Five years to the weekend after his all too early passing in 2011, Mike Kenny, artist, sculptor, musician and singer – and more – is to be remembered in his home town with a two-day festival crammed with a bit of everything he loved.
Behind the scenes are organisers, publican, Peter Browne and Ted Kenny – a cousin of the late Mr. Kenny’s.
Mike Kenny’s niece Melanie Brick wrote of the uncle she knew and loved in the following tribute:
Remembering Mike Kenny
Henry Ward Beecher once wrote that “Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.”
This truism comes to mind when we think of Mike Kenny.
The biography of Mike’s life tells us only the marginal details of what he materially achieved. His degree in fine art from the National College of Art and Design enhanced his already bourgeoing creativity.
Revelling in the company of others, Mike expounded a number of teaching roles with both children and adults.
His calligraphy work dots the Kerry landscape in the form of various sign fronts. Mike had an insatiable curiosity for the world. His visiting Art lectureship in Des Moines, Iowa allowed him to explore the world of the native American Indians.
Indigenous people’s and their worlds fascinated him. In fact all of life fascinated him.
It is true that his creative expression was really elevated when he began to mould clay. He spoke with animation about art and in particular sculpture.
The nuances and subtleties of understanding form and muscle drove his need for perfection. It had to be right.
Evidence of this knowledge found expression in his sculptures of Patrick O’Keeffe in Scartaglin (1983), Johnny O’Leary in Killarney (2007) and Sean O’ Riada in Cul Aodha (2008).
His understanding of the transience of the human body belied his deep spirituality and unparalleled belief in the after life.
It is apt that his three fine Kerry sculptors should commemorate gifted Irish musicians, considering Mike’s deep love of traditional Irish music and his instrumental work in establishing the Patrick O’ Keeffe festival in 1993 in Castleisland.
A keen historian, Mike co-founded the Castleisland and District Culture and Heritage Society in 2006 and wrote for the Kerry Archaeological Magazine.
Quiz master and quiz player extraordinaire, he revelled in an erudite challenge and was as much at ease discussing cubism as he was Munster rugby.
Humble and yet simultaneously proud, Mike had an ability to draw people towards him. His intensely social personality never masked the subtle and gentle man who lived by his own unique philosophy.
Mike is the inspiration for this festival weekend, his life, work and creativity will be celebrated on the fifth anniverary of his death.
The Mike Kenny Arts & Music Weeekend takes place in Castleisland, Co. Kerry on Friday 12th and Saturday 13th August 2016.
The programme of events for the two days reads as follows:
Friday 12th August 12th. Gathering at: 7.30pm in Browne’s Bar
A discussion on life and times of Mike Kenny at 8pm.
Including such topics as: His flair for Art, his interest in local history and archaeology, his love of Sliabh Luachra Music, and rugby and National Hunt horse racing. Open invitation. All welcome.
Some of Mike’s personal items will be displayed on the night.
CD Launch at 10pm by Amala – Paul de Grae and Reidun Schleisinger followed by Browne’s Bar Friday night session.
Saturday 13th August
Art Workshop for Children10.30am – 2pm at The Ivy Leaf Art Centre. Kindly sponsored by educate.ie.
An introduction to Art for Children by artist Ger O’Neill. This will be hands on and the children will be able to help create a mosaic on the day which will be put on display in the library.
Booking Advised U-12 age group. Workshop will run until 1.30pm. Each child to be supervised by a guardian. Limited places’ booking advised. Text ARTRES to 087 28 50 844
MK U-15 Busking Competition
11.30am – 1pm at Browne’s Bar. Kindly sponsored by educate.ie.
Check in at Browne’s Bar 11.30am for directions to your performance locations. Max five in a group. Pre-egister by texting MKU15BUSK; text mames, ages, instruments and size of group 1-5 to: Peter Browne 087 28 50 844. Registration deadline is 6pm on Friday, August 12th.
Performance may include instrumental music and or singing and or dancing. A variety of instruments and a varied performance will be preferred. Judges will visit each designated performance location between 12 noon and 1pm. Winners will be announced at 1.30pm. Prizes as follows: First – €100; Second €50 and third €30
MK Young Musician of the Year Award 2016
2pm at Browne’s Bar. Co-sponsored by Ted Kenny and Browne’s Bar.
U-21 Solo Music Competition. Pre Register by texting MKYMY 2016, Name and address, age and instrument to: Peter Browne 087 28 50 844 and also register on the day at 12.30 to 1.30pm in Browne’s Bar. Open to all instruments and all counties. Three selections of music to be played. One selection must consist of slides or polkas. The other selections to be dance music: jigs, reels, hornpipes or slow air etc…. Judges are Connie O’Connell and Aidan Coffey. Prize: Mike Kenny Perpetual Cup. Decision of judges is final.
Session in Browne’s Bar at 10pm led by Con Moynihan and Denis O’Connor. All enquiries to: Peter Browne, Browne’s Bar, Lower Main Street, Castleisland Tel: 087 28 50 844.
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