Presentation Secondary School Ballyphehane All-Island Choir Winners

Presentation Secondary School Ballyphehane, Co. Cork have won the prestigious All-Island School Choir Competition. The final was televised live from the Waterfront Hall in Belfast on Sunday 14th November.

They beat schools from Derry, Sligo and Dublin and were presented with the trophy from President Mary McAleese. 

The school also earned the top prize of £5,000 (almost €5,900) for the success, having won the regional final at the CIT Cork School of Music last month by beating off competition put up by choirs from CEIST schools, St. Leo's College, Carlow, Presentation Secondary School, Kilkenny, and other schools from Tipperary and Waterford. 


In last night’s final, the Presentation choir impressed the judges with their performance of two contrasting pieces, opening with the plaintive Cill Chais and livening things up with the more upbeat Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.

Before the winners were announced, President Mary McAleese said the audience had enjoyed music of poetic quality from the four finalists.











Pictured above are the members of the Presentation Ballyphehane Choir.

The competition is organised by Co-operation Ireland, in association with RTÉ, and the inaugural event was won last year by Methodist College, Belfast.  Co-operation Ireland chief executive Peter Sheridan said "the organisation recognises the importance of promoting tolerance, respect and friendship among young people of different races, faiths and cultures across the island. What better way of doing that than through music and song with the next generation?"

RTÉ's Northern Editor Tommie Gorman and the competition's executive producer said that it was "a fantastic night for all the choirs who competed here in Belfast tonight and for all the choirs from North and South of the country who entered the competition.

"It's a great night for music and we're delighted to have broadcast it over the last month and shown it live tonight".

The judging panel included Belfast Opera singer and teacher Dr Angela Feeney, Brendan O’Connor, musical director of the Cois Cladaigh Chamber Choir in Galway and Dr Geoffrey Spratt, director of Cork School of Music.

"We really admired the choice of music, and then we enjoyed the way they performed the music as well," Mr O’Connor said.

"We are absolutely delighted. The school will be so proud, as will the whole of Cork," choir director Anne Dunphy said in an interview with the Irish Independent. 

The following is an account from the Principal of Presentation Secondary School, Ballyphehane, Sr. Sheila Kelleher on the Schools recent win in the All Island School Choir Competition.

"The All Island School Choir Competition is sponsored by Co-operation Ireland in association with RTE and is in its second year. Our choir got into the Regional Heat of the All Island School Choir Competition which was held in the Cork School of Music on the 13th October. There were five choirs competing in each of the four Regional Finals. One winning choir from each region went forward to the Grand Final in the Belfast Waterfront Hall on the 14th November. Three coaches set out from Ballyphehane at the early hour of 6.30.a.m. on Sunday for Belfast. Since it was a live broadcast the choirs were required to be in the Waterfront Theatre for a practice at 2.00.p.m.

We were overjoyed to be named the overall winners in the Grand Final, being the recipients of a big Waterford glass Trophy and five thousand pounds sterling. As Principal of the school I am exceedingly proud of our choir and their very able and committed Director, Anne Dunphy. I would also like to pay tribute to the whole school community for their support which made this possible. The ongoing moral and financial support from businesses in the locality is truly amazing and plays no small part in making our school a special place. We feel at the heart of a community that is ‘hinged’ to us in our daunting but privileged task of educating tomorrow’s generation. The inspiration of our Foundress, Nano Nagle, continues to inspire and challenge us and we feel her presence in a very real way in our daily work here at Presentation Secondary School.

Since we returned home to Cork at the late hour on Sunday night – or rather the early hour on Monday morning (4.00.a.m.) – we have been inundated with congratulatory phone calls, emails, texts, letters, cards and other messages from all over Ireland. The many people who have called to congratulate have left us humbled. The flowers continue to be delivered and our school is currently like a flower garden!

As we leave behind the ‘celebrity status’ and return to normal living here at Presentation Secondary School we will forever remember the night that we won the Grand final of the All Island Schools Choir Competition at the Waterfront Theatre in Belfast".

Video of Final

Click here to listen to all the choirs participating in the final displayed on RTE Player.

Morning Ireland Feature

The school were also featured on Morning Ireland Radio 1 Show on 15th November, click here to listen to the podcast.

The CEIST Education Office would like to congratulate Presentation Ballyphehane on their fantastic achievement and to all CEIST schools who participated in the competition.