All Going to Plan in Castleisland

Mickey MacConnell introducing one of his songs at Saturday's singing session with fellow guests, Tim Dennehy and Don Stiffe. ©Photograph: John Reidy
Mickey MacConnell introducing one of his songs at Saturday’s singing session with fellow guests, Tim Dennehy and Don Stiffe. ©Photograph: John Reidy

We’re right in the throes of the 24th annual Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival and what a time we’re having – and surviving in spite of ourselves.

Yesterday’s singing session was nothing short of magnificent and the town is walking with brilliant music and musicians – home grown and imported.

Aileen Roantree presided over one of the best singing sessions we’ve witnessed for a long time – by all accounts. To say that Tim Dennehy, Mickey MacConnell and first timer in Castleisland, Don Stiffe gave their best is quite an understatement.

Songs, and the stories behind them, flowed freely from the three men and, in fairness, I can’t see how the day could be bettered or held without their inclusion. They were extraordinary and it was a pleasure and a privilege to be there. And the event was recorded by a South Korean TV crew. Tim and Mickey will also feature in tonight’s all star, legends’ concert at the River Island Hotel from 8pm.

Don Stiffe has attached himself firmly to the Castleisland list and I’m going to visit the Celia Griffin Memorial Park on the next of my frequent visits to Salthill on the strength of hearing his own, powerful song about the tragic, famine time story of that little Connemara girl and her ultimate death from starvation.

The three-day coursing meeting is on at Cahill Park in Tullig and will finish up tomorrow. Their event too is blessed by the most favourable weather we’ve had in a while and we’re all crossing our fingers that it will last into and beyond the November 1st horse fair day.

There is only a small little mystery attached to the only fair day left to us – and it’s probably there since it began away back in the mists of time.

When November 1st falls on a Sunday the fair day goes to the next day, Monday 2nd – that’s all there is to it.

There is no fear of mystery or even suspense this year as the fair is on bright and early on the this Tuesday, November 1st.

The fair is the final chapter of an organically grown and long established crop of local events which began on Friday night with the launch of the Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival.

The fair on Tuesday will attract a different client base to town. However, they too are good for the pubs and restaurants.

Traditionally, when the fair falls on the day after the music festival it finds the odd musician conveniently and purposely stranded.

It’s always a great old afternoon and evening for a sing song and the long range weather forecast is good.

Never did a Wednesday look so far away. With God’s help we’ll make it to the other side of it all.  Conor O’Mahony IPhoned parts of the singing session yesterday and you can see it with a click on the Link here.

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