Finnish and American musicians amongst those to take to the stage in Cork for Seán O Riada gold medal competition (Press Release)

RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta

15 traditional flute and whistle players, including a Lutheran priest Markus Asunta from Finland, young Irish American musician Sean Gavin from Detroit, and award-winning Scottish guitarist and flute player Tom Oakes, will be among those taking to the stage in the Rochestown Park Hotel in Cork on Friday 13 January to compete for the Seán Ó Riada gold medal and €2500 in prize money.  The judges on the night will be renowned musicians Mary Bergin and Michael Tubridy, and they will be joined by Matt Molloy via Skype from 1500 miles away in the Canary Islands.

The 15 finalists were chosen from among over 60 musicians from all over the world who entered the competition on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta programme Cuireadh chun Ceoil, and the final will be broadcast live on the station on Friday night, and can also be watched live online at

Peadar Ó Riada inaugurated the competition two years ago, taking the idea from his father, the great Seán Ó Riada, who ran a similar competition on his radio programme in the sixties.  Its aim is to bring the worldwide family of listeners to his Cuireadh chun Ceoil programme closer, using modern technology that allows people to easily record and transmit music at little cost.  The competition sets itself apart from others in that it rewards musicality and creativity in playing, not just technical proficiency, as can sometimes be the case.  Young Dublin fiddler Aoife O’Brien won the medal in the competition’s inaugural final last January.

The judges are all highly respected musicians.  Mary Bergin, originally from Dublin but now living in Galway, is considered one of the masters of the tin whistle.  She has played in various groups over the years, including Dé Danann, and is currently a member of Dordán.  Michael Tubridy is a gifted musician from Clare and was one of the founders of the Chieftains.  Matt Molloy needs little introduction.  Originally from Roscommon, but now resident in Westport, Matt is a member of The Chieftains, was one of the founders of The Bothy Band in the seventies and also played with Planxty. 

The competition can be heard live on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta on Friday 13 January from 7pm-9pm, and also live online at  It can be seen live at

The Rochestown Park Hotel is offering a special deal of €40 for a night’s accommodation and entry to the competition

Issued by RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta
Wednesday 11 January 2012
The Seán Ó Riada medal has been designed by Cashel goldsmith Pádraig Ó Mathúna and features an engraving of Ó Riada on one side, and a representation of the poem Dán Aimhirgín (Song of Amergin) on the other, done in a La Tene style.  The medal consists of 2 silver plates back to back, and following the competition on Friday Pádraig will engrave the winners name and the year into the medal, and it will then be coated in gold. 
Further information:
Caitríona Ní Bhaoill, Press Officer, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta

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