On the first day the Connacht Feis in late summer 1910, competitors, judges and visitors were overtaken  by a great rain storm and took refuge in a tent pitched by the lake in Loughrea. On learning that Mrs McGowan’s class from Belclare were all singers an inpromptu concert was arranged by the organisers.  Padraig Pearse took charge of  proceedings and a table was set up in the tent for a stage.  The Belclare girls held the attention of a large crowd for over an hour. But the Connaught Tribune’s correspondent was impressed one girl in particular;

Eibhlin Ni Oisin who took first prize on the following day was the most note worthy singer of the group. She has the rare and supreme gift of detachment while singing. This is the characteristic of the best old style singers. I think Eibhlin seemed to sing for herself, just as a bird on a tree sings, and to be unaware of the presence of the audience. She touched the hearts of those who listened to her in Loughrea that day in the tent by the lake and her manner so natural and so modest, as well as the sweetness of her voice moved her hearers in a way few city singers have done.

Connaght Tribune  17th August 1910

Two days later, a second young woman was also cause for special mention.  Eibhlin’s sister Annie (here Eithne), recently returned from her teaching post in Trillick Co Tyrone, delighted a large crowd;

On the second night Eithne ni Oisin gave two songs.She had come from Tyrone on the same day , and tired as she was after a long journey, she succeded in delighting and surprising one of the largest audiences that Loughrea has ever seen at a concert. Eithne Ni Oisin is one of our best old style concert singers. She wins applause everywhere. A style of singing such as hers which is old and which pleases so many should need no defense. This young lady has successfully introduced the old style singing into Tyrone where Fr Matt Maguire is doing excellent work for the Irish Language and Irish Music. She is the leader of a small band of Belclare singers, who, with but little encouragement, have done much to  preserve and re-popularise our Irish songs and Irish style of singing.

Connaght Tribune  17th August 1910  


3 thoughts on “Storm by the Lake – Eibhlin and Eithne 1910

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