Enda Dolan’s spirit remembered through music

Tutor Charlotte Evason working with Cara Walsh. JB44

The wonderful musical spirit of Enda Dolan has been brought to life once again through a guitar workshop held this week at the South West College.

Hosted by the Enda Dolan Foundation, the ‘Red Balloon Guitar Workshop’ brought together 47 enthusiastic young musicians for five days of non-stop guitar melodies, chords and singing.


The event, which is now in its third year, was endearingly named after a song a called ‘Red Balloon’ a composition which Enda wrote as part of his GCSE music course work.

The 18-year-old who simply loved the guitar, tragically lost his life after being knocked down by a vehicle close to his university home in Belfast in October 2014.

Mark Ewing and PJ Cunningham work on a song.

Guitar tutors taking part in the workshop this week included Larry Lowe, Eamon McElholm, Paul Maguire, Michael Keaveney, Conal O’Kane, Cillian McGolderick. Eamon McElholm, Piwi McGartland, Marty Bradley, Owen McNulty, David Kee, Niall Hackett and Niall McCrystal.

Also on board to help teach the young guitar enthusiasts were Charlotte Evason, Rebecca Barton and Anna Bradley – three people who were all Red Balloon students last year but who are now confident enough in their instruments to impart their wisdom onto others.

Special guests  who have been giving talks at the workshop about their love-affairs with guitars and music include Donna Taggart, Mark McCausland from The Lost Brothers and Claire Bowes from the Omagh Music Academy.


Tutors Niall Hackett, Niall McCrystall and Rebecca with students in ‘The Beasts’ team. JB42


Speaking last week, Enda’s mother Niamh said that she is delighted that the workshop is once again a success.

“It’s been just brilliant so far,” Niamh smiled. “We have many wonderful tutors here and the children are incredibly talented.

“They’ve all settled in well and they are enjoying their week. The progress they’ve made in such a short period of time has been phenomenal.”

Niamh added, “We’ve kids here from all across Omagh, as well as three people from Monaghan – and even one girl from the German Embassy in Russia!”

Peadar Kelly and Milly Hoburn from ‘The Riffs’ deep in concentration.

Splitting the children into five groups depending on their guitar ability, each group has been given the tough task of creating a brand new song from scratch.

They will then perform their masterpieces and a wealth of popular chart songs and guitar hits during a concert held at the South West College this Friday beginning at approximately 6pm.

“We would like to thank all the tutors who have come along and supported us – we wouldn’t be able to host this event without them,” Niamh concluded. 

“Neither my husband Peter nor I play the guitar so we depend on their help, and they are incredible to give up a full week of their time to come in and do this for us in Enda’s memory.

“I’d also like to thank our all our special guests who have captivated the children, our helpers who have aided us with the teas, coffees and food, the South West College for the use of their top class premises and to the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and Queen’s University in Belfast for their sponsorship.”

Peewee McGartland and Eamon McHolm with their group ‘Pee Wee’s Players’. JB48

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