TG4 Announces Gradam Ceoil Recipients

Derek Hickey – recipient of the Gradam Ceoil TG4 award. (Photo: Alan Place)

TG4 Announces Gradam Ceoil Recipients

Artists will be presented with their awards at a gala event at University Concert Hall in Limerick on 5 May.

TG4 has announced the recipients of this year’s Graham Ceoil awards. Now in their 27th year, the honours recognise those who have made a significant contribution to Irish traditional music, song and dance.

This year’s recipients include accordion player Derek Hickey (Gradam Ceoil/Musician Award), Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin (Amhránaí/Singer Award), Macdara Ó Faoláin (Ceoltóir Óg/Young Musician Award), Jean Butler (Gradam Saoil/Lifetime Achievement award), Ryan Molloy (Cumadóir/Composer Award), Liz and Yvonne Kane (Grúpa Ceoil/Music Group Award), and Cairdeas na bhFidiléirí (Gradam Comaoine/Outstanding Contribution Award)

The announcements were made at a lunchtime concert at the Irish World Academy at the University of Limerick yesterday (26 March). The artists will be presented with their awards at a gala concert and awards ceremony at University Concert Hall, Limerick, on 5 May. The event will be broadcast live on TG4.

Commenting on this year’s awards, TG4 Commissioning Editor Proinsias Ní Ghráinne said:

TG4 is delighted to be afforded this opportunity to recognise these stars that shine bright within our tradition. Gradam is a token of gratitude from us to the many performances who grace our traditional music programmes week in, week out. We are delighted that we can help bring their music to global audiences through the live broadcast of Gradam Ceoil 2024 on TG4’s broadcast platforms. Comhghairdeas leis na faighteoirí uilig.

Gradam Ceoil recipients
Derek Hickey, from Adare, Co. Limerick, began playing at the age of ten. As a teenager, he joined the Shannonside Céilí Band and toured extensively throughout Europe. In 1991 Frankie Gavin invited him to play a regular session in Kinvara, Co. Galway, and at eighteen Hickey joined Arcady, Johnny ‘Ringo’ McDonagh’s band. In 1995, Hickey joined De Dannan and recorded two albums with the group. He is the button accordion tutor on the BA Irish Music and Dance at the Irish World Academy and in 2022 released his own solo album.

Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin is a Dublin-based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. He is a member of the band Skipper’s Alley and has performed with Jiggy, featuring on both their albums. He also collaborates with Clare fiddle and viola player Ultan O’Brien and their debut album Solas an Lae won best album at the RTÉ Folk Awards in 2021. In February of this year, Ó Ceannabháin was awarded Folk Singer of the Year and Best Original Folk Track at the Folk Awards. His debut solo album The Deepest Breath was released in 2022.

Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin (Photo: Alan Place)

Macdara Ó Faoláin is a multi-instrumentalist and instrument maker from An Rinn, Co. Waterford. He has recorded and performed on bouzouki with many well-known names including Hickey, The Friel Sisters, Nell Ní Chróinín, Cormac McCarthy and Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh. He is also a professional luthier, building fretted instruments – primarily bouzoukis and mandolins – for clients internationally from his studio at An Sean Phobal. He is a founding member of the group Nuadán, along with his brothers Cárthach and Pax, with whom he has recorded two albums, Lá Laindí Lugha and Dén Díobháil. Ó Faoláin recently completed a degree in the Cork School of Music.

Macdara Ó Faoláin (Photo: Alan Place)

Dancer and choreographer Jean Butler started her performance career in New York with Mick Moloney’s Greenfields of America. She subsequently toured with the Chieftains before choreographing and starring in the original Riverdance and Dancing on Dangerous Ground. Her most recent production, What We Hold, premiered at the Dublin Theatre Festival in 2022 and had its North American premiere at the Irish Arts Center with a sellout run of 30 shows. In 2018 Butler founded Our Steps, which has created an archive of solo set dances and oral history interviews spanning seven decades of history from Ireland, England, Scotland, the United States and Canada. She has taught at Princeton University, University of Notre Dame Global Center, Irish World Academy and Glucksman Ireland House, NYU.

Jean Butler

Ryan Molloy is a composer, piano and fiddle player from Pomeroy, Co. Tyrone. His music has been recorded on over thirty albums and he has worked with Fergal Scahill, Paddy Glackin, Iarla Ó Lionáird, the Danish String Quartet, the Ulster Orchestra and Irish Chamber Orchestra. He was commissioned by RTÉ Lyric FM to write a concerto for Irish harp and orchestra and his work has represented Ireland at the ISCM World New Music Days festivals in Hong Kong, Vancouver and Auckland/Christchurch. His first solo recording Pianophony was released in 2019 and earned him two RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Award nominations. That year also saw the release of Tempered, a recording of music for uilleann pipes and piano, as well as an EP featuring the song cycle Buaine na Gaoithe performed by the Damselfly Trio. Ryan is Associate Professor of composition at Maynooth University.

Ryan Molloy (Photo: Alan Place)

From Letterfrack in County Galway, Liz and Yvonne Kane came to prominence when they toured with Sharon Shannon as members of The Woodchoppers group and featured on the album The Diamond Mountain Sessions. In 2002 they released their debut album The Well Tempered Bow, followed by Under the Diamond, Side by Side and In Memory of Paddy Fahey featuring 15 of the Galway composer’s compositions as well as newly written tunes from both Liz and Yvonne. The Kane sisters are renowned interpreters of the work of Fahey and are also fiddle teachers in Conamara.

Yvonne and Liz Kane (Photo: Alan Place)

Cairdeas na bhFidiléirí was formed in the early 1980s to help promote the fiddle playing tradition of Donegal. Its influence extends to every fiddle player in the county, from Tommy Peoples to Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and rising stars such as Megan Nic Fhionnghaile. Led by musician and author Caoimhín MacAoidh and fiddle-maker Rab Cherry, the organisation’s main events include the annual Donegal Fiddlers’ Summer School in Glencolmcille and the October Donegal Fiddlers’ Meeting in Glenties. Cairdeas na bhFidiléirí has issued a range of recordings and shares information about fiddle styles and associated history and folklore on its website,

Rab Cherry, Aidan O’Donnell, Caoimhín MacAoidh, Conor Caldwell and Tara Connaghan of Cairdeas na bhFidiléirí (Photo: Alan Place)

The TG4 announcements were followed yesterday by a separate event at the Irish World Academy – the conferring of an Honorary Doctorate on the late musician and scholar Mick Moloney. The event featured contributions from Dr Niall Keegan, Dr Helen Phelan, poet Vincent Woods, musicians Louise and Michelle Mulcahy who toured with Moloney, and students of the Academy.

To purchase tickets for the awards ceremony, visit For more on the Gradam Ceoil TG4 awards, visit

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Published on 27 March 2024

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