The Coleman Irish Music Centre, situated in Gurteen, Co. Sligo, is one of the best equipped Irish music centres of Traditional Irish Music in Ireland and is dedicated to the memory of the legendary fiddle player, Michael Coleman (1891-1945) universally acclaimed as one of the finest traditional fiddle players of his era. The Irish music centre which draws together the many strands of south Sligo’s rich musical heritage was founded with the aim to preserve, promote and foster Irish traditional music, culture, heritage, the Irish language and to generate socio-economic activity in the local area.
The Visitors’ Experience
The visitors’ experience is informal, welcoming and friendly and includes an audio-visual presentation on the history of traditional Irish music, an exhibition area equipped with interactive touch screens featuring musicians old and new on various instruments and an opportunity to even learn a step or two of a dance! Following this, one can enjoy a complimentary cup of tea/coffee and get a chance to browse through the extensive selection of CDs, music books and instruments available in the Music/Gift Shop or shop online here.
Music classes are held from September to June for children and adults. A unique feature of the Coleman Centre is the all year round availability of individual/group music tuition. Special school programmes catering for Leaving/Junior Cert., Transition, and National Schools are available covering traditional music from its historical background, regional styles and ornamentation to the contemporary music of today.
Throughout the year, many top class traditional music concerts and events are presented in the intimate 130 tiered seat theatre.
Michael Coleman Heritage Centre Limited
The Company was registered in 1993 with sixteen directors drawn from the local community, Sligo County Council and local businesses. After six years of determination and hard work fundraising and making various grant applications, the Centre was finally opened in 1999 with grant aid from Peace & Reconciliation, INTERREG, International Fund for Ireland, and Sligo Leader Partnership. Generous donations were also received from Sligo County Council, Green Isle, The Kennedy Charitable Trust with the site being donated by the local farmers Co-operative, N.C.F. The company also received a host of smaller grants and donations from organisations and individuals to complete the fundraising.
In 2004, Mr. Eamon O’Cuiv who was Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, gave generous grant assistance with matching funds from International Fund for Ireland. At this time, two directors from Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann were appointed to the board of directors. In 2006, the Centre was designated as the Regional Resource Centre for Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann for Counties Sligo, Mayo, Leitrim, Roscommon and Fermanagh. Office space and staff were appointed to administer to the various branches in these five counties. As part of the Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Eireann Programme for the Development of the Traditional Arts, generous grant aid was received to extend and develop the centre and its facilities.
The Comhaltas staff will facilitate the visitor to link into The Comhaltas Traditional Music Archive. This is a national project of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, based within the seven Comhaltas Regional Resource Centres of Ireland. The office also contains many archival items and artifacts, well worth a visit.