Feis Ceoil competition kicks off marking its 120th year

More than 5,000 young classical musicians will compete in almost 200 competitions

The annual Feis Ceoil music competition is marking its 120th anniversary as more than 5,000 young Irish musicians take part in almost 200 choral, instrumental and conducting contests.

The classical music event kicked off on Saturday at Dublin’s RDS and continues until Friday March 18th.

"ESB Feis Ceoil occupies a unique position in Irish life," said Feis Ceoil chief executive Laura Gilsenan. "It is an essential element in the musical infrastructure of the country and has made an immeasurable contribution to the study and cultivation of music. We hope we can continue to do so for another 120 years."

Since its beginnings the competition has only once been postponed when in 1916 it was put back due the events of the Easter Rising. More than eight decades later, in 2001, it was cancelled during the Foot and Mouth crisis.


The Feis Ceoil was founded in 1896 when a Mr T O’Neill wrote to the Evening Telegraph complaining of the lack of attention paid to Irish music and musicians. The competition was subsequently set up and went on to feature the country’s best classical musicians including Bernadette Greevy, Hugh Tinney, Cara O’Sullivan, Finghin Collins, Claudia Boyle.

An exhibition is being held in the Little Museum of Dublin on Stephen’s Green from April 28th until the end of June to mark the event’s 120 years of competitions, featuring historical documents, letters, cups, medals, photographs, footage and live performances.

All of the competitions, from opera performances to children's choirs, are open to the public with €5 day tickets available. The Feis's gala concert featuring a selection of the best musicians from the competition will take place at the National Concert Hall in Dublin on April 6th. FeisCeoil.ie

Results from ESB Feis Ceoil

Sunday March 6th

McCullough Cup : 1st Robert Finegan, 2nd Amy Gillen, VHC Chris Moriarty-Pearson, HC Meadhbh O'Rourke , C John Sweeney

Monday March 7th

Dorothy Stokes Cup: 1st Jude McCann, 2nd Aidan Chan, VHC Jane Brazil — HC Emily Crowley — HC Tiffany Qiu — C Conor Williams

Nordell Cup: 1st Peter Regan, C Jimmy Goeijenbier, C Oran Halligan

Senior Violin: 1st Luke Kehoe Roche, 2nd Claire Austen, HC Aleksandra Malinowska

Junior Violin (A): 1st Caoilfhinn Tan, 2nd Anna Mitchell, VHC Blaithin Cotter , VHC Lily Kettle, HC Cian Dwyer, HC Emily Jane Doyle , HC Isabel Doyle, HC Jane Brazil, C Sorcha O'Riain

Plunket Greene Cup : 1st Andrew Gavin, 2nd Dana Tanase , VHC Eoin Conway, VHC Peter Manning , VHC Peter O'Reilly, HC Lorna Breen

Junior Flute (B): 1st Lucy Yin , 2nd Muireann Lohan, VHC Aoife de hOra, HC Emily O'Brien , C Xenia Ma

Junior Flute (C): 1st Eileen Cleary, 2nd Nicole Oprisan , VHC Abigail O'Neill , HC Evan Walsh Willow Park School, C Eabha Murphy

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak is an Irish Times reporter and cohost of the In the News podcast