Stay up to date with the Ring of Gullion

Sign up to ensure that you don't miss out on any Ring of Gullion news and events!

Showcase Gullion’s heritage

Showcase Gullion’s heritage

The Showcase Gullion’s heritage project is implemented through The Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership Scheme. The LPS is part of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s programme to conserve and enhance some of the region’s most treasured landscapes. The LPS runs from September 2015 until August 2018.

The total budget for this project is £7,800

This project aims to enable young local musicians to visit other music groups in Ireland and abroad in order to develop their repertoire of tunes from different areas and be exposed to a variety of musical styles so as to enhance the development of their own musical style. The project will allow these young musicians to meet and forge relationships with other young musicians, experience and foster respect for music from the other traditions and cultures of Northern Ireland as well as other cultures from different countries. This project will also help to equip them with the skills and personal capabilities to deal with the challenges of living in an increasingly diverse and complex society. The project will deliver on these aims by developing an exchange programme with other music groups and performing at an event once a year.

To view the full project plan please download the Ring of Gullion Landscape Conservation Action Plan below.

Project Updates

Local musical ambassadors return from Catalonian Festival

Update published on: November 5, 2018


Musicians from the Mullaghbane-based Traditional Arts Partnership (TAP) took part in last week’s Creative Connexions Irish Catalan Festival in Sitges, Catalonia. The group of 28 musicians, singers and dancers were predominantly from the 15-18 Grupa Cheoil and performed throughout the weekend at concerts, sessions, interactive workshops, parades and street/impromptu sessions. They were kept really busy and between the different venues, they played, danced and sang for up to six hours every day – a serious amount of musical mileage which boosted their ability and confidence daily.

The children also performed for the Irish Ambassador Síle Maguire and for the Mayor of Sitges Miquel Forns, both of whom were presented with fine plaques, hand-crafted locally by Padraig Carragher Wood Turning and presented by Des Murphy on behalf of Newry, Mourne & Down District Council.

This is the third year that TAP musicians have taken part in the festival and the highlight of each trip is the visit to the Institute of Arts Barcelona, which is based in Sitges. This is a Performing Arts College and TAP is extremely proud to continue this valuable link.

This year the young musicians, signers and dancers performed in the courtyard and as always had the students up dancing the ‘Waves of Tory’. They then took an interactive workshop in one of the studios with the singing and acting students. In every performance we witnessed hidden talent emerging in our singers, dancers, public speakers, and leaders. They truly are fine ambassadors for their local area, county, province and country, not just musically but also in attitude, manners and general interaction with locals and visitors.

The festival featured four other young musical groups from Ireland and two adult choirs. The nightly ‘Cid Session’ in the hotel attracted people from all over the festival and, indeed, groups who were staying in other hotels, having built up a reputation for being “serious craic”. Fantastic friendships continued and friendship with Croabh Phiaras, Monkstown and with Bray CCE developed even futher, and a whole new horizon opens up with new links to Ballinspittle CCE, West Cork.

Elaine O’Sullivan is one of the trip organisers and performed daily along with her young protégées.

Reflecting on the successful trip, she said: “All in all it was a fast-paced, high-energy trip that left everyone feeling elated and proud, but exhausted. According to reports, there has been some serious sleeping going on since our return! Many thanks to all of the additional adults and young musicians from the South Armagh area who came over to Sitges to support the kids at all of their performances and sessions. It was lovely to see so many familiar faces around the beautiful town of Sitges.

TAP would just like to say a heartfelt thank you to each and every person who donated at any of our fundraising events throughout the year. This year the trip cost just shy of £25,000 and we have had numerous fundraisers throughout the year to ease the burden of the cost of the trip for the families of our young musicians. Our street collection last weekend brought in a fantastic £986. Many thanks to all who donated at the ‘Camlough toll bridge’! We are also very grateful to the Landscape Partnership Scheme who again provided welcome financial support and to NMDDC for continuing to offer us paid gigs throughout the year.”

Musicians showcase local talent at Spanish Festival

Update published on: December 11, 2017


A group of musicians from the Ring of Gullion Traditional Arts Partnership (TAP), based in Mullaghbane, recently participated in the popular Festival of Arts in Sitges, located in the Catalonian area of Spain.

Thirty-five musicians, dancers and singers took part in the four-day festival performing traditional Irish music, theatre and dance while experiencing the variety and styles of music native to the region.

The Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership Scheme (LPS), part of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s programme, supports the annual exchange programme and aims to develop the participants’ repertoire of tunes from different areas; be exposed to a variety of musical styles so as to enhance the development of their own musical style; meet and forge relationships with other young musicians; experience and foster respect for music from the other traditions and cultures of N. Ireland as well as other cultures from different countries; and equip them with the skills and personal capabilities to deal with the challenges of living in an increasingly diverse and complex society.

The South Armagh musicians had a packed programme of cultural exchange with Catalonian musicians and were also accompanied by groups of musicians from Dublin, Wicklow and Carlow. Their best and most memorable event was an hour-long show of traditional Irish music and dance performed to the entire lecturing staff and students from the Institute of Arts, Barcelona.

Caroline Wynne, Artistic Director of Creative Connections Irish Catalan Festival, said the musicians from TAP “lit up the festival” from the moment they arrived at the opening session in Café le Mon.

Councillor Roisin Mulgrew, Chairperson of Newry, Mourne & Down District Council paid tribute to the musicians for representing the area at the prestigious festival and described them as “great ambassadors”.

Praising the LPS for facilitating the initiative, she said: “Programmes likes these help to improve the lives of young people taking part, but also everyone who lives in the district. It’s good for tourism, and good for economic development too, and I look forward to seeing where these promising young musicians go next year to promote Newry, Mourne and Down’s flourishing talents.”

Ring of Gullion Tradition success in Spain

Update published on: November 8, 2016


The Ring of Gullion Traditional Arts Partnership (TAP) has just returned from a hugely successful Musical and Cultural Exchange frestival in Sitges, Spain. The experience was to enable the young musicians to visit other music groups in order to; devleop their repertoire of tunes from different areas; be exposed to a variety of musical styles so as to enhance the development of their own musical styles; meet and forge relationships with other young musicians throughout Spain and Ireland.

The South Armagh group, TAP, had 30 musicians playing traditional Irish music to large crowds over a four day period. There were also groups of young Irish musicians performing from Co. Laios, Co. Carlow and Co. Dublin and when all playing together the Spanish audiences were spellbound and responded with standing ovations.

Des Murphy, Chair of the Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership Scheme, made a presentation to the Irish Ambassador, David Cooney, at the official opening of the Catalan Irish Music Festival 2016.

Ring of Gullion TAP on BBC Evening Extra for St Patricks Day

Update published on: March 17, 2015


A whirlwind of publicity followed the Ring of Gullion Traditional Arts Partnership after their trip to London’s Women in Unison Concert at St Ethelburgas. This is their latest flirt with the media with Conor at BBC Evening Extra.


And here’s the young musicians on the BBC website performing on the tube –

St Ethelburgas Exchange visit

Update published on: January 28, 2015


The Ring of Gullion Traditional Arts Partnership  Musical and Cultural Exchange was undertaken in London at the weekend. St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace in Bishopsgate, a building rebuilt after an IRA bomb in 1993, staged a concert during the exchange in which the local musicians were able to perform: Women in Unison.

The young musicians also played a jog on the London Tube, a performance of Irish traditional music by teenagers from the Ring of Gullion Traditional Arts Partnership was one of a series of impromptu gigs that included the London Tube, Big Ben, the top deck of a bus and Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square.

Read the full news story here.

International Women's Day 2019

Update published on: March 8, 2019


Celebrating International Women’s Day 2019 in The Cross Square Hotel, Crossmaglen. Including a Live broadcast on Radio Ulster’s Blas Ceoil hosted by Lynette Fay – Featuring Pauline Scanlon with Fiach Moriarty and with performances from Colleen Savage, Joanna Doran, Briege Murphy, Martha Guiney, Ruarí Cunnane, Dave Molloy, Sinead Murphy, Brendan Monaghan, Bláithín McCann, Noreen McManus, Alana Flynn and Elaine O’Sullivan.

Organised by Colleen Savage and Una Walsh.

Colleen Savage

Ever since she was small all she wanted to do was to sing. Her love of song was very much influenced by her Nanny Finnegan who would sing and hum hymns as she made bread in the back kitchen or as they walked together through Creggan lawns collecting sticks for the fire.

Her daddy too was a massive influence. He sang and played drums in many a band and I recall getting up on stage with him singing ‘Daddy’s Girl’…..He still sings and writes his own material.

Many a night as a teenager was spent in Keenans Bar Crossmaglen, OHanlons Bar and Corrigans Kitchen singing songs and listening and learning from those older musicians and singers around her.

Since then she have been writing and singing my own material. She play a little guitar and use it and piano to facilitate my writing. She has thrown myself head first into any musical opportunity which comes my way. She surrounds herself with like minded souls who enjoy and appreciate the arts. She is a Slieve Gullion Ambassador, a planner, an events planner, a wife to Jonny and a mother of three beautiful boys Shea, Ryan and Iarla. She fundamentally believe in watering your own patch and as Bernadette McAliskey says ‘Dig where you stand’.

Sinead Murphy

Sinéad is from Granemore, near Tassagh Co. Armagh. She grew up in a musical family since her parents had a real love of Irish traditional music and song. She has had a love of singing particularly Trad and Folk from a very young age. Sinead also sings liturgical music for Weddings and Funerals as she has been in her local choir for as long as she can remember.

In her earlier years Sinéad participated in Scor na nóg representing Ulster at 4 All Ireland finals. She was also the winner of the Ladies singing competition in the Ulster Fleadh Ceoil at age 15. Sinéad sights Roisín White, Rita Gallagher, Frank Harte and Grace Toland as some of the traditional singers who have inspired her.

Sinéad has recently released her debut album of traditional songs “No Better Time” on which she has recorded 10 songs featuring her niece and nephew Méabh and Tiarnán Smyth on Fiddle and Concertina, Ruairi Cunnane on Guitar and Bouzouki, Brian McAteer on Keyboard and Piano, and Brendan T. Monaghan on Whistles, Uillean Pipes, and Bodhran.

Alana Flynn

Alana Flynn is a bodhrán player from Mullaghbawn, County Armagh. She started playing at the age of 8 and since then has won many county and Ulster medals.

She has been fortunate to be able to combine her two interests of bodhrán playing and Irish dancing through participation in a variety of shows. Involvement with ‘Titanic Drums’ has been a highlight for her and has just recently returned from China with this show. She has also played with several groups over the last number of years.

She has been influenced by a range of bodhrán players including Eamon Murray of Beoga and John Joe Kelly but will always be grateful to Fergal O’Brien for introducing her to the bodhran.

Alana currently teaches the bodhran to young and old and is passionate about passing her love of her instrument on to others. She will always be grateful to Elaine O’Sullivan and Traditional Arts Partnership – South Armagh for providing her with the opportunity to teach and play in her local area.

Noreen McManus

Noreen McManus has been actively involved in Traditional Music in the North East for over twenty years. She started fiddle under the tutelage of the legendary Martin Mulvihill, New York and at age 11, won the North American Championship in Solo, Duet, Trio and Ceili Band.Noreen has travelled extensively, having played at Festivals and Irish Embassies in Africa, Saudi Arabia, Europe, United States and Scandanavia and also gave Presidential and Royal performances.As well as being a musician with various Folk and Traditional bands throughout the years, Noreen has also been sought after to teach Fiddle, Grupai Cheoil and Ceili Bands. Many of her students have had tremendous success at County, Provincial and National Level including being the musical director of All-Ireland u12 Grupa Cheoil Champions, CCE Dundalk at Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann, Derry 2013. The first All-Ireland title to ever be won by a County Louth group. Recently, she has taken on the position of Instrument (Fiddle) Tutor in DkIT.

Her dedication to the promotion of Traditional music in the area has led her to form “Cuchulainn Celtic Strings,” a community based music group that performs at various festivals, sessions, sporting and charity events. The fact that she has played, taught and appreciate the cultural heritage within the Oriel region, has led to her wanting to form “Oriel Traditional Orchestra” of which she is one of the Directors and strings Tutor.

Elaine O’Sullivan

Elaine has been playing Irish Traditional music since the tender age of 4. Growing up in Coventry she was taught by the renowned Cavan accordion player Vincent Tighe. She represented Coventry CCE at local, provincial and All Ireland level in accordion, concertina, duets, trios and grupa cheoil. Her first All-Ireland title was on button accordion 15-18 in 1986 and her second was in the Senior Concertina in 1988.

Elaine is also classically trained on the Violin and spent her formative years playing with the Coventry Youth Orchestra.

She has been teaching music for most of her life. On her return to Ireland in 1997 she immediately started to teach for Newcastle CCÉ in County Down. Within her first year of teaching with the branch she brought the 15-18 group to a 2nd placing in the All Ireland.

She was a member of the Mullaghbawn Gfc Scór Group that brought two senior All-Ireland titles home to Mullaghbawn.

She has been teaching and developing music in the local South Armagh area since 2007. In 2011 she co-founded the Traditional Arts Partnership – South Armagh with other local musicians and Elaine is Musical Director. TAP has grown considerably since then and now teaches traditional music, song (and craic) to over 200 local children and adults. The ripple out of this is plain to be seen in local schools and social gatherings. Inclusivity is a core value for TAP and Elaine, as is the development of the social confidence of all their pupils.

TAP musicians have proudly represented the South Armagh area at County, Provincial and All-Ireland level and played at hundreds of community events. TAP has taken groups of 30 young musicians to Sitges for the annual Irish-Catalan music festival for the last three years.

Martha Guiny

Martha is a traditional flute and whistle player from County Down although her roots are certainly in South Armagh. Her dad hails from Forkhill and you can find Martha leading the session in MC Larkins in Forkhill of a Sunday.

She has recently been awarded the prestigious BBC Northern Ireland and Arts Council of Northern Ireland Young Musicians’ Platform Award. Martha has been immersed in the Irish Traditional Music scene from an early age and has toured internationally in Scotland, Denmark, South Korea, Norway, Brazil, Italy and the US.

She is a renowned teacher both internationally and all over Ireland. Martha graduated with a first class honours degree in Music at Dundalk Institute of Technology and later graduated with honours from her postgraduate studies at the Irish World Academy, University of Limerick.

Joanna Doran

Joanna is a local violinist/fiddle player and pianist. She began playing fiddle at the age of six and piano shortly thereafter. Despite fiddle being Joanna’s first passion, she has gained a reputation as a piano/keyboard accompanist.

Joanna began her third level education at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin where she studied violin performance under the tutelage of the renowned violin teacher, Maeve Broderick. On completion of a BA degree in Music, she completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and is now a music teacher by profession. Joanna has a Licentiate from the London College of Music, having been awarded a Diploma with Distinction in Violin Performance.

Having received many awards, most notably, first place at the prestigious Feis Ceoil Dublin, Joanna has ventured into the world of Folk music where she has carved out a unique style with a fusion of Classical, Traditional and Folk music. She plays fiddle in the local Folk band, Raglan and regularly performs with various orchestras and ensembles. Joanna enjoys working in the studio as a recording session musician.

Briege Murphy

Briege is a songwriter of contemporary folk with a love of Irish traditional songs. Her performances tell the story and inspiration behind her own songs and with a good dose of humour thrown in!

Such is the calibre of her song writing that Briege Murphys songs have been recorded by numerous artists including Frances Black, Niamh Parsons, Aoife Scott and Don Stiffe, Anthony John Clarke, The Border Collies ,Scold’s Bridle ,The Once (Canadian National folk award winners) Sue Matthews, Maryland and many more around the globe.

Briege Murphy has recorded 5 albums of her own work and also one of traditional music and American folk covers. She has received a “Keeper of the Tradition” award for her contribution to the culture of her county and country from the late Tommy Makem and has won “Best Female Bard”, at the Bard of Armagh, a humorous poetry competition.

Briege Murphy is in demand at national and international folk festivals and had toured New Zealand on the strength of this. Artists of great renown have applauded her work with Christy Moore saying of her voice “Lovely singing, great songs, a joy to hear“. Frances Black has been quoted of saying “She paints pictures with her words “whilst The Living Tradition publication has said she is “An Irish Nanci Griffiths, Briege’s voice is comparable to the best of the Irish female singers!”

Bláithín McCann

She is a traditional Gaelic singer, who draws largely from the rich heritage and song tradition of her native South Armagh, Oriel. Bláithín grew up in a household steeped in folk and traditional singing and a great love for the Irish language. In her late teens she was privileged to strike up a friendship with Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin – Singer, writer and scholar of Oriel song– who has mentored her through the years, Including 2018 when she invited Bláithín to perform with her for the TG4 Gradam ceoil awards of which Padraigín was a recipient. Bláithín spends her summers in the Donegal gaeltacht and has collected many songs there also. She also believes passionately in passing on our tradition to the next generation, tutoring many younger singers in the area.


Lottery Funded
NIEA DoE N&M DC Biodiversity

Quick Contact

Ring of Gullion AONB
Crossmaglen Community Centre,
O’Fiaich Square,
BT35 9AA.

Tel: +44 (0)330 137 4898


Visitor Servicing and Attractions: 0330 137 4046

for any visitor servicing questions.

Latest Tweets

Photo Galleries & Videos

Click to access the login or register cheese