The Lake School of Celtic Music, Song, and Dance

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Order form for Ray Argall's 2004 DVD

Order form for William and Gary's 2006 DVD

Entry form for Paddy O'Neill Awards

Information on Paddy O'Neill Award

Download Lake School 2017 brochure

see 2015 program here










The 20th Koroit Lake School will be held on January 2-7 2019


The program for the 20th Lake School will be launched as part of the Kilmore Celtic festival on Saturday June 30 2018 at 4pm -6pm. Tickets for the Lake School Launch and the Main Concert of the Kilmore Celtic Festival at the Royal Oak Hotel, Kilmore can be bought for $25 at Bookings are limited to 40 places!

Geraldine Ryan will be inducted by Sue Foley as the 2018 Legend of the Lake at the Launch.

Tickets for the 20th Lake School will go on sale following the June 30 2018 Launch at
(which will contain the 2019 program)

For further info check the Lake School website at or find us on Facebook.







                                            The Lake School in Koroit would like to thank its major sponsors

                                            Moyne Shire, Port Fairy Folk Festival, Maton, Koroit Lions,

                                             and Daly's IGA


                                            Find the Lake School of Celtic Song and Dance on Facebook


                              For accommodation in Koroit see

                              Also Nicky Atkinson's Farmstay in Tower Hill  Mob 0407 850362

                              Koroit and Tower Hill caravan park 03-55657926

                              Harmony at Tower Hill 03-55659439

                              St Patrick's Luxury B&B 03-55658488

                              Warrnambool Visitor Info 1800 637 726

                              Port Fairy Visitor Info 03-55682682



                                             Co-ordinator for Koroit

                                    Felix Meagher

                                             Contact details:  0413-801294 (Mob)  

                                    or email

                                    Correspondence for the Koroit Lake School can be addressed to

                                    Felix Meagher PO Box 22 Mitcham 3132


NB Please note this is an event that welcomes families and children. However, with the exception of the Kids Program

which runs from 9.30am to 1pm every day, children under 18 may only attend programmed Lake School  classes when

accompanied and supervised by one of their parents, or a nominated supervising adult.

For the Kids Program children need to be signed in and out, bring a drink and a snack, and refrain from leisure use on mobile phones.

Please also note that the organisers may need to change the advertised program from time to time.



About the Lake School -

Learn to play Irish Music! Learn Irish dance steps and Celtic songs. (Contact

0413-801294). Learn from tutors - outstanding musicians, singers and dancers from Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Geelong, Ballarat and Warrnambool! Learn to play irish flute, fiddle, tin whistle, uilleann pipes, bodhran (irish drum), guitar, banjo, harp and songwriting. Play in a ceilidhe band. Join a hot young celtic band! Play, session and sing with hundreds of musicians from all around Australia. Have a wonderful family holiday in an Irish Village in Victoria's celtic south -west that is just a hop step and a jump from Australia's famous Great Ocean Road, and the home of Australia's internationally famous Port Fairy Folk Festival! Wonderful nights sessioning and singing one hundred strong in the warm summer air outside Micky Bourke's Hotel! For the very best in Irish and Celtic music atmosphere other wise known as the craic! For contacts with the best players, musicians, sean nos styles, for contacts with other other celtic musicians and the most amazing energetic and toe tapping irish and celtic bands, soloists, duos and trios! Come to the Lake School in Koroit! Every January join the Legends of the Lake and Legends of Irish music like Paddy Fitzgerald on the accordion, Cath Blakeon the fiddle, vocalists Maria Forde and Vince Brophy, Peter Daffy on ukelele, Tommy Carty in the session and Vince Brophy's remarkable class of songwriters!  Come to Koroit for the Lake School! For a truly amazing experience for the whole family - Kids Program, Youth Program, Art Shed, workshop and slow sessions of all kinds for the young, the old, beginners, advanced and all in between.


Review of the Sixteenth Lake School in Koroit January 2-7 2015

Inspite of three days of hot weather, the 2015 Lake School in Koroit takes its place alongside the the successfully run Lake Schools of the last few years. Comments ranged from, "Best ever Lake School, a step forward in ease, efficiency and organisation, " to "Great tutors, great students, great people!" The comment was also made that the recognition of the traditional owners of the land in irish and English was "a nice touch." A new record for enrolment was set, with 232 students narrowly trumping the 228 of 2014.The new format for two ceilidhs instead of one, The Hooley Ceilidhe and the Grande Ceildhe, both which ran ahead of scheduled time, probably added to the air of the relaxed nature of the event.

The 2015 program contained a number of new events and highlights! The Dennis O'Keeffe Memorial Australian Music Session, lead by Dennis and Mem Taberner, saw many previous Lake School songwriting students sing their old songs. Hugh Belfrage's cello class, a welcome addition to the program, was well attended, and Jeremy Meagher's lyrics of Van Morrison demonstrated how contemporary writers can match it with classics like James Joyce, W. B. Yeats and Scott Fitzgerald, whose works had featured in previous years. New tutors, Cathy Blake (fiddle) Dan West (guitar basics) and Lucy Wise (ukekele) settled in well and their students gave great performances. Merran Moir (whistle) and Hilary Glaisher (fiddle) were last minute additions to assist with the large numbers of fiddles and whistles, and contributed to the success of both classes. The sessions at Mickey Bourke's and the House Parties at the Commercial and Kirkstall Hotels ran into the small hours of the morning and were made more comfortable by the cooler weather in the evenings. The Tolka concert and the Stars On the Lake "Full Swing" added to the conversation about excellence and high achievement during the six days of many high personal achievements by Lake School students.

To finish the week off, German born theatre director, Wolf Heidecker, lead a drama ensemble to present a self devised musical, Behind Tower Hill. The full house at Crossley Hall was treated to the results of an amazing six days work which saw a company of over 20 actors including six children, stage a heart warming tale of local life. The characters on stage and the audience gasped and oohed and aaahed as the statue of "Young Johnny" to honour fisherman lost at sea was unveiled in the final scene - a sculpture that had been made by the students from the Lake School Art Shed Youth Program. The show included songs written by Vince Brophy, Nancy Gully, Jackie Dalton, Lou Hesterman, Felix Meagher and Shane Howard. Shane Howard's "All Is Forgiven, which formed the finale, was recorded the day before and aired on ABC Western Victoria on the morning of the performance.

The week also included visitors from Numurkah, and Lonnie O'Dwyer announced that dates for the second Numurkah Lake School had been set for October 16-18.

The photo below was taken by Brenda Osbourne



Photo of the 15th Lake School

Record attendance, cool weather and new events such as Art Shed, African music

on whistles and drums, The creation of Beyond High St (Stars on The Lake), the Saoirse Concert,

and Mem Taberner's At Exghibition Launch were some of the highlights


Photo by Brenda Osborne


Review of the 14th Lake School

By Anthony Brady (Moyne Gazzette)

Koroit Lake School of Celtic Music Song and Dance program director and founder Felix Meagher has praised the outstanding efforts of the whole Lake School community for making 2013 the biggest in the event's 14-year history.

The 197 students who took part in the Lake School equalled the record number reached two years ago and it is estimated the school brought 500 people to Koroit for the week.

Mr Meagher said the Lake School was again a fantastic success for all involved.

"The big thing for me was the cohesion and achievement of both the tutors and the groups they were teaching," Mr Meagher said.

"In the past it may have been more about just watching and learning off the tutors but there is now such variety and depth in what the students are producing, the whole thing is really evolving."

He said the evolution was evident at the Grand Ceilidhe which was held at the Koroit Theatre on Sunday night and attracted a huge crowd of 300 people.

He said the standard of performances from the Lake School students was something to behold.

"Everyone just performed beautifully, there were some amazing moments and it was great to have so many people in the theatre to witness them.

"The ukulele group played Down Under and it sounded brilliant and the song the harp group played was almost a hymn and you could hear a pin drop as they were playing."

The Lake School again drew a large attendance from Melbourne, while a big contingent from Apollo Bay also made the trip.

There were also several students from interstate with some travelling from South Australia and New South Wales. Mr Meagher said the Lake School was happily established in Koroit and while the plan was to remain there, the lack of accommodation in the town was an issue.

He said the influx of 500 people into the town did test the town's capacity and the accommodation would need to be increased to cater for that.


Irish brothers sing pub lingo

                                             Students of the 14th Lake School                                                                                   Christy and James Cooney

                                                                                                                                                                                    (Tutors in Pub Songs)

Review of the 13 th Lake School  

Lake School January 2-7 2012  - It was fun!  

About 180 students and their families descended on Koroit for the 13th Lake School. Very hot weather on the first two days may have deterred some people from making the trip and numbers were slightly down on 2011, although the smooth running of the event continued where it left off the previous year. The space created in the program for socialising in particular boosted the time available for dancing and the ceilidhe dancing was a highlight of this year's event with many people commenting - "we loved the dancing, it was fun."

Other highlights from the week included the Op Shop Ball at Crossley and the Concert with the Simon Bradley Trio (Scottish touring group) and Six At the Crossroads (Paddy O'Neill Award group), Brian Mooney's Art Exhibition Launch, Fiona McAlinden's Irish Breadmaking class, The Zombie Movie made by Ray and Lewis Argall with the Lake School Youth, Vince Brophy's Pub Band, and the Spud Poet's Night which featured the launch of Bill Clohesy's poems, Just A Bit of Craic. Once the breeze from the South West kicked in and the weather cooled the sessions under verandah at Mickey Bourke's Pub took off, and every night featured great sessions lead by Paddy Fitzgerald, Tommy Carty, Jack Brennan, Nicky Kramer, Maria Forde and the like. The Songwriters Concert on the final night showcased 18 songwriters including a song by Katy Addis (about raising her son) that had the audience in tears. The Big Tune this year was Waltzing Matilda, chosen to co-incide with the release of songwriting tutor, Dennis O'Keeffe's ) book on the subject in April, and the photo below was taken just after the final chorus was sung. The Mogyum Award was given to Peter Daffy (Guitar Basics tutor)and Rachel Donovan who turned back from Panmure to look for Ewen Baker (fiddle tutor) who was mistakenly believed to have had car troubles in the heat at Berrybank!





                                      Students of the 13th Lake School - photo by Brenda Osborne

Review of 12th Lake School below

Lake School January 2-7 2011 - "The Best Yet...yes!"

Record numbers of music lovers – fiddlers, flautists, tin whistlers, pipers, guitarists, harpists, singers, dancers and poets to mention a few - all in all 200 students plus their families and friends, turned up to Koroit for the twelfth Lake School of Celtic Music Song and Dance and dubbed it "the best Lake School yet!"

As well as the regular events - the Songwriters Concert, the Blackboard Concert, the Billy Moran Memorial Session and the Paddy O'Neill Young Celtic Band Concert (this year the band was Fianna), the 2011 program included a number of new highlights - the Guitar Basics and ukelele class lead by Peter Daffy, Mark McDonnell’s House Party at Kirkstall, the Big Tune and Big Song lead by Maria Forde, Animations with Lucinda Clutterbuck and a revamped format for the Grand Ceilidhe, which for the first time ever ran to a timetable and finished at a reasonable hour. The Grand Ceilidhe itself had some new features - A Welcome to Country by Lenny and Brett Clarke, a toast in Irish by Chris Mooney and splendid choral renditions of the Australian and Irish national anthems with trumpet flourishes by Bernie Hickey.

Other highlights included the return to Illowa for the Tuesday night ceildhe, Jeremy Meagher's James Joyce Readers Group which performed…yes! a three minute version of Ulysses, Mary Bourke's address (The Queen's Speech) for the opening of Therese Supple's Exhibition of paintings depicting life and holidays as a child in Killarney, and Seamus Foley's win with the The Hills of Lurg in the Spud Poets Award at Crossley Hall.

Students commented on the "great feeling throughout the week," and the sessions reached a new high co-inciding with the visit from Athlone of Mick Byrne, a singer, fiddler and mandolin player who found the Lake School after an internet search, and dropped in for the week. The success of the sessions was even more of a surprise given that Session Master, Paddy Fitzgerald, was at the last minute unable to attend due to illness in his family.

Fiddle player, Nicki Kramer, who has sat beside Paddy for the last few years learning his tunes, was able to step up to lead Paddy's classes and was given the Mogyum Award (a bottle of Jameson's Irish Whisky) for her efforts.

The Lake School was once again blessed with mild weather, and the success of the event was in no small part due to the "happy campers" at the Koroit and Tower Hill Caravan Park which for the first time in its history had a "No Vacancy" sign up at the gate.

Everyone was sad to hear the news that the managers of Caravan Park, Vicki Thorpe (current Chairman of the Lake School Committee) and her partner Georg Diegmann will be leaving Koroit in June for greener pastures in Penola SA. It was announced at the Songwriters Concert that Vicki and Georg would be inducted as Life Members of the Lake School at the launch of the thirteenth Lake School in July later this year.


    Photos and collage by Vince Brophy




           Shane Howard inducts Ewen Baker as a Legend of the Lake July 2010

The Lake School 2009 photo below was provided by James Byron.



Reveiw of Lake School 11 January 2010

If its possible to say the weather was perfect - one might be inclined to say it was  for Lake School Number Eleven in Koroit earlier this month. Cool and cloudy days, with patches of bright blue in the sky as you looked over Tower Hill to the Southern Ocean, or across the dairy and spud farms to Killarney and Port Fairy. And when the sun did come out in the late afternoon, raising the temperature to a mild mid twenties, the a blessed breeze from the south west blew just  gently enough to lift the froth off the pints of  Guinness that were beginning to flow outside Micky Bourke's Hotel.

In the evening the stars came out, but perhaps they didn't quite shine as brightly as the dancers and the players and at the Illowa Hall which was the featured venue for the Tuesday night Ceildhe. Marie Brouder, the dance tutor at her first Lake School, had fifty or sixty strong dancing the Seige of Ennis and The Walls of Limerick, to a band of thirty or forty lead by the legendary Paddy Fitzgerald on the accordion (impromptu Illowa Ceildhe Band below). It was the Lake School's first foray out to Illowa, and the locals voted with their feet and came out in force.

The Koroit Tower Hill Caravan park was the place to be during the week. A myriad of sessions, rehearsals and impromptu performances, while musicians in between classes strummed and relaxed in the shade of the exotic trees of the Koroit Botanical Gardens. For the seventeen strong Belfrage family, dinner was a show in itself. A line of tent shades, a collection of camp chairs, children sitting in a circle humming the tunes of the day and an impressive buffet of pastas, curries and salads...A brief respite and coming together before joining the throng to rush off to the next session, ceildhe or concert.

Mary Bourke has likened Koroit during Lake School to Vienna. Music coming form every shop and residence and hordes of people hurrying around with violin cases, guitars and flutes. In place of the trucks of Koroit driving a load of bellowing milkers down a deserted streetscape in winter, the summer brings music and musicians and a colourful energy to "the Stroit." Gary Rose's song "The Trucks of Koroit" has renamed Commercial Rd "the Stroit" and they were the most requested lyrics of the week.

An open day at Crossley Hall attracted about thirty people keen to be introduced to the irish Language, by Lake School tutor, Chris Mooney. Chris, also a first timer to Lake School - stepping in for Mossie Scanlon, noticed the energy and the youthful interest in the old language.  Perhaps enough interest to drive regular local classes in Irish language and a weekend workshop schedule for  July 2-4. The Youth Concert, later in  the day at Crossley Hall attracted over a hundred people, and Teresa O'Brien reported "that we raised enough from donations to make our first mortgage payment on the St Brigids Church and Hall."
Further in to the evening fifteen poets competed in the Spud Poets Award. The Award was won by last year's winner Clare Milesi. Her poem "Bless Me Father" about a priest who dies while hearing a confession and the confusion his death causes, was judged unanimously a winner, and was clearly popular with the audience.

The new Lake School Art Exhibition featured the work of Brenda Grimshaw, who hung her very finely crafted copies of The Book of Kells at the Crater Gallery, and gave all a chance to mooch around, nibble on the cheese and drink the champagne on offer. New also this year were the harp, mandolin and banjo class that played at the Grand Ceildhe, along with the usual fiddles, whistles, pipes, guitars, flutes and bodhrans.

A somewhat warmer day on Friday, the last day, saw a Tutors Concert, the launching of yet another amazing Paddy O'Neill Award band - this year called Shanachie, and an epic Songwriters Concert to "finish us all off. "
Those who weren't quite finished off lounged around in directors chairs for another day  before refreshing themselves, and cleaning out the effects of innumerable Guinness, in the waves of Eastern Beach or Potato Soup.

Record numbers came to the Lake School this year and they gloried in the beautiful music, the soulful singing, the energetic dancing, the congenial atmosphere and the warm friendships. Hopefully the weather will hold out for next year.





Photos from 2010 Lake School by Brenda Osborne  (Illowa Ceilidhe and Lake School Choir above)


The photos below from the 10th Lake School provided by Brenda Osborne

Paddy Fitz and Nick Martin at Micky Bourke's  Jim Lawrenson and Garry Rose at Songwriters   Brigid Glaisher member of Paddy O'Neill

                       Pub session                                                         concert                                                               Award band  - Dram!                   



 Are these your agile fingers Mary?                                      Slow session lead by Mark McDonnell     Ted Egan  - one of Australia's National Living



    Sile Coleman at Singers Night                                   Jenny McKechnie - Dram!!                              Ewen Baker - fiddle tutor


Mark McDonnell leading the Slow Session players at the Grand Ceilidhe January 6 2008

Photo courtesy Dale Hanson



Also thanks to our sponsors and supporters   Port Fairy Folk Festival, Moyne Shire, Yelp Studios, Ausmed Publications, Ade Kelly, Bushwahzee,

Quinlan's Quality Meats, Emerald Travel, Upwey/Belgrave RSL and the estate of Maity Swallow, Embassy of Ireland, Daly's Koroit IGA, Dave Birch, Koroit and District Primary School, St Patrick's Primary School, The Quiet Man, Eileen Moran,  Koroit Country Bakehouse, Bill Clohesy,  National Celtic Festival,

Pat and Joyce Ubergang Foundation, Community Arts Alliance,

Lake School Honour Roll

Legends of the Lake

2003 Billy Moran inducted by Irish Ambassador Declan Kelly

2004 Fay and Morgan McAlinden inducted by Martha McEvoy (Embassy of Ireland)

2005 Dennis O'Keeffe inducted by Val Noone (Tain Magazine)

2006 Maria Forde  inducted Marion O'Hagan (Irish Welfare Bureau)

2007 Vince Brophy  inducted by Martha McEvoy

2008 Tommy Carty inducted by Ted Egan

2009 Paddy Fitzgerald indcuted by Mary Fiorini-Lowell (Mary Bourke)

2010  Ewen Baker inducted by Shane Howard

2011 Mark and Lisa McDonnell inducted by Chris Atwell (Co-ordinator Tamar Valley Festival, TAS)

2012 Ade Kelly  inducted by Jamie McKew (Program Director Port Fairy Folk Festival)

2013 Jack Brennan inducted by Trentham fiddle player Tom Walsh

2014 Marie Brouder inducted by Morgan McAlinden

2015 Christy Cooney inducted by Julie Melia and Steve Edward

2016 Eamon Naughton inducted by Noel White (Irish Ambassador)

2017 Geoff McArthur inducted by Chris Evans (Koroit Irish festival)

Paddy O'Neill Band Award Winners

2007 Beltane

2008 Rant

2009 Dram

2010 Shanachie

2011 Fianna

2012 Six At The Crossroads

Stars On The Lake

2013 Maggie Rutjens and Georgia Rose

2014 Rosie Luby, Jasmine Atwa, Locky Moir, Jen Rowan

2015 Full Swing

2016 Anatole Road

2017 Gavin Family Band

Spud Poet Awards Winners

2006 Chris Healy (Mas-cav-enger)

2007 Harry Reed (Spud Train)

2008  Francis Duggan (Old Casey)

2009 Clare Milesi  (Soda Scones)

2010 Clare Milesi  (Bless me Father...)

2011  Seamus Foley  (The Hills of Lurg)

2012 No competition - Evening MC Bill Clohesy launching his book of poetry Just A Bit Of Craic

2013 - No competition - Evening hosted by David O'Brien

2014 - 2016 No competition - Evening hosted by Colin Driscoll


Maity Swallow Scholarship

2008 Mischa Herman

2009 Jenny Mckechnie

Life Members

2007 Eileen Moran

2009  Dennis Taberner, Margie Brophy, Christine Meagher

2010  Leamon Chambers

2014 Kevin McCarthy

2015 Lewis Argall

Foundation Award

Felix Meagher

Mogyum Award

(an ocassional award made for people whose help behind the scenes

may have gone unnoticed - named after Barb Argall's unique and yummy chocolate cookies)

2006 Vicki Thorpe and Georg Diegmann

2007 Lillian O'Donnell

2008 Ray Argall

2009  Alan Birchmore

2010  John "Ozzie" Osborne, Joan Wooff

2011 Nicki Kramer

2012  Peter Daffy and Rachel Donovan

2013 Lou Hesterman and friends from Apollo Bay

2014 Jim McAlinden

2015 Naomi Matthyssen and friends

2016 Jenny Driscoll

2017 Christine Meagher


 Six At The Crossroads -  2012 Paddy O'Neill Award Group




The Paddy O'Neill Award was first held by the Lake School in January 2007, and

resulted in the creation of the amazing young celtic band - Beltane. After working for a week in January

in Koroit under the guidance of tutors Ade Kelly and Geoff McArthur, Beltane went on to record a

demo CD "The First Summer," and to play at the Port Fairy Festival, the Koroit Irish Festival

and the National Celtic Festival in Portarlington. Their photo is featured on the 2008 Lake School

flyer/application form.

The program was repeated in January 2008, 2009 2010 andwhen Rant, Dram, Shanachie and Fianna were formed, and they have gone on to have similar success to Beltane



2011  Paddy O'Neill Award Winners - FIANNA




2010 Paddy O'Neill Award Winners - SHANACHIE

2011 Application form


                                                         Photos of 2009 Launch


                        Dram               Paddy Fitz plays accompanied by Nicki and Geoff          Life Members - Dennis, Christine, Margie


                                                             Jenny McKechnie - Maity Swallow Scholarship winner 2009