Gradam an Chomhaltais: Úna Ó Murchú

Úna Ó Murchú, Director of the Brú Ború Cultural Centre in Cashel, has been awarded Gradam an Chomhaltais, the supreme accolade of Comhaltas Ceoltóiri Éireann. Úna, formerly of Kilmayley, Co. Clare, was presented with the award at a ceremony in Cultúrlann na hÉireann, Dublin by Clare man and Trustee General of Comhaltas Pádraig Ó Ceallaigh.

Úna began producing shows of traditional music song and dance at Cashel’s Halla na Féile for summer visitors to the town. Such was the appeal of these shows that one was performed for President Ronald Regan and his wife Nancy on their visit to Ballyporeen in 1984. The Brú Ború group, as it was now called, appeared several times on Ireland’s most popular television programme, ‘The Late Late Show’. As their popularity grew, it was decided that the group needed a permanent home and the idea for the Brú Ború Cultural Centre in Cashel was born.

Following years of hard work, planning, fund-raising and building, Brú Ború was officially opened in 1991, with facilities including a state of the art auditorium, restaurant, craft shop, information centre and genealogy suite. Brú Ború’s reputation grew worldwide with a performance at Expo ’90 in Osaka, Japan, and subsequently at Expos in Seville, Shanghai and, most recently, in Milan. Over the years they have entertained audiences from the UK to the USA, throughout Europe and as far afield as the People’s Republic of China.

Úna’s work has gained her national and international recognition. She has served two terms on the Arts Council of Ireland and received numerous awards for her promotion of traditional Irish culture at home and abroad.

Under Úna’s directorship, the Brú Ború Centre in Cashel has gained a reputation as a unique cultural centre and a major regional tourist attraction. Visitors experience all the energy of a vibrant and living tradition, while appreciating the roots from which Irish music, song and dance have grown. For years Úna Ó Murchú has lovingly tended those roots and Brú Ború is just one of the many great achievements that stand as a worthy testament to the ongoing energy, dedication and imagination of a unique Irishwoman, a practical patriot and a true Gael!

Úna, a teacher and guidance counsellor by profession, was seconded to the Youth Employment Agency to produce CAREER VISION the first ever career videos for schools.

Ardstiúrthóir, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann and former member of Seanad Éireann.
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