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Ned Kelly – Outstanding Contribution Award


Ned Kelly is an accordionist and a dairy farmer from Millbrook, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary. He learned his music listening to people like Paddy O’Brien, the famed accordion player and composer from the

same locality. Ned was senior All-Ireland Champion on the accordion in 1992 and has been involved in the promotion of traditional music since then amongst young people. He also provides fine traditional music for the cows while they are being milked!

Ned has been chosen to receive this year’s Award for Outstanding Contribution. Ned has spent many years teaching music in the schools and in other locations in Tipperary. Not only this, but he also organises the children in musical groups and bands and these have played concerts to support various charities. Ned staged the first concert of this sort, entitled “Seize the Moment”, to raise funds for the North Tipperary Hospice in 2005 following his mother’s death from cancer.

He organised two further concerts to support charities focusing on suicidal young people having heard Dónal Walsh of Tralee speaking about death and his own efforts to stay alive. Ned and his friends staged the first of these concerts in the University of Limerick in November 2014 and a second in INEC Killarney in November 2015. More than 400 musicians, dancers and singers took part in these concerts, many of whom were young musicians under Ned’s direction, playing in the “In Tune for Life Orchestra”. Much of the rehearsal and teaching work for this orchestra is done on a voluntary basis by Ned. His success promoting traditional music among the youth, in his own quiet manner, is a great achievement.