Killarney publican and singer, Jimmy O’Brien stood behind the counter of his celebrated bar for a couple of years with a half century.
The bar closed in the summer of 2013 and just two years after the institution had celebrated its 50th year in business.
After a few years spent in Americs in the 1950’s, Jimmy returned to Ireland with his new wife, Mary Cronin. Together, they opened their bar on Killarney’s College Street in the summer of 1961.
Distinctively and patriotically painted in his native county’s green and gold, the pub soon became a haunt for musicians of the Sliabh Luachra persuasion and for GAA people from all over the county and beyond.
A sought after and highly accomplished sean nós singer, Jimmy is a regular guest at festivals and gatherings throughout the country. He has made many television appearances and radio broadcasts. He is widely regarded as being among the finest exponents of this distinctive style of singing.
The bar was the firmly established Sliabh Luachra ‘house’ in Killarney and Johnny O’Leary and Jimmy were great friends.
The huge Castleisland contingent which travelled to Killarney on that April day in 2007 for the unveiling of the late Mike Kenny’s sculpture of Johnny O’Leary will remember the after party in Jimmy O’Brien’s for a while.
As a host and magnate for sessions of music and song there was none better that Jimmy O’Brien.
As a guardian of the beauty and purity of the Sliabh Luachra tradition, Jimmy O’Brien was always there.
It is fitting then that he will be presented with the Dedication to the Music of Sliabh Luachra Award at a concert to commemorate his old friend, Johnny O’Leary. And it’s happening at a festival which honours Patrick O’Keeffe – the Last of the Great Fiddle Masters.