Outstanding Concert Performances at Patrick O’Keeffe Festival

Paddy Jones (centre being presented with the award for his dedication to the music of Sliabh Luachra by Peter Browne and festival chairman, Cormac O'Mahony. ©Photographs: John Reidy
Paddy Jones (centre being presented with the award for his dedication to the music of Sliabh Luachra by Peter Browne and festival chairman, Cormac O’Mahony. ©Photographs: John Reidy

A full house at the River Island Hotel on Sunday night was treated to outstanding performances from a wide range of musicians.

The occasion was the annual concert of the Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival where Tim Dennehy was the Master of Ceremonies.

The Clare based, Ballinskelligs born singer also contributed a couple of songs to the proceedings as did Mickey MacConnell and Seamus Ó Beaglaoich and his daughter, Méabh Ní Bheaglaoich in their turns.

Their efforts were greeted warmly and thunderous applause followed each of the excellent acts.

A Quiet Ceremony

Earlier in the evening, in a quiet ceremony in the River Island Hotel, Paddy Jones was presented with the festival’s Dedication to the Music of Sliabh Luachra Award by RTÉ broadcaster, musician and festival founder member, Peter Browne. It was at Paddy’s request that the event was a low key affair.

Paddy is one of Patrick O’Keeffe’s last surviving pupils and before handing over the Finn Harper created portrait, Peter Browne spoke of Paddy’s natural claim to the award.

“You have indeed been a great servant of the music of Sliabh Luachra and to have a living link to the man himself honoured like this is very important,” said Mr. Browne.

Maurice O’Keeffe, Willie O’Connell, Ciarán MacMathúna, Peter Browne, Paddy Cronin, Mikey Duggan, Jerry McCarthy are among the previous recipients of the award.

The Shoes of O’Keeffe

Paddy Jones then put himself in the shoes of O’Keeffe for a moment. “If this was Pádraig O’Keeffe he’d run a mile from that or any stage. He’d far rather be in the corner of a pub playing away with a few mediums of porter in front of him. He was a grand old gentleman,” said Paddy.

People may be confused by the Pádraig V Patrick titles given to the festival by people in the trade – as it were.

The late Mike Kenny always inclined towards the vernacular and he chose the Patrick O’Keeffe tag after hearing Peter Browne’s wonderful documentary in 1994.

We talked about it one day in Sheila Prendiville’s and a line from one of the interviewees jumped out. After commenting on Patrick’s rakishness the lady finished her sentence with ‘Poor Patrick’ and that was that.

Patrick Keeffe

You will still hear people around here dropping the O’ and calling him Patrick Keeffe. The man himself often signed his name as Pádraig Ó Caoimh.

Next year will mark the 25th anniversary of the founding of the festival in 1993. On that occasion it was to remember the 30th anniversary of the death of the great fiddle master in February 22-1963.

Plans are afoot to go to town on the celebration of the culture and music of our own place. Have a look through the gallery of pictures here from last night’s concert.

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