The Drogheda branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóiri Éireann was founded in 1969 by Roger Ryan, Tom Kavanagh and Bro. Forrestal. It’s first venue was in Roger’s house in William Street, moving on to Fair Street and later to Ballsgrove where, today, it has progressed to become an active branch uniting musicians, dancers, singers and storytellers. The ages of the members range from early childhood to senior citizenship.
In March each year members visit local schools and bring live music, song and dance to hundreds of students. They have produced many shows throughout the years, including Drogheda 800 – a celebration of the history of Drogheda from 1198 to 1998 through music, song and dance.
In 2004 branch members travelled to Inis Óirr where they performed Journey from the Boyne ‘as gaeilge’ in the local Halla. As well as entertaining widely in Ireland the group has travelled to France, Spain, Holland, England and Scotland bringing Ireland’s ancient traditions and culture to fellow Europeans. They have also hosted visitors from all over the world.
The branch has produced Seisiún in Bettystown, Slane and Drogheda and took part in Scoraíocht competitions in the Fleadh Nua. Members also take part in Fleadhanna Cheoil and have always been actively involved in Louth County Board. In 2010 Drogheda Comhaltas was very active in organising the Leinster Fleadh in Dunleer.
Music in the branch was greatly influenced over the years by people who settled in the area from other parts of the country, e.g. John Gray a fiddle player from Leitrim, Paddy Joyce (Mayo), Julia Murray (Donegal) and Pat Duffy (Monaghan).
Brendan Carolan and Seamus Mc Glynn were delegates to Leinster Council for many years and were awarded with Long Service awards in Tullamore in 2001.
Drogheda Comhaltas hold weekly sessions in the Holy Family Community Centre, Ballsgrove, Drogheda every Tuesday night at 9.00 p.m. and organise classes every Thursday and Friday in the same venue. There is a Céad Míle Fáilte for all and everybody is invited to join in and bring their own talents to enhance the entertainment.