Kildare Comhaltas celebrated 50 years since the establishment of Bord Chill Dara on Saturday, March 25, in The Westgrove Hotel, Clane.
The first meeting of Bord Chill Dara took place in Lawlor’s Hotel, Naas in January 1967. In the early 60s there were branches in Moone and Prosperous. In October of 1966, Ardclough formed a branch of Comhaltas enabling the formation of a County Board.
Currently there are five branches in Kildare — Kilteel/Eadestown, Maynooth, Leixlip, Kilcock and Clane.
Traditional music singing and dancing has grown from strength to strength over the years in Kildare.
Traditionally, Kildare were importers of musicians, singers, teachers and performers, whereas today we are known as exporters of musicians, teachers and performers both within Ireland and across the world.
Currently, many Leinster and All-Ireland titles are held by Kildare musicians, singers and dancers. Bord Chill Dara is extremely proud of all its members and progress.
On Saturday last, over 250 people attended the Westgrove for a drinks reception, with music provided by three harpists from Kilteel/Eadestown branch, following which a four-course meal was enjoyed in the O’Connell Suite.
In attendance was Uachtarán an Comhaltais Ann Finnegan, Leinster Chairperson Attracta Brady and Leinster Secretary Mary Whelan.
Tom Dillon, Chairperson of Bord Chill Dara, spoke following the meal, thanking Breeda Shortt and Nóirín Ní Shuilleabháin for a wonderful slideshow during the meal, which allowed all present to appreciate the success and people associated with Comhaltas over the years.
Set and ceilí dancers took to the floor for over an hour with music from The Legacy Céilí Band, during which time a fantastic exhibition of sean-nós dancing was also enjoyed.
Following the dancing and band, 70 plus musicians and singers from all over Kildare and further afield took to the floor and a session continued well in to the early hours. This celebration saw the return of musicians who had grown up in Kildare, learned music and continued on their musical journey further afield return on the night and rekindle friendships.
Kildare Comhaltas have many other events coming up in the near future.
Ceardlann Earraigh, organised by Bord Cill Dara, takes place on April 8, with master classes and a concert in the Glenroyal Hotel, Maynooth.
Fleadh Cheoil Chill Dara takes place in Clane on May 17 to 21 in Clane. All events and entry forms are available from the web page with a closing date on April 7.
PHOTOS: DESSIE BOLAND