Local singer gets top scholarship

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A Derry musician has been announced as the recipient of a prestigious scholarship in memory of one of Donegal’s greatest sean-nós singers.

Derry singer Claire Mac Ruairí has been awarded The Scoláireacht Éamoinn Ghráinne (the Éamonn Ghráinne Scholarship), in memory of the famous Tory islander singer, the late Éamonn ‘Ghráinne’ Mac Ruairí.

At a special ceremony at An tSean Bheairic recently, Bella Mac Ruairí, the widow of Éamonn, presented Claire with the scholarship in front of a large crowd of dignitaries and traditional artists and singers.

Claire, who still lives in Derry, developed a love of sean-nós singing on her many visits to the Donegal Gaeltacht over the years.

From an early age, she took a keen interest in the language and culture of the Donegal Gaeltacht and learnt how to sing in the Donegal style under the tutelage of well-known sean-nós luminaries such as Doimnic Mac Giolla Bhríde, Connie Mhary Mhicí and Tony Mac Ruairí.

She has gone on to become a respected sean-nós singer and teacher in her own right.

Speaking at the ceremony, Claire expressed her delight on receiving the scholarship: “It is an absolute privilege to receive this scholarship. To say I’m in awe is an understatement. Éamonn Ghráinne Mac Ruairí is recognised internationally as one of the finest exponents of the rich musical and cultural heritage of the Donegal Gaeltacht, so it is fantastic for me be associated with his name. I hope my term on the scholarship will do justice to his memory and that I can help foster the singing tradition he loved so much”.

As part of the scholarship, Claire will take up the position of sean-nós singer in residence over an eight month period in an tSean Bheairic, the arts and cultural venue in Falcarragh. She will be tasked with developing and nurturing the sean-nós tradition of the area, and delivering a programme of singing activities.