About the Armagh Rhymers

armagh rhymerEstablished in the late 1970s, The Armagh Rhymers are Northern Ireland's oldest professional theatre company. The Armagh Rhymers have also fascinated audiences world wide. They have played festivals such as Milwaukee Irish Festival, Dublin Ohio Festival, Glastonbury Festival, New Orleans Heritage and Jazz Festival, Smithsonian Festival, Assite J of Korea, Palais de Beaux Arts, and Citee de la Musique.

The Armagh Rhymers are committed educationalists. Using arts, drama, history and music to enhance education in literacy and languages, or understanding and tolerance, their work has been supported by educational bodies in Ireland and the UK for over 30 years. They are pioneers in a multicultural approach to solving conflict in the community, bringing together children from different backgrounds and religions in Ireland and beyond. In 2011 their arts and science project OASES received the international UNAWE award.

Ceremonies performed by the Armagh Rhymers are based on primary sources of ancient history such as the Annals of the Four Masters as well as local secondary sources such as TGF Patterson's "Harvest Home" from the Armagh Miscellany. Re-enactment of ancient rites through dance, poetry, music and song transport audiences and participants to another time in history, allowing them an experience of Ancient Ireland indeed!!!

The Armagh Rhymers are also noted for their contribution to Health and Well-Being working with many disadvantaged sectors of society, (from Special Needs and Elderly groups to socially challenged and marginalised communities). Everyone enjoys a good laugh and a hearty song!!!

wee rhymers

What People Say

Fantastic show - full of energy, fun and participation. Rhymers had wonderful rapport with the children. A day they will remember for a long time. Rhymers had excellent awareness of disabilities and working caringly and sympathetically with the young people to get the very best from them.

- Fleming Fulton, Special Needs School

Those festival goers lucky enough to catch the Armagh Rhymers at Glastonbury had a whale of a time

- Gordon Adair, BBC on Glastonbury Festival

There were people from 12 European countries and they were blown away. One girl from Slovenia said 'it was the most brilliant thing that has happened to me in Ireland'

- Andy Pollack, Trans Frontier Euro-Institute Network

Myths and Legends - a fantastic part of our book week. Thanks again.

Millisle Primary School

Very interactive, enthusing, enjoyable, great music, excellent use of instruments to match parts of the story. Great interaction with children.

Mt. St. Catherine's P.S.

The Rhymers were excellent, ages ranged from 3-10. Children interacted fully and were enthused and willing to take part. It was great fun and the stories were inspirational. The music was excellent, incorporating different cultures. Parents said that the children will remember it forever.

- Children's Festival, Mayo

As always a wonderful and energetic performance which engaged a very varied audience drawn from many ethnic groups in our area.

- Public Library, Dublin

It was an excellent session. the children thoroughly enjoyed the show. It was appropriate for the age level and suitably varied.

- Dromtrasna, N.S.

Celtic Spirituality

Ritual - Mystical - Timeless - Exotic

Experience age-old rituals and hear the time tested wisdom of the ancient Celts. Every year the people of Armagh join with the Rhymers to celebrate the old Celtic quarter festivals at the changing of the seasons. Rhyming is our most enduring, mystical, exotic and colourful of art forms.

Ritual - Mystical - Timeless - Exotic

Experience age-old rituals and hear the time tested wisdom of the ancient Celts. Every year the people of Armagh join with the Rhymers to celebrate the old Celtic quarter festivals at the changing of the seasons. Rhyming is our most enduring, mystical, exotic and colourful of art forms.

Ritual - Mystical - Timeless - Exotic

Experience age-old rituals and hear the time tested wisdom of the ancient Celts. Every year the people of Armagh join with the Rhymers to celebrate the old Celtic quarter festivals at the changing of the seasons. Rhyming is our most enduring, mystical, exotic and colourful of art forms.


dara vallely

Dara Vallely

Creative Director / Musician / Actor
Dara formed the Armagh Rhymers in 1978 to bring theatre in education to schools. He has a degree in education and is a qualified teacher. Dara plays concertina, pipes, flute, whistle & piano. He has exhibited paintings throughout Ireland & USA. A fantastic mimic and clown, and creative director of the Armagh Rhymers.
annie callaghan

Annie Callaghan

Musician / Actor
Annie graduated from Bristol University with a BA Honours in Illustration. She is a puppeteer, storyteller and talented singer-songwriter with a passion for folk, trad, blues and jazz. Annie has worked in film, and as a theatre art director. Since graduating, Annie has delivered art commissions for museaums and has led art workshops through England & Ireland. She has great charisma and her entheusiasm is infectious.
geraldine curran

Geraldine Curran

Administrator / Performer
Geraldine is a performer with the Armagh Rhymers and the Chief Administrator for the troupe. Geraldine is a very experienced professional, an essential role in todays climate for keeping the old traditions and theatre alive and accessible to all.

Anne Hart

Director / Performer
Anne Hart is a recently retired primary school teacher and has had a lifelong interest in the arts in education. She previously worked for nine years as Director of Education including duties relating to cultural heritage at the Navan Centre.

John McAllister

Director / Author
Mr. McAllister is a retired accountant; he ran his own business in Armagh City for many years. He is a published writer and poet and runs a local writers' network and occasionally performs with the Armagh Rhymers on a voluntary basis.

Adam Costa

Musician / Actor
Adam is a traditional and classical violinist / composer. Graduated from the University of Wellington, NZ with a postgraduate degree in Music with Honours, and has an ATCL (Associate of Trinity College London) certificate for performance violin. He moved to Ireland in 2002 and is pursuing a career in both traditional and classical music, regularly performing in Ireland, Europe & USA. He has worked with the Armagh Rhymers since 2008.
Cormac Ó Briain

Cormac Ó Briain

Musician / Actor
Cormac is an uilleann piper steeped in the Gaelic tradition and the arts associated with it. He has combined this love with a background in advocacy for their promotion, especially in the field of education. He has a particular interest in using these arts as a supporting resource for curriculum delivery.
brigid mcgibbon

Brigid McGibbon

Brigid McGibbon currently works with local businesses in the Skills & Competitiveness Section of Invest NI. Previously she worked in LEDU and then spent ten years in the European Business Centre of Invest NI. She has a lifelong interest in Irish music, theatre, set dancing, poetry, literature, culture and the arts in particular the ethos and activities of the Armagh Rhymers.
ciara bailey

Ciara Bailey

Ciara Bailey, the daughter of our founder member Brendan Bailey (RIP) has been a social worker since 1995 and has a lifelong interest in the Armagh Rhymers. She plays tin whistle, did irish dancing, was a member of Portadown Comhaltas and is currently studying for a HND in Photography.

Snapshot of things we do


NT - Argory, Ardress, Springhill
National Museum of Ireland, Dublin
South Dublin Libraries, Tallaght & Clondalkin
Wilson Ancestral Home, Strabane
Strawboys Photographic Exhibition, Belfast
Giant’s Causeway Centre - Cruise Ships
Navan Centre, Armagh
OPW - Casino Clontarf


Oasis Astronomy Project, UNAWE winner
Cross-community Projects, intercultural work
Primary, secondary, Irish language & special schools
Community and civic events
Friends, Lisburn, Moldova Visit & Penn State Visit
Travellers Convention, Armagh
Lord Mayor’s Ball, Armagh
South Lough Neagh Project

Television and radio

BBC, UTV, TG4 & RTÉ radio and tv productions
Russian, Italian, Estonian and Lithuanian television

Cultural events

East Belfast Mission, "Cultural Day", Belfast
Culture Night Armagh
Inter Cultural Day, Armagh Cricket Club

Weddings, birthday parties, anniversaries & fundraisers

Supporting Economic Development

Invest NI trade tour of Baltic States
Film industry - ‘Dracula’
Tourism initiatives - ‘Brian Boru’
TV tourist documentaries

Older people

Nursing homes
Santander older people’s project - “Rediscovering Happiness”

Festivals at home and abroad

Scasada del Zenerù, Ardesio, Italy
Glastonbury Festival, England
Milwaukee Irish Fest, Milwaukee, WN, USA
TradFest Edinburgh
Townsend Street Festival, Belfast
Country Comes to Town Festival, Portadown
NI Countryside Festival
Good Life Festival, Oxford Island, Craigavon
Merriman Festival, Lisdoonvarna
"Agor Drysau/Opening Doors", Welsh Theatre Festival
Newry Pride Festival, Rainbow Community, Newry
Belfast Mela Festival, Belfast
Wickerman Festival, Navan Centre, Armagh
Féile an Phobail, Falls Park, Belfast
Féile Brian Boru, Killaloe-Ballina
Féile Carn Tochair, Maghera
Cloughmills June Fair

Seasonal events

Carrickatuke Viewpoint, Sliabh Fuait Bealtaine Ritual
Brownlow Lights Up, Drumgor Detatched, Craigavon
Sports events
Campa Mhacha, Armagh
Campa Chormaic, Eglish & Newry
National Sports Day - GAA, Armagh
St Paul’s GAA, Lurgan


Straw Craft Ireland
Armagh Pipers Club
AmmA Centre, SELB Creative Learning
Millennium Court Arts Centre Portadown
Fingal Mummers


contact logo

39 Abbey Street, Armagh, BT61 7DY

T: 0775 126 8512
e: info@armaghrhymers.com

invest northern ireland
armagh council