Branch History

It all started on 3rd December 1975, when a group of enthusiasts gathered in the boardroom of Warrenpoint Town Hall and formed a committee to promote Irish traditional music, song and dance throughout the South Down area.

The main driving force behind that ‘get-together’ was the late Fr Tom McConville R.I.P. (read tribute from Treoir) and among those who attended were Johnny Doyle R.I.P, Sadie McGuigan, Nano Farrell, Nuala Markey, Sean FarreIl R.I.P., Ciaran Hanna, Owen Morgan, Frances McVeigh, Mary Lambe, Maureen Fitzpatrick, Malachy Havern and Marie Hanna, a number of whom are still very active on the present committee. 

The inaugural committee of Warrenpoint's Rinn Mhic Giolla Rua CCE, elected on that night, was:
Chairperson: Johnny Doyle R.I.P.
Vice Chairperson: Mrs S McGuigan.
Secretary: Nano Farrell.
Treasurer: Nuala Markey.
Auditor: Fr Tom McConville R.I.P.

Those associated with the early years of the Branch were:

George McSweeney (piano accordeon), Mairead McAnulty, Peter Sloan (accordion), Jim Rice (piano accordeon), Jim Brown (accordeon), Sean Driscoll (piano), Paddy Rafferty R.I.P, Michael Hourican, (flute), Peter Gaynor R.I.P., Peter Keenan R.I.P (read tribute), Ciaran Hanna (accordeon, former tutor with the Branch and recently elected President), Patsy McDonald R.I.P. (accordeon and piano), Owen Morgan and Malachy Havern.

From such humble beginnings the Branch grew and grew through the late 70's, 80's and 90's and has entered the new millennium stronger and more vibrant than ever.

Membership has grown to unprecedented levels.

The weekly classes continue to go from strength to strength with over 120 attending each Wednesday evening in St Mark's High School. Fifteen tutors are employed to teach whistle, fiddle, accordeon, banjo, mandolin, guitar, bodhrán, flute and traditional singing in both Irish and English.