Wicklow in Song is an annual event staged by Oisin Costello and highlights local Irish culture and draws on primary source material for original music, letters and documents relevant to the event times and environment. Contributory to an authentic musical experience our events take place in venues of local historical import.
2013, Kilruderry House. This event took place in the Orangery of Kilruddery House, Bray featuring Soprano, Regina Nathan and Harpist, Anne Marie O’Farrell performing a Wicklow inspired repertoire of Thomas Moore’s Irish Melodies and musical compositions of 19th/20th Century Wicklow woman, Ina Boyle. Traditional Irish tunes included the Wicklow Mountains jig, the Miners of Wicklow jig and music by Hamilton Harty, a longtime Bray resident.
Kilruddery House on the outskirts of Bray, County Wicklow is a well known tourism and film location destination. It has been in the Brabazon/Ardee family since the 16th Century when lands of St Thomas’ Abbey in Wicklow were confiscated and given to family forefather, Sir William Brabazon for support and loyalty shown Henry VIII.
2014, Wicklow Gaol. Taking place in Wicklow’s Historic Gaol with actors Sam Atwell and Ali McGirr from Australian Soap, Home and Away, Dave Duffy from RTEs Fair City, local choir, Atmosphere and a traditional Irish group; the evening featured dramatisations, songs and music with themes of incarceration, deportation and famine.
Some locals feel the Gaol reflects a part of Irish history preferred forgotten and should have been demolished. Built in 1702, during its first years, men, women and children interred for minor crimes shared rooms with murderers and the insane. At times during the Georgian and Victorian eras the Gaol also acted as a poorhouse and saw thousands pass through its doors. During the height of the Deportation era many were processed in Wicklow Gaol on route as “convicts” to Australia. 19th Century Poems by deportees, journal extracts written by a local landlady during the famine years in Wicklow, and a list of Wicklow women deported during the period, 1810-1840 featured in the evening.
This years event found its way into the Rotunda, Parnell Square, Dublin City Centre, and commemorates life in Dublin City in 1915, the year preceding the Rising. Event organiser, Oisin Costello’s own grandad sang as a boy soprano in the Palestrina Choir, a stones throw from the Rotunda, during the decade 1910 to 1920, he competed with one of his brothers in Feis Ceoil’s in 1919 and 1920.
Featuring RTE Concert Orchestra principal first violin, Sarah Sew, Concert Pianist, Stuart O’Sullivan, choral ensemble of past Palestrina choristers sing plainchant, Cantando Chamber Choir, lead by past Palestrina Choir Director, Orla Barry, Dave Duffy from RTEs Fair City, Boy Soprano, Max O’Neill, Seamus Ludden Baritone, Sam Earlwood Tenor, traditional Irish group. Content included Traditional Music, plainchant and Renaissance polyphony from the repertoire of Cathedral choirs in 1915, Feis Ceoil competition pieces from 1915, with Traditional Irish Airs by John Larchet, musical director at the Abbey Theatre in 1915.
This Easter Monday Centennial Event was staged in association with the National Broadcaster, RTE. Sarah Sew, Concert Orchestra Principal First Violinist plays John Larchet’s Traditional Irish Airs, Larchet was the Abbey’s music Director in 1916, 1916, Feis Ceoil competition pieces were reenacted by 2015 Feis Ceoil Piano Bursary Winner, Jonathan Morris, 2015 Feis Winner, Boy Soprano, Max O’Neill, John Scott, Tenor, Seamus Ludden, Baritone, Capella Choir directed by former Palestrina Chorister Vincent Whelan performed 1916 Cathedral Choir repertoire, RTE Fair City’s Dave Duffy performed Percy French, Irish Harpist, Anne Marie O’Farrell played repertoire from the 1912 Roche Collections.
The 1880-90s Gaelic Revival saw the establishment of the Abbey Theatre, The Pro Cathedral’s Palestrina Choir, the Feis Ceoil, GAA. By 1916 each of these institutions had been flourishing, the Palestrina Choir had just had John McCormack pass through its ranks, he also competed in and won the Feis Ceoil Tenor competition in 1903.
The Freemason building, Molesworth St, built by The Duke of Leinster directly across the street from his home at Leinster House, the building is located within walking distance of the Shelbourne Hotel and Stephens Green, key battle grounds in 1916.