Cambridge Comhaltas was established in 1992, and originally met at The Shannon. After a short time at The Globe P.H. the branch met for several years at The Grasshopper Pub, in Mill Road until Angie and Peader decided to move back to Ireland. The branch then moved to its present home at the Rathmore Club in 1997.
In 1994, the branch had its first qualifier for the All Britain Fleadh (Amy Hall) and in 1996, its first qualifier for the All Ireland Fleadh (Ellen Cleary). Alan Mcleod became our first All Ireland medal winner in 2001 and in 2003 Adam Brown became our first All Ireland Champion.
The branch has held several workshops over the past few years, with tutors such as Carmel and John Burke from Coventry, Joe Searson and Mike Mulvy from London, and Hazel Fairbairn from local band Horace X.
In 2001, thanks to a grant from Awards for All, we held workshops with Ned Kelly from Nenagh, Mary Nugent, from Dublin, and Brendan McGlinchie from Brighton (originally from Armagh.) In 2002, workshops were held with Anne-Marie Mcgowan, John Regan, Catherine McEvoy, John Carty and Elaine Walsh
In 1999 & 2002, Cambridge hosted the Echoes of Erin concert tour at the Mumford theatre.
In December 2000, the branch held a duet competition at Kings College. The competitors were chosen randomly and an adjudicator was invited from London (Michael Nugent.) Many of the younger musicians were encouraged by the more experienced players they were partnered with.
Cambridge has supported Senior Culra since 1993. Culra was set up to provide opportunities for branch members to learn more about their Irish heritage, involving talks, visits, music and language in various locations in Ireland. Following its success, a Junior Culra was born in 1998. Several of our Junior members have visited places such as County Mayo, (Killala & Ballinrobe) County Kerry (Ballybunion) and County Antrim (Glen Ariff).
In November 2002, the branch celebrated its 10th Anniversary with a ceili held at St Philip’s School. Music was provided by Clan na hEireann from Birmingham and a great time was had by all. During the evening, a cup was presented to the Region, in memory of Eamon Clery, our founding chairman.
Written By Ellen Cleary