01 Jul 2022

Dunleer musician Brendan brings joy to Lourdes folk

Louth County Council arts service helps young patients

Dunleer musician Brendan brings joy to Lourdes folk

Award-winning traditional Irish musician Brendan McCreanor, from Dunleer, has successfully concluded his apprenticeship as a hospital musician.

Brendan has spent the last year learning how to bring appropriate live music onto the childrens' wards of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital. Along with cellist and programme leader, Gráinne Hope and guitarist and singer, Liam Merriman, Brendan has played for patients and families at the hospital on a weekly basis since August 2015.

Brendan is well known in traditional Irish music circles in Louth and beyond. Uilleann pipes, whistles and fiddle are his instruments of choice and he is also a founding member local traditional group, Kern.

He is uilleann pipes tutor at DkIT, and also teaches at the Droichead Arts Centre in Drogheda.

“I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to work so closely with kids,” said Brendan.

“What I have learned enables me to bring live music into the sensitive and challenging setting of a busy hospital ward.

“Not only that, I have found these new skills also inform my playing and presentation across all aspects of my work as I move forward. I look forward to developing my practice further in the area over the coming months. Thanks to all involved for this great development opportunity.”

Louth County Councillor Pio Smith said there is growing awareness that a positive and stimulating hospital environment contributes strongly to patients healing and rehabilitating better.

“This kind of initiative is of benefit to patients, their families, and the medical staff, and I’m delighted to see this fantastic pilot project taking place in Our Lady of Lourdes,” Cllr Smith saidf.

“Louth County Council’s support of this initiative, through the arts service, is something I’m very pleased about. I’d like also to congratulate Brendan on completing his apprenticeship and wish him well in his future work as a musician, and as a trained arts in health practitioner.”

These views are echoed by Dr John Fitzsimons, who is a consultant paediatrician at Our Lady of Lourdes.

“Having Brendan, Gráinne and Liam in our wards has been a great experience. They know exactly how to pitch their playing, calming and soothing children when they need to rest, and providing music games and singalongs when kids need to express themselves and have a blast. They have always brought a smile to faces when they come to the wards, which is very important in terms of wellbeing and reduced anxiety.”

The initiative has been a positive one for the whole hospital community.”

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