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Sean McCarthy Memorial Ballad Competition 2023

Our Weekend Festival in Finuge was a great success and very well supported from all over. A BIG Thank You to Sponsors.

Closing Date for the Sean McCarthy Ballad Competition is Friday, 19 July 2024, at 5 pm.

  • Postal orders or cheques made payable to the Sean McCarthy Weekend.

  • Entry Cost for Ballad Competition: €25.00 for each Ballad Entry

Closing Date for the Mick McCarthy Storytelling competition is Friday, 26 July 2024 at 5 pm.

  • Entry Fee for the Mick McCarthy Storytelling Competition: €10.00 for Adults for each story Entered.

  • €5.00 for underage for each story entered.

The Winners of last years Ballad Competition ...

1st Gerry Keogh from Limerick with his Ballad "Safe Harbour"


2nd Barney McCabe from Mayo with his Ballad "The Convent Avenue"


3rd Caroline O Callaghan from Ardfert with her Ballad "Remembering Heart"


The winners of the Mick McCarthy Storytelling Adult Competition...


1st James Fogarty from Moyvane with his Story "BOOM, BURST, BOOM"


2nd Francis Kennedy from Listowel with her story "Nobody's Perfect"


Joint 3rd Chrisie Roche from Limerick with thier story "Up for the Match" & Paddy Commane from Clare with his story "Lisdoonvarna Folk Festival"

Kindly Sponsored by Lionel McCarthy from Dublin


Juvenile Storytelling Competition..

The standard for the juvenile competition was outstanding 

Joint winners: 

J.J. Liston                                 Lixnaw Kerry                             "Minding the House"

Nancy O Connor                      Farranfore Kerry                        "Bridie or Bridin"

Rian Gleeson                           Killarney                                     "The Visit"









Rules for the Sean McCarthy Ballad Competition


  1. Entries to be received by no later than 5pm on 19th July 2024

  2. Entries to be submitted on CD with 3 typed copies (Or in very clear handwriting) Also your E-Mail address

  3. Entries to be accompanied by cheque/postal order for €25.00 Make payable to the Sean McCarthy Memoraial Weekend.

  4. No entries will be returned.

  5. Name, address and telephone number and email to be clearly written on CD cover and on the back of each copy of lyrics.

  6. Finalists will perform their entry in Teach Siamsa Finuge. 

  7. The overall winner and runner-up will be decided then.

  8. Entries may be in English or Irish. One or Two Musicians only to Accompany the Performer.

  9. Entries must be original and not previously performed or published.

  10. No in-house music supplied by committee.

  11. No pre-recorded backing music allowed.

  12. Adjudicators’ decision is final.(3Judges)

  13. Make Cheques or Postal Orders Payable to Sean McCarthy Weekend.


Performances on the night of the final may be recorded and /or video @ the Committees discretion. Such recordings may be played /transmitted on the sound and visual media, e.g. radio, television, Internet; entrants are deemed to have given their permission for it unless otherwise indicated by them to the Committee


Send entries to...

Peggie O’Connell, Irremore, Listowel Co.Kerry. 

Mobile: 087 -9049371

Enquiries: Bridget O’Connor, phone 087–6250516




We are also keeping this year for the Mick McCarthy Storytelling Competition.....

the category for the younger age groups

anyone under 18 years of age


Once Upon A Time......

Downlown Rules For Mick McCarthy Story Telling Competition

Rules for the Mick McCarthy Story Telling Competition

  • The story must be Irish in character and told in a local style

  • Just send the Name of the Story you are going to Perform.

  • {Hand writing must be clear and all entries must be clearly marked “Story Telling” on envelope.}

  • Entries must be received no later than 5 pm on the 26th July 2024

  • Final will take place in Teach Siamsa Finuge.  

  • An Entry fee for adults of €10,00 and for underage €5.00 must be paid.

  • The theme can be humorous, serious or a mixture of both, historic and true to tradition.

  • The length of the story must be a minimum of 3 minutes and a maximum of 6 minutes.

  • Marking system

    1. accuracy and fluency of speed 40%

    2. Irish content (humorous, serious, historical) 40%

    3. Confidence/Serenity 20%​

Story Telling and Adjudication Criteria



Clear narrative is put across; characters, places and events are well developed and described with a creative use of language.



There is a sense of character and style in the telling.  Audience interest is kept throughout with natural flow and “fireside” ease and with humour or emotion where appropriate.


Interpretation and /or originality

New stories and old stories are welcome and can be on any topic or theme and Irish in character.  Key considerations should be….

  1. Has an original story been well conveyed?

  2. Has an old story been re-imagined and / or delivered creatively?

  3. Has a new story been created and told in the traditional Irish style and of good standard?


For the purposes of scheduling, tellers are required to keep their stories between 3 and 6 minutes in duration in competition. Judges may deduct points if competitors run over.