WATCH: First Lambeg drum competition in Dublin passes off ‘with reams of praise’ from hundreds of spectators

A Lambeg drum competition in the heart of Dublin has passed off with “reams of praise” from the hundreds of spectators who stopped to enjoy the spectacle, organisers have reported.

By Philip Bradfield
Sunday, 27th March 2022, 3:06 pm
Updated Sunday, 27th March 2022, 3:08 pm

The Sir Edward Carson Memorial drumming competition took place in the grounds of Dublin Orange Hall on Northumberland Road in the south of the city after over six months of planning.

 A dozen Lambeg drums took part in a traditional Lambeg Drumming match from 3pm to 5pm on Saturday near Mount Street Bridge, only 700m from St Stephens Green.

Right in the heart of Dublin, the new EU office is less than 300m away and the venue is within 600m of a plethora of international embassies.

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Drummer Alex Dale taking part in the event in central Dublin

“I totally confess there was some nervousness as comes automatically with any expression of orange cultural identity in the Republic of Ireland,” said Markethill bands enthusiast and one of the organisers, Quincy Dougan, from Markethill.

“You just never know who might choose to disrupt or even attack!

“We had literally no idea that the football was on at the Aviva Stadium so that was another factor. Hundreds and hundreds of fans passed the Orange Hall all day on route to the match, while dozens were sitting outside a pub directly opposite.

“In the end any concerns were totally unfounded. A cadre of drums facilitated by the South Ulster Drumming Association held a competition with no upsets or interruptions. For about two hours the noise of the drum was heard all through Dublin City centre and south Dublin!

“Football supporters, tourists and locals gathered continually at the entrance to the hall yard - no one was allowed in just to make it easier to keep an eye on everything - to watch and listen to the drums.

“I don’t believe there was a single harsh word said from the hundreds and hundreds who witnessed the spectacle; to the contrary there was a ream of praise, occasional clapping and some general questions about the instrument and what was going on.

“The highlight has to be getting six drums simultaneously drumming to end the day. That truly DID get a great reception.”

He says that few Lambeg drums have ventured to Dublin in the past, but primarily for narrow display purposes only.

“It is without doubt the first time such an event has been held in the city. Despite the complex rhythms, ornate decoration on the instruments and immense volume, the criteria utilised to denote the winner includes none of those characteristics. Judges immersed within the tradition for decades instead pay close attention to the ‘music’, and mark on the note and tone each drum produces.”

Quincy noted that there was even a pub nearby named “The Sir Edward” after Dubliner and legendary unionist icon Sir Edward Carson, but insists he had no time to visit on this occasion.

There are several Lambeg enthusiasts living in Dublin City and the surrounding counties, and it was their interest and efforts that have brought the proceedings to fruition.

John, who used his first name only, was raised in Dublin’s Southside, and explains the motivation behind the event.

“Myself and several friends were first introduced to the Lambeg via the annual Twelfth of July parades in Northern Ireland, but it was attending the Clady Night event in Markethill held on the last Saturday night of July each year that really sparked an interest,” he said.

He hopes the Dublin date will become a staple within the Lambeg calendar and says plans are already well advanced to form a Drumming Club in the city.

The overall winnder of the competiton was decided as Luke Kennedy who was adjudged the winner of the days competition!

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