Thanks to Camoshark and the other guys in the AP chat for their advice on the piece... I spent an awful long time mixing and mastering this (much more than the usual "eh, that's good enough... just post it already!").
This is my entry for the RAC as Ireland. As you may well know, the Irish music scene is diverse- a strong folk element remains engrained in the culture, while there are certainly many other genres at work in Ireland. One thing that all Irish composers and performers seem good at is working with styles from any era and of any design. For this, I decided to work with a folkish sounding piece in 3/4 (6/8) and make it grow from a calm piece on (no insult intended) English Horn and Cimbalon (the thing that sounds like Banjo) to a full orchestral climax.
Most of my research was full of listening to Irish-sounding music and any folk music I had. One of my inspirations was from the Irish music hour on the local classical radio channel. On the other side, I based my "orchestral epicness" on the Elizabeth Peace song for Civilization V, which is based on an English folk song. I wanted to write a piece that was calm, beautiful, and had a feeling of both simplicity and complexity at the same time. My goal was more to embrace the spirit and texture of Irish music than to replicate it.
I'm not sure if the RAC guidelines are the same, but I can provide a picture of the score in Finale if needed.