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Cultural traditions being kept alive in Fermanagh

22 July 2019

The Market House Culture Group based in the rural Fermanagh village of Maguiresbridge has recently completed another very successful year of Piping and Drumming Tuition kindly funded by The Ulster Scots Agency.

Fermanagh has a rich history of marching bands and music with a great Ulster Scots connection, not only in the music played and the culture expressed but also in the people themselves. Many of the students’ heritage that took part in the tradition come from Ulster Scots families and whilst some had only a scant knowledge of Ulster Scots previous to attending the tuition, some already had strong ties with the culture and heritage. It was interesting to see the traditional Scottish surnames on the attendance list, even a few strong Border Reiver names including Graham, Johnston and Armstrong.

The tuition programme ran over 20 evenings with a great attendance and it was heartening to see students regularly coming together to learn new skills of piping and drumming or honing a skill they have already gained. Ages ranges varied with many students travelling a distance each night to avail of this much needed tuition, taking time out of their busy schedules to commit to our classes and we were delighted to see some of these students performing for the first time in some of the local silver, accordion, flute and pipe bands when the parading calendar started.

A spokesperson from the The Market House Culture Group commented; "The Group and its fantastic tutors got a real feeling of pride when they saw that they were making a real and positive difference in the local community. Learning a musical talent can open so many doors for not only our young people but for people of all ages. It is never too late to start learning a new skill and keeping our brain cells awake and active.

They continue; "We would like to thank the Ulster Scots Agency, without whom we couldn’t have acquired such high quality tutors or ran this Tuition Project. It is our aim, as a Group set up to promote our culture, that we continue as long as possible to keep the interest and enthusiasm of Ulster Scots music, culture and heritage alive and well in Fermanagh for the future generations to come."

Participants enjoyed an end of project get-together where they held a barbecue as a thank you to the students, their families, the tutors and supporters. On the night there was some very tasty food and attendees were treated to a great musical display by the students, tutors and some local musicians, attendance certificates were handed out and a great night’s craic was had by all.