- Winners 2015
- Past Winners
- About Gradam Ceoil
2010 – Seán McKiernan
A native Irish speaker, Seán hails from Carna in Co. Galway. His mother’s family home in Coillín, Carna, where he now lives was situated in the heartland of the great sean nós and folklore tradition. Seán’s grandfather Pádraic Mac Con Iomaire was acknowledged as man with a huge store of native lore.
His grandson Seán McKiernan was born and reared into this cultured, Irish speaking family in Boston. His early attempts at music included singing into the back of the radio, later on trying out the melodeon, before finally settling on the pipes.
Filled with curiosity about the pipes he was put in touch with Leo Rowsome, paid the princely sum of £10 for a practice set and began to teach himself. He returned to Ireland in 1965 having completed much of his education in the States.
Seán was at this time familiar with Willie Clancy’s music from the old Gael Linn 78 recordings. He became enthralled by Clancy’s piping and visited him in his home in Milltown Malbay many times. Willie undoubtedly became the biggest influence on his music and a close friend and a mentor.
Seán currently divides his time between Carna and Cork, where he teaches classical piano in the Cork School of Music. In recent years he has performed at Tionóls at home and in the States. He has performed in the Pipers Club in Dublin and is regarded by many as one of the greatest living piper.