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Provincial Secretary and All-Britain Fleadh 2024 Chair

Patrick shares his story on why he gives back to Comhaltas and what it means to bring the Fleadh to the Northern Region.

My Story

20th of February 2024 


I got introduced to Comhaltas by my parents when I was around ten years old. My mum, Bernie,  had been a member of the St Albans branch since she was a child. As an adult, she went on to teach in the branch and started playing with the All-Ireland winning Ceili Band called St Colmcilles. My mum decided to bring me to one of her local branch’s music classes in St Joseph's Parish Centre in Luton to learn Fiddle, which at the time was run by Annette Hannigan. 


When I was 18, I was selected to join the National Folk Orchestra of Ireland and represent Britain and the Midland Region in Michael Rooney's Macalla 1916. This opportunity transformed me both personally and as a musician, I made lots of great friends, and it catapulted me back into Irish traditional music at a time where I was really beginning to lose interest. 


As a result, I became really passionate about doing all I could to keep Comhaltas in Britain alive and be an active volunteer within the organisation. I now live in Liverpool for university, I decided to put myself forward for the secretary role. I decided to take the leap and I stepped up to become the Provincial Secretary. 


With the Fleadh coming to the Northern Region, I wanted to show Britain the best of what we had to offer. I’m immensely honoured to be nominated as the Chair of the Fleadh committee. Living and working in Liverpool whilst being able to bring the All-Britain Fleadh to the North allows us to share our passion for Irish music to new communities in our area


Outside of my busy calendar of Comhaltas activities, I work as a researcher at the University of Liverpool, and have a PhD in Geographic Data Science. I am regularly travelling round the world with my job, teaching and researching in places like Japan, South Korea and the U.S. Despite my hectic schedule, I always find time to give back to an organisation that has given me so much. I feel empowered to give back to Comhaltas as it has afforded me so many great experiences and I’ve met so many people that I see as great friends over the years. 


Comhaltas is all about making new friends through a shared interest in music, song and dance. Aside from all the important calendar events like Fleadhs, Convention and branch activities, for me Comhaltas in Britain provides an important source of friendship. Many of my closest friends are people I have met through this organisation and its effect on me is immeasurable.

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