Northern Ireland news

Protestant musicians and Irish dancers to perform together at Croke Park

Hounds of Ulster, including Craig Young (far left), with Irish dancers from the McCullough-Curran School at Carrickfergus Castle. File picture from Hounds of Ulster/Facebook

A music group whose members have played in Protestant flute bands are to entertain football fans at the home of the GAA tomorrow.

Co Antrim-based Hounds of Ulster will perform with a group of Irish dancers during half-time of the minor semi-final between Dublin and Derry at Croke Park.

The stadium has a capacity of more than 80,000 and has played host to bands including U2.

Drummer Craig Young (30) said "some of the biggest bands in the world never get to play in Croke Park and now we are".

"Our gigs have been predominantly in Northern Ireland and through a contact in the GAA one of the guys was trying to get us some gigs in Dublin," he said.

"He (the contact) came back and told us he'd got us Croke Park."

While the group uses some traditional flute band instruments, Mr Young said they play "traditional Irish and Scottish songs".

The musicians, who are mainly from Newtownabbey, came together in 2006 and began performing with Irish dancers from the McCullough-Curran School in Belfast three years ago.

Since then, they have played to audiences including at the Fleadh Cheoil in Ennis, Co Clare, and a Somme commemoration at the Ulster Hall in Belfast.

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