2016 Comhaltas Concert Tour of Canada Artists


JOE ARKINS (Fear a’ Tí, Amhránaí, Reacaire) 

Joe Arkins lives in Ruan on the outskirts of Ennis and is a former Mayor of Clare .  He is a regular on Clare’s Singers Circle and sings traditional Irish ballads and folk songs. He is also well known for his story telling and recitation. Joe has also composed a number of humorous and satirical ballads and parodies. He has toured on six occasions with Comhaltas Concert Tours throughout Ireland Britain and North America. Joe has also toured Britain with the Irish Rambling House and in Germany with Ennis Singers Club and with his local Comhaltas Group. Throughout the Summer he acts as Fear a’Tí in Cois na hAbhna Ennis, and Corofin Teach Ceoil, entertaining audiences in the Seisiún. Joe was actively involved in the logistics and preparations for Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann in Ennis 2016.



EIMEAR ARKINS (Amhránaí, Reacaire) 

Eimear Arkins is a multi-instrumentalist, singer and dancer from Ruan in County Clare. She holds ten solo All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil titles across six different competition categories and has competed in All-Ireland, European and World Dancing Championships. Eimear has toured extensively with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann on concert tours throughout Ireland, Britain and North America. In 2010 she was part of the internationally renowned Brú Ború troupe that represented Ireland at World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. In August 2015, Eimear travelled to World Expo 2015 in Milan with St. Louis Irish Arts where she promoted the expression of Irish culture worldwide. Eimear has been a regular teacher at St. Louis Irish Arts since 2011 and has given workshops at various festivals throughout the world including Catskills Irish Arts Week, New York; Viljandi Pärimusmuusika Festival, Estonia; and Festival Interceltique de Lorient, France. More recently, Eimear has been on tour with the all-female super-group Cherish the Ladies throughout the US and in Ireland.


PAUL CLESHAM (Consairtín, Pianó) 

Paul, from Hollymount, Claremorris, Co. Mayo, plays fiddle, accordion, melodeon, concertina and piano. He has won six All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil titles in melodeon, concertina, accompaniment and grúpaí ceoil, the Seán Ó Ríada and Mary V. Hart memorial prizes in UCC, a scholarship to the Wesleyan University, Connecticut, USA, and gold and silver medals for piano at the World Championships of Performing Arts, Los Angeles. Paul performs with Celtic Steps and Officially Tapped, has played in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Greece, and Sweden, and with the grúpa ceoil and céilí band in his local Comhaltas branch in Mayo.



TIM DOYLE (Píob Uilleann) 

Tim Doyle is an uilleann piper from Shankill, Co. Dublin. Growing up in musical family, he started playing the tin whistle at a young age and then progressed to the uilleann pipes. He also plays the fiddle and concertina. He has won prizes at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann on both tin whistle and uilleann pipes, including first place in the 15-18 uilleann pipes dance tunes and slow airs in 2009. He was part of the Comhaltas group that toured Cuba in 2011, and has played in numerous venues/music festivals across Ireland and abroad. Tim has recently composed a suite called Rithim na Réabhloide for a youth group in commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rising.




Clara, from Tralee, has danced since she was four with Rinceoirí na Ríochta, performing in England, Scotland, Portugal and the USA, and competing at National, European and World levels. Under the guidance of Jimmy Smith, Honor Flynn, Tríona Breen and Miriam O’Sullivan. She is a member of Siamsa Tíre, the National Folk Theatre of Ireland, and has performed in various shows including San Am Fadó, Oileán and Clann Lir. She most recently danced as part of the opening act for the Rose Ball 2015 at the festival of Kerry.



Darragh Hurley (Irish Nationals).jpg


Born in Rosario, Argentina and a member of the Rosario CCÉ Branch, Fernando has been dancingwith the Brú Ború Show for the past nine years and has toured the world extensively with Them. In 2010 he danced for former president Mary McAleese at World Expo China and has recently performed for Ireland's Presidency of the European Union events. Fernando teaches Irish dancing in Argentina and Mexico and regularly conducts workshops in St. Louis, USA for St. Louis Irish Arts. A TCRG dance teacher since 2003, Fernando holds the honour of being the first non-English speaking person in the world to achieve this highly respected qualification.



A native of Skibereen, Cara Hegarty has competed with the Cowhie Ryan School of Irish Dancing during the past ten years. At nineteen she has already received accolades at national and international competitions. She is a regular performer and dance co-ordinator with Skibereen CCÉ and Seisiún Group, of which she is an active member and previously toured North America in 2012 with Comhaltas.



Annette was born in Luton, Bedfordshire of Irish parents who hail from Newry and
Monaghan. She started learning the mandolin at 7 years of age progressing to the banjo,
and the fiddle. Annette won her first solo All Ireland medal on the banjo at under
11yrs and then went on to win a further 8 All Ireland medals throughout her
fleadh years. Annette has toured red with the "Echoes of Erin" Comhaltas tour concert of Britain, Ireland and America in the 1980's, featured on numerous radio and TV
broadcasts. She followed a career in teaching and raising a family, but
continued to teach and adjudicate young children to adults throughout these
years, many of whom became All Ireland champions themselves.


JANA McCARTHY-KENT (Feadóg, Feadóg Mhór) 

Jana Mc Carthy-Kent at eighteen years old is an accomplished musician in both traditional Irish music and classical music, having won many prestigious awards in both genres, including All Ireland titles in the Fleadh Cheoil in flute and whistle. She has performed in Fleadh Nua Ennis as part of a Meitheal performance award in traditional music. In classical music, Jana is a previous winner of the Feis Cheoil and has been awarded several scholarships for tuition in the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Jana’s most recent achievement was the opportunity to perform for Sir James Galway in May 2016.



VINCENT MURPHY (Bosca Ceoil, Mileoideon) 

Vincent comes from Annagh near Gorey, a stronghold of Irish traditional music in north Wexford. From an early age his parents Vinny and Liz Murphy (neé Bass) encouraged him to start playing music. Vincent learnt his early music from his grandfather Johnny Bass, a well-known box/ melodeon player, and he is also strongly influenced by his uncles, John Bass (box) and Pat Bass (banjo).
He has done numerous recordings for Raidió na Gaeltachta and RTÉ1 Céilí House, playing in a traditional north Wexford box style. Vincent has won many awards at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, including U12 melodeon (2008), All-Ireland button accordion (2009 and 2011) and 15-18 in 2014. 





 Aged twenty-five, Fíona is a multi-instrumentalist (tin whistle, flute and fiddle) who began playing music at the age of four. She is a title holder and multi-medallist at many Fleadhanna Cheoil, including the U-18 All-Ireland Whistle Slow Airs in 2009, and has reached All-Ireland level in both solo and group performances, including the fiddle, flute, whistle, trio, senior duet, grúpaí ceoil and céilí band competitions. A TTCT graduate, she has also obtained distinctions in her Scrúdú Ceol Tíre and classical exams. Fiona has been the fiddle and grúpa ceoil tutor for CCÉ Craobh Chualann for the past six years. She obtained her primary teaching degree from Coláiste Phádraig in 2009 and was made Head of Music in her school, providing music classes as well as conducting the school choir. Fíona has performed at many national venues (National Concert Hall and Dublin Castle) and international events in England, Wales, France, Germany and Spain. Organiser and co-producer of her local Seisiún summer group for the past five years, Fíona continues to organise and perform in many concerts and events throughout the year.



Gráinne, from Banogue, Co. Limerick, is the current All-Ireland Senior Harp Champion and was the 15-18 All-Ireland Champion 2013. She is a very active member of Castleconnell-Ahane-Herbertstown CCÉ and is a member of Grúpa Ceoil Knockfennel, runners-up in Senior Grúpa Ceoil competition in Sligo 2015. She enjoys composing: Knockfennel played one of her slip jigs as part of their performance at the All-Ireland and she played her own jig as part of her solo performance in Sligo. She has also won numerous county Scór na nÓg titles as part of music and ballad groups.




SÉAMUS Ó FLATHARTA (Cruit, Bodhrán, Rinceoir)

Séamus is from Ardmore in Connemara: he followed his older brothers into traditional music, taking up tin whistle, sean-nós singing and harp and winning All Ireland titles for Irish and English singing, whistle, harp, slow airs and team dancing. A member of West Coast Grupaí Ceoil – Trad in the West, Renvyle Seisiún, Roundstone Irish Nights, and Ceoltóirí an Iarthair – he attends Galway’s McBride School of Irish Dancing, competing at National and World levels. He has been involved in the production of two CDs, The Mermaid’s Purse and Connemara Magic. Séamus is particularly influenced by his current teachers, Holly Geraghty (harp), Eileen O’Malley (whistle), Micheál Ó Cuaig (Sean nós) and Marie Walsh (group).





Sarah, from Waterford, has won the Junior Fiddler of Dooney Competition (2013), first place in U18 All-Ireland Fiddle (2014), and 2nd place in the U18 Slow Airs Fiddle (2015). She toured Sweden and Scotland in 2012 with a group of Clare musicians, and in 2013 was one of a group winning the overall award in Meitheal Summer School, performing in the National Concert Hall, the Irish World Academy, and Derry’s Guild Hall. A support act for We Banjo 3 and Danú in 2014, Sarah teaches fiddle and helps to run the Sunday session in her local Comhaltas branch, performing with Cúl Cheoil for Comhaltas Summer shows in Dungarvan’s Park Hotel. Sarah is the Meitheal Summer School nominee for this tour.




SÉAMUS TIERNEY (Feadóg Mhór, Feadóg)

Séamus, who is from Cavan, performs with the local CCÉ Seisiún shows and teaches the flute and tin whistle. Taught by Caitriona Cullivan, Karen Walsh and Pat Tierney, he has achieved second place in senior flute at the All-Ireland Fleadh in Sligo and has won 12-15 and 15-18 All-Ireland titles on both flute and tin whistle, along with many other medals at provincial and All-Ireland levels. He won the Junior Music Solo competition at the All-Ireland Réadóirí 2010 and received a Royal Irish Academy high achiever’s award for classical piano and the Peadar Cillín medal for the highest mark in Leaving Certificate Music 2013. 




VINCE JORDAN (Bainisteoir)

Vince has played Irish traditional music on piano accordion for over forty years. He learned music from his father, the late John Jordan (County Mayo), Paddy Ryan (County Roscommon), and Kathleen Boyle (née Lawrie) from Birmingham. Vince has toured with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann in Ireland, Britain, the United States and Canada in 2006. In 2007 he visited Shanghai with a Comhaltas group, performing for various institutions and universities and for the Saint Patrick day celebrations. More recently Vince has represented Comhaltas abroad with his own band, Reel Note, in France and World Expo in Milan. In May 2012, Vince was elected president of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann for a three year tenure, which took him to Washington DC and Parsippany NJ, as well throughout Ireland and Britain. In February 2016 Vince managed the successful Comhaltas tour of Britain.