to play along with them, adding to the strength and depth of the group enormously!
The Sunday evening concert at the festival has for some time been affectionately known as ‘The Ann O’Brien Stage’ in tribute to a wonderful lady who taught music to so many children in the local area. Ann was also one of the founder members of the Portglenone Branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. What a tribute to Ann and all the founders members that over forty five years later the branch is still going strong and that the music is continuing to be passed down through the generations. The group are very excited to be sharing the same stage as Sharon Shannon!