Jimmy Doyle of Sliabh Luachra was the title of Saturday night’s, latest installment in the Handed Down series of concerts and lectures.
While many in the series to date have been dedicated to the memory of characters and players long gone from the worldly stage, a small handful have honoured the living.
Saturday night’s event was one such example. Simply put: the Jimmy Doyle / Bryan O’Leary show packed Scart Heritage Centre.
If they had as much space again they would have sold that out too.
Meeting Your Heroes
For presenter Bryan O’Leary the old adage of not meeting your heroes does not hold bog water.
The young musician from the heartland so enriched by the presence of Jimmy Doyle and his equals set out his stall and plan of attack early on in the encounter.
He told his audience of the hero status Jimmy Doyle occupies in his thinking, in his music and in his thinking about his music.
There were giants on the shoulders of the men on stage on Saturday night and they played supporting roles in the goings on. They were remembered fondly for their colourful contributions to the tapestry that is now the accepted cultural outlook of the Sliabh Luachra area.
Fallen Sliabh Luachra Heroes
Many of these fallen Sliabh Luachra heroes were recalled through storied film clips which punctuated the proceedings.
Outstanding musical contributions were delivered in honour of the occasion by Jimmy Doyle’s grandchildren, Kayleigh Doyle and Jamie O’Donoghue and later by the man himself. He was joined in this by his sons, Pádraig on guitar and Eoin on banjo. Joe and Ciarán O’Sullivan teamed up with Bryan O’Leary for a couple of tunes. There was a song or two and many memories from retired Killarney publican, Jimmy O’Brien.
Crossed the Shannon
Eibhlín de Paor and Connie O’ Connell were joined on stage by Séamus Mac Mathúna and his daughter Íde who crossed the Shannon to be there for Jimmy Doyle and were welcomed accordingly.
Listening to the interaction between O’Leary and Doyle and the music of the accents, you could hear why the radio documentary made by Peter Browne on Patrick O’Keeffe in 1992 / 93 became the focus of world langauge and accent studies in an American university.
I can’t imagine that any of these Scart nights provided as much fun and laughter as the Doyle / O’Leary combination did.
Drawing Him Out
There was devilment in every twinkle of both sets of eyes as O’Leary lobbed knowing questions at Doyle for the pure pleasure of drawing him out.
“We go to the Willie Clancy and to the Westport festivals every year and off to Knock then to do a bit of praying,” said Jimmy in answer to a question on his travels around the country.
That Bryan was being clapped on the back and congratulated nearly as much as Jimmy, in the post show scrum, surely said it all.
The stage was cleared then by the series co-founder, PJ Teahan who worked with the speed of one who did it all before as he dismantled the props of another memorable night in Scart.
That same stage is now set for World Fiddle Day on Saturday, May 20th. Sin scéal eile ar fad.
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