Zoe Conway is taking part in the Trad at Heart events as part of the 2018 Fleadh
As Louth gears up for the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann festival (taking place in Drogheda from August 12th - the 15th) and many music lovers are starting to plan how they will enjoy the biggest traditional music festival in the world, a thought should be spared for those who will be confined to hospitals or care homes for the week.
To counteract this, a programme of concerts and smaller recitals has been organised by CreateLouth, the Arts Service of Louth County Council.
The initiative Entitled Trad @ Heart will see musicians travelling to nursing homes, day care settings, and hospitals to perform for the service users and patients in these facilities all over Louth.
Brian Harten, Louth County Arts Officer, said: “We’ve been involved with the on-going music-in-hospital initiative at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda for some years now, which sees specially-trained musicians performing at bedsides in certain wards, in partnership with the medical staff.
“Because we see the benefit that this service brings, it seemed a logical step to expand this to more healthcare settings across the county. And with Kids Classics, the organisation which delivers this service, we’ve come up with a programme which will ensure many patients will get to enjoy the Fleadh, even if they can’t get to the streets of Drogheda.”
The Trad @ Heart musicians will include Dunleer piper, Brendan McCreanor, Dundalk duo extraordinaire Zoe Conway and John McIntyre, cellist Gráinne Hope, guitarist Liam Merriman, and banjo player Eoin Ó Meachair, as well as some special surprise guests.
The healthcare settings these musicians will be visiting include Sunhill Nursing Home, Termonfechin, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, The Cottage Hospital, and St Mary’s Hospital, all in Drogheda, and Louth County Hospital, St. Oliver Plunkett Hospital, and The Birches, all in Dundalk.
They will be joined by Music Generation Louth’s Young Traditional Ensemble for some of the visits.
Dunleer man Brendan McCreanor, who is a trained musician-in-health, and has worked with fellow musicians in Our Lady of Lourdes for some years now says the project has numerous benefits.
He explained: “Being able to read a situation, to have empathy with patients and their families, and to work closely with health professionals, these are as important as the skills you have as a musician.
“Music has the ability to move people, to cheer them up, to console, and it allows people in sometimes stressful situations to forget their worries. And at a time like the Fleadh, I’ve no doubt that people who are in hospitals and care homes will really appreciate being part of the event, and the enjoyment it will bring.”