The palatial Wexford Opera House, was the venue for the prestigious TG4 Gradam Ceoil (Traditional Music Awards). The recorded and edited programme will be the highlight of their Easter Sunday output. This is the Oscars of Irish traditional and the talent on display was awesome. The Sharon Shannon band, with Dezi Donnelly and Mike McGoldrick, got the event off to a rollicking start.

Daithi O Se was in great form and with his co-presenter, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, kept the audience laughing and happy during the various takes and re-takes etc. O Se is the man and he has that way of being fun and professional at the same time.

There were three significant highlights to the event. One was the Awards given to Rey Hall and Roger Sherlock to celebrate and honour the work done in England by Irish musicians to a homesick diaspora. Two, that in the Roll of Absent Friends, those gone to their eternal concert, the Waterford piper, Tommy Kearney, was rightly remembered. The third was to see Irish actor, Brendan Gleeson, who presented one of the Awards, playing fiddle, during the closing onstage jam-session. Now that’s something you won’t see at the Oscars…more’s the pity.

Carrick-on-Bannow legends, John and Pip Murphy, with Rick Epping, made the harmonicas dance. It was a pleasure to see Len Graham onstage with Award winner Sarah Ann O’Neill, the Co. Tyrone folk singer and sister of the late Geordie Hanna.

Conor McEvoy got the Young Musician award and the Composer award went to Con Fada O’Drisceoil who writes and sings those traditional and bilingual songs that blend irreverence with fine wordplay.

The top award went to Shaskeen legend, Charlie Harris who also played the London circuit as one of our finest accordion players.

The programme goes out Easter Sunday and it will impress you and bless you with music and celebration.