A truly festive, musical treat is in store for the Kingdom as preparations are well underway in Castle Island for the annual Con Houlihan Memorial Christmas Concert.
The event takes please on Saturday 17th December from 8pm with doors open at 7-30pm at the River Island Hotel in Castle Island and a host of special guests are lined up for the evening which is being held in association with Kerry County Council Community Support Fund.
Save By Booking Early
Tickets are €20 and should be purchased in advance as they’ll cost €25 on the night. Bookings from the River Island Hotel on: 066 71 42555 or by calling 087 68 70 581.
Headlining this year’s billing is the last remaining living member of The Dubliners, John Sheahan – fiddler, tin whistle player, composer and poet.
Sheahan and Houlihan made acquaintance in the early days of The Dubliners formation in O’Donoghue’s of Merrion Row and remained firm friends.
It was indeed Con who wrote the sleevenotes for their 25 Year Celebration Album and described the group as ‘leaves from different trees blown together by the wind that changed the world of music a generation ago.’
An Chúilfhionn for Con
Sheahan performed the traditional air An Chúilfhionn at Con’s funeral ceremony in August 2012, when he passed away at the age of 86.
Playing alongside Sheahan on the night is Ballyduff native, box player Danny O’Mahony.
No stranger and a great friend to Castle Island, Danny released his long awaited and critically acclaimed debut solo recording In Retrospect in 2011 and it was officially launched in Dublin by John Sheahan.
Danny presents and produces Trip to the Cottage which features Irish Traditional Music and Song on Radio Kerry every Monday night from 8-10pm.
Sheahan and O’Mahony collaborated for the first time at a Folk Festival in Norway in 2010. “We performed under the stage name The Cooley Blues along with Cyril O’Donoghue and Michael Howard.
“That was a great experience and since then, we have developed a great musical friendship and have performed together many times. Our most recent performance was Live in the Marquee in Ballyduff last Summer.
“We had a fantastic weekend in Ballyduff over the August Bank Holiday weekend and John was the highlight. People travelled from far and wide to hear him and meet him.
“We’re delighted to have the Co. Clare singer and Bouzouki player Cyril O’Donoghue join us again in Castleisland for another memorable night,” said Danny.
The audience on the night can expect an exciting display of top class dancing from world champion step dancer Séamus Ó Flatharta from the Connemara Gaeltacht. Ó Flatharta is also an All-Ireland Sean Nós Singer and Harpist.
The Marino Waltz from the famed Bord na Móna ad is guaranteed to be performed on the night, along with some more of John’s exquisite compositions. He will also recite some poems from his debut collection Fiddle Dreams and is sure to share a comical tale or two of his days with The Dubliners and Con Houlihan.
Huge Rugby Fan
The late, great Con Houlihan was not only a huge rugby fan but he also played with the local club in The Crageens. He was renowned for his eloquent, descriptive powers which employed his vast literary knowledge to bring the most mundane of sports fixtures alive through his regular column in the Evening Press.
The Con Houlihan Memorial Weekend was first set up in 2013 to honour the memory and promote the legacy of the late Con Houlihan.
In September 2013 a Folk School and Seminar, a charity event which benefited local charities, a concert featuring the Munster Rugby Supporters Club Choir and local school Choirs and other acitvities were held in Castle Island RFC.
Currow Rugby Heroes
This was followed in 2015 by a concert in The Church of the Immaculate Conception Currow where the Dursley Male Voice Choir performed.
The concert was held in Currow to honour the rugby heroes of that parish. There was also a Hospice Ball held at the Rugby Club, a Golf Classic and a walk in Glanageenty Woods. As Con Houlihan was a renowned journalist and writer a creative writing competition has also been held each year in his honour.
This competition is confined to fifth and sixth class students from local schools and it provides them with a chance to showcase their creativity.
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