My Love for Music
by Hamish O'Carroll

I started learning Irish music at a very young age. I was about 5 years old when I joined Ballylongford Comhaltas and began learning the Tin Whistle. My grandad was the one who first introduced me to Irish music. He would always have old records of Irish songs and tunes and never failed to pull out his CD player and sing or hum along with the music. 2 years later I wanted to progress onto a more difficult instrument and I became eager to learn the flute however I was told I was not ready. I then set my eyes on learning the accordion with Willie Larkin. I played the accordion for a few years and competed in my first Fleadh Cheoil in Cahersiveen in 2014. However, I could not settle on an instrument and decided to learn the Fiddle and Flue to find out which one I liked best. After three years with the fiddle, I decided it wasn’t for me. My dad bought me my first Flute which I loved and had for many years, it was then I decided I wanted to focus on the flute and I began taking private lessons with Moria O'Connell. I loved the flute and played in many bands and groups throughout my years in Ballylongford Comhaltas.

When I was 13, I moved to Ballydonoghue/Lisselton branch of Comhaltas, it was here I met Katie McNamara and started focussing on broadening my tune collection and learning new techniques and styles. Katie had rented the branch Harp to my sister and it was when I heard her playing it, I knew I wanted to play it. Katie suggested that I learn the slow piece for our Grupaí Cheoil and I began lessons with Eithne Walsh. I instantly became attached. I seemed to have chosen the right instrument for me as I won the first competition, I entered on the harp in the Kerry Fleadh in 2017. Two years later in the 2019 Fleadh I decided to compete in the slow air competition for the first time. I won the County Fleadh and came in second place at the Munster Fleadh in Ennis, qualifying for the All Ireland’s in Drogheda. I came in third place receiving my first All Ireland medal.

However, this was not my first Ireland final. In 2018 our Grupaí Cheoil won the Munster fleadh and went on to play proudly in the All Ireland’s. We unfortunately didn’t take anything home with us but we were all delighted to make it there. I loved playing in the groups and bands and was always happy to dedicate my time to practicing and working with the different groups.

I always love to attend festivals and concerts learning new music and different styles from all over Ireland. I always loved doing workshops as I feel I benefited greatly from each one of them and would recommend everyone to take as many as you can.

I hope to keep playing and improving and maybe one day take home an All Ireland title.