Arts, Culture and Media Shortlist 2019

Orla Brannigan

Comhaltas Drogheda, Louth.

Orla has been a lifelong member of Drogheda Comhaltas, and has assisted down through the years with all their activities, fundraisers, promotions etc. In the last few years Orla has been a part of the Fleadh Committee in Drogheda, bringing Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann to Drogheda in 2018 & 2019. In addition to carrying out administration brief as a member of the Fleadh Executive Committee, she managed the Youth Programme for the Fleadh and the Cas Amhrán event. But more importantly she ensured her students had ample opportunity to promote the Fleadh, take part in Fleadh events, play with other musicians and have a good time!

Orla works tirelessly to get other young people involved and to share her love of the Irish Culture. She progressed to teaching Irish Dancing, Tin Whistle and Flute to the younger members starting off their cultural journey. She has inspired many young people to learn an instrument and then to go onto playing in groups. Orla now spends up to 5 nights per week teaching music and dancing to young children and teenagers.

Her work in organising the Cas Amhrán event in Drogheda in 2018 was hugely successful, bringing over 1500 primary school children together to learn and perform Irish songs that their parents learnt in school. This had the added impact of reminding their parents of songs they loved and for months afterwards families were heard singing songs like ‘Óró sé do bheatha bhaile’ and ‘Baidin Fhéilimí’ at events in Drogheda.

Aaron Duffy

Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, Louth.

Aaron has volunteered at the Fleadh Cheoil in Drogheda for the last two years and has shown great dedication during that time. One evening when he had finished his full day shift at the Fleadh, he had heard that another venue was struggling so headed straight there to see how he could help – and it wasn’t a short walk!

Another volunteer venue manager in particular specifically noted how Aaron, on his 6th day of volunteering, came to her assistance staying on late (again, adding a number of hours to his scheduled shift) to ensure that she was not alone in her venue when closing up.

According to Gráinne who nominated him “Aaron was and is absolutely passionate about ensuring others have a good experience. In his own cool, calm, collected and quiet way (belying his young years – in year one of the Fleadh he was only 18) Aaron took the initiative in any number of ways (identifying better processes for the management of desks at competition venues; taking control of programme sales; training other volunteers in the use of equipment) and made other volunteers, including those more mature/senior than he, feel comfortable.”

John Paul Payne

Carlow Pride Festival, Carlow.

John Paul had always dreamt of making Carlow a great place to live for everyone and 8 months ago he formed a committee to create the first ever Carlow Pride Festival. The committee is made up of people from all social backgrounds, sexual orientations, abilities and ages. He created an environment for people to show true leadership where normally they may not within society. John Paul spent 8 months working with local businesses, Government bodies and the general public to create a truly colourful event. 3,500 people attended the inaugural parade and festival, which was completely free for everyone to enjoy.

John Paul developed many initiatives during the festival. There was a window display competition, bunting across the town and a party in the park amongst others . John Paul also recognised he importance of his fellow volunteers who helped make the festival happen and organised a special thank you night to show his appreciation.