GRETB’s Music Generation and Community Education programmes to spearhead The Gaillimh Instrument Bank

-Cllr. Eileen Mannion (Leas Cathaoirleach, Galway County Council), Eric Cunningham (Music Development Officer, Music Generation Galway County), Marie Feeney (Adolescent Support Programme Co-ordinator, Forum Connemara CLG)

Galway 2020 legacy drum programme from September 2022 following summer launch.

Tuesday 19th of July, 2022: The Galway Roscommon Education and Training Borad (GRETB) is pleased to announce a county-wide drum programme linking children, young people and adults within community and educational settings. It is set to commence from September 2022.

The Gaillimh Instrument Bank initiative will be overseen by the Music Generation and Community Education programmes attached to the GRETB. The significant percussion bank of instruments purchased by Galway 2020 will now be managed by Music Generation in Galway and will be used in the delivery of its percussion related programmes. In some instances these programmes will be delivered in a collaborative manner with organisations attached to Music Generation’s Local Music Education Partnerships within Galway County, Galway City and Roscommon.

Galway’s time as European Capital of Culture formally concluded at the end of April 2021 and following that date its focus shifted to legacy and identifying the legacy opportunities that exist for Galway having held this prestigious title. The Gaillimh drum programme is one such legacy programme.

Celebrating community had been a central theme of Galway 2020’s planning process and as part of its creative initiatives it had been engaging with community groups in Tuam, Clifden, Spiddal, Ballinasloe, Portumna and Athenry by way of a community drum programme. This saw Galway 2020’s master drummers train volunteers within their local communities in the art of drumming and their work was to culminate in a unique collaborative performance at the official Opening Ceremony of Galway 2020 in February 2020. To great disappointment, the Opening Ceremony had to be cancelled due to severe national weather warnings.


Pictured at the launch of Music Generation’s new percussion bank and percussion programme at Omey Beach were children and young people participating in a collaborative summer camp delivered by Music Generation Galway County and Forum Connemara CLG.

Now, through a new collaborative initiative, individuals and groups (both young and old) from towns and villages across Galway will be able to tap into a percussion programme once again and these opportunities will be made available annually from September 2022. Music Generation’s Musician Educator team in collaboration with their colleagues attached to Community Education will train and manage the volunteer groups within community settings. Music Generation will also be responsible for the delivery of similar percussion-based programmes in schools and at camps and festivals across the county utilising the same percussion instrument bank which was acquired from Galway 2020.

GRETB’s Community Education programme works with Community Groups including Men’s Sheds, Women’s Groups, Community Development Groups, Active Retired Groups, Migrant, Refugee and Asylum Seeker Groups, Disability Groups, Traveller Groups, Homeless Groups and LGBT Groups.

Before implementing the programme within local communities, a consultative process will be undertaken as GRETB’s Dónal Walsh explained:

“Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board will work with our local community partners to identify needs and develop community education programmes in county Galway using community drumming as a means of engaging the community in education. The initial focus will be on those local communities who worked with Galway 2020 previously.”


Pictured at the launch of Music Generation’s new percussion bank and percussion programme at Omey Beach were children and young people participating in a collaborative summer camp delivered by Music Generation Galway County and Forum Connemara CLG.

Untilising the Gaillimh Instrument Bank, the new drum programme, known as PULSE, will be offered to adults and groups attached to communities in Tuam, Clifden, Spiddal, Ballinasloe, Portumna and Athenry first and later broadened to encompass groups in other communities. It will also be delivered to children and young people in educational settings, at festivals and at Music Generation’s Music Hubs and Camps at a variety of locations throughout the county.

Eric Cunningham, Music Development Officer for Music Generation Galway County outlined the benefits he envisages for the individuals and groups who get involved:

“There is something very primal, cathartic and exhilarating about the beating of a drum. A programme such as this has the power to galvanise communities, empower individuals and facilitate team building in a unique manner across a variety of contexts. We believe that this initiative will reach to the heart of both local communities and diverse educational settings, and we look forward with great anticipation to getting started. The instrument bank made available to us by Galway 2020 gives our team great scope to develop and deliver something really meaningful from this opportunity.”

As part of the programme plan, individual groups will learn specific percussion parts and later as part of a large-scale collaborative performance they will unite with their counterparts from other parts of the county. It is envisaged that the amalgam will give rise to a powerful percussion performance from the extended ensemble.

Those who are interested and who wish to participate and receive tuition should register their interest at and you will be kept updated on developments.
Initiated by Music Network, Music Generation is co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds, the Department of Education and Local Music Education Partnerships (LMEPs). Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board together with Galway County Council are lead funding partners of Music Generation Galway County. Additional support is provided by a number of other county-based partners.