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Marcas Ó Murchú

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Marcas Ó Murchú (born 1961) is a Belfast-raised Irish woodwind flute player. In 1997 his album Ó Bhéal go Béal (CICD 126) was released. His latest seventeen-track CD, Turas Ceoil (CICD 163), features some of his musical friends and pupils, some quite old tunes as well as his own compositions.

He became Music Laureate Ard-Ollamh, the "Chief Bard of Irish Music"[1][2] at the All-Ireland fleadh cheoil in 2013. This was to recognise his success in teaching, promotion of Irish language through his musical programmes on BBC and RTE-RnaG, and his research into Irish music. He is known for his breadth of knowledge of musicians of yesteryear, especially musical emigrants from Ireland to USA.[3] Some of his historical research on seventeenth-century chieftains of Irish royal descent in Europe was published in a large volume of essays by Ulster University.[4]

He has represented Ireland at the Edinburgh festival as guest of Iomairt Cholmcille organization to promote links with Gaelic Scotland. This was the very first occasion the event was held, the Ó Domhnaill Family/Skara Brae and Oisin Mac Diarmada of Téada were among the others. He has been invited to USA and Canada by Comhaltas and Irish Department of Foreign Affairs in 1983 and 1990. He also represented Ireland at the An Chruinnaght festival in the Isle of Man and the Pan Celtic festival in Scotland. His fluency in Irish and Spanish and an ability to communicate makes him a popular choice for concerts and events. He lectured in Spanish in BIFHE Belfast Institute and in Music in University of Ulster and Limerick University. He also lectured in Irish language and literature in Magee College, Derry.[5]

Ó Murchú has also been on several of BBC's traditional programmes including Musical Traditions[6] and 'Seinn liom'[7]' where he talks about his musical journey through life. He talks about meeting some of his relatives from Roscommon especially the blind composer, Josie McDermott and how he inspired him in his flute playing.

Ó Murchú has performed on TG4 on numerous occasions and has presented a number of programmes, most notably, Geantraí. A fluent Irish and French speaker, he is known for broadcasting a weekly summer radio show, Turas Ceoil, on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta relating to Irish music for many years.

Since 1993 he has lived in Derry. Some of his pupils have become excellent musicians and linguists. He was solo flute player for the specially arranged third movement of Shaun Davey's Relief of Derry, originally composed for Planxty piper Liam Ó Flynn. He played solo flute with a 500-piece flute orchestra for charity in 2014.[8] He teaches Spanish and Irish at St Columb's College in Derry, and has taught at the main traditional music workshops throughout Ireland and Europe. He is a senior flute teacher at the Willie Clancy Summer School and has taught several All-Ireland champions from beginners.

He donated more than one thousand hours of his own field recordings to the Irish Traditional Music Archive in Dublin. It is believed to be the biggest-ever collection of such material.


  1. ^ Laffey, Sean. "Editor". Irish Music Magazine. Irish Music Magazine. Retrieved 2013. 
  2. ^ "Marcus honoured with Chief Bard of Irish music". 2013-07-30. Retrieved 2015-03-30. 
  3. ^ "Marcas Ó Murchú: A Century of Irish Traditional Recordings in the USA – a modern viewpoint". 2014-10-18. Retrieved 2015-03-30. 
  4. ^ "Imeacht na nIarlaí". 2013-07-23. Retrieved 2015-03-30. 
  5. ^ "Ulster University". Retrieved 2015-03-30. 
  6. ^ "BBC Four - Musical Traditions, The Flute:Belfast Sessions, Heartlands Of The Flute". Retrieved 2015-03-30. 
  7. ^ "Irish - Seinn Liom le Marcas Ó Murchú". 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2015-03-30. 
  8. ^ "The Big Flute Challenge, Belfast, September 2014". Retrieved 2015-03-30. 

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