Castleisland is as ready as it ever will be for the 24th annual Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival.
TG4 confirmed as the weekend dawned that they’re going to film a special on the festival for the Hup series and I was out and about with their locations scout, Sinéad Ní Bhroin this morning.
Filming began in several locations this afternoon and they’re working away at Hartnett’s Bar as I write.
South Korean TV Crew
Tomorrow a TV crew from South Korea will arrive with Mickey MacConnell and they will film his slots in the singing afternoon.
They are interested in the composers and singers of songs of lands divided and its something they know plenty about and Mickey MacConnell is their man.
It’s all a far cry from a day just over 60 years ago when a young Liam Clancy took that most iconic photograph of Patrick O’Keeffe.
In the course of his illustrious musical career, the late Liam Clancy travelled many a long road. Count in a trip from his home in Carrick-on-Suir in Tipperary to Scartaglin in Co. Kerry back in 1955.
Liam Clancy’s Iconic Patrick Image
Liam Clancy’s life also touched that of Patrick O’Keeffe – however fleetingly.
However tenuous that connection may have been he still left a single-shot photographic legacy after that brief trip to Scartaglin.
During a visit to this neck of the woods in 1955 he took that most famous and enduring photograph of the great fiddle master – the one with the cork off a bottle stuck in the bow.
It showed that, in the absence of any other form of tensioning the horse hair, Patrick wasn’t found wanting in the enterprise department. The photograph was taken in Lyons’s Bar in Scartaglin. The momentous occasion was mentioned by the late Mr. Clancy in his book: Memoirs of an Irish Troubadour.
In this he recalls being picked up at home in Carrick–on-Suir by American folk collector, Diane Hamilton – who was here under that assumed name.
She was an American heiress to the Guggenheim mining, smelting and iron milling fortune – a fact completely unknown to the young Clancy during this period.
At the time she wanted to record some Sliabh Luachra music and they stopped in Castleisland to find the elusive Patrick and were pointed towards Scart.
Clancy and Ms. Guggenheim toured Ireland together before he decided to go to the States with her. The amazing and turbulent nature of that relationship can be followed on the brilliant documentary The Yellow Bittern – which is on DVD.
The film is a cradle to grave account of the fulfilled life of Liam Clancy and it features all the great concerts at home and in America with his brothers, Tom and Paddy and the brilliant Tommy Makem.
For a brief spell in the early years of the Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival there was a strong rumour that Liam Clancy would visit and I’m nearly sure that the late Mike Kenny invited him. I still can’t believe it’s 24 years ago today since the first magical evening of the Patrick O’Keeffe festival in 1993.
Three of Us Then
We had no idea of what was about to hit us over the following few days and I was delighted to meet Mary Jones fleetingly on the street here this evening. There were three of us back then. I’ve heard it said that people are not really gone as long as those they leave remember them. I feel the bould Mr.Kenny’s presence most days – but he’s on my shoulder today. May God be good to all those who are gone.
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