Monday, September 7, 2015

Gloucester Catholic's Patch Glennan competes in 2015 Fleadh Ceol

In June of 2015, Patch Glennan competed in a North American competition for Irish Traditional Music. As a result of coming in second place, he qualified to go to Ireland to compete in the Ireland Championships, called Fleadh Ceol.

            In August of this year, Patch set out with his father Bob to Ireland for two weeks. During his trip he experienced new friendships and stories and many other travel related encounters. The Fleadh
Ceol is a week long event held once a year and brings the best musicians from around the world to compete. This year the event was held in a town called Sligo, known for great Irish Traditional musicians throughout. One of the main goals of this trip was to attend a music school, taught by the masters of Irish Traditional Music, for which Patch had earned a scholarship. During the school week, Patch was selected by the instructors to be interviewed by a radio host from RTE radio in Ireland. He was also asked to join in a show production that featured the story and music of a famed Irish musician that had emigrated to America. That musician, James Morrison, born in 1891 near Sligo, is considered one of the main reasons Irish Traditional Music is heard in America today.

            Apart from competing and some wonderful distractions during the week in Sligo, Patch made ample use of his free time by touring the sights and lands of Ireland. Of course the obligatory visits to historical structures and known monuments were first in order.
However, Patch was actually thrilled to walk the paths and hillsides of many rural areas and enjoyed the landscapes not seen by the usual tourist in a car or bus. He and his father photographed much of what they saw and relayed much of this to friends and family back home to share. His longest hike lasted over 4hrs and covered 8+ kilometers through fields, hills and cliffs!

            A special moment for Patch was the meeting of cousins that call Ireland home. Patch spent two days in a small fishing village, Cleggan in County Galway, with cousins and shared music and stories in a small village pub owned by one of them. He was able to visit an old family farmland and house that many were born in as well. It was two great days that he will never forget.

            Patch played his fiddle in many Irish Traditional Sessions over in Ireland, met many people, travelled many miles, and enjoyed the chance to be a world traveler. That his first chance to go to Ireland would be so memorable and filled with a lifetime of experiences was a sure hit. He hopes to return one day to travel the Irish countryside and play music again with new friends he will meet and others he will meet again.

(Patrick “Patch” Glennan is a sophomore at Gloucester Catholic High School and is a 2nd year member of the Rams Cross Country Team. He is also an avid Traditional Irish Musician, playing the violin, and has had the humble experiences of playing and performing his music for over 8 years now. Patch plays regularly in Traditional Irish Music Sessions throughout the Delaware Valley and is also seen playing at many of the Traditional Irish Dance events in the area as well.)

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