You know the way you’re drawn into a painting and have a look around and lose yourself in your imagined ambiance.
The late Mike Kenny (1956-2011) and myself were in his painting of The Shoemaker one night years ago. I was there in the role of admirer – as I always thought it was one of his finest, surviving pieces of brush-work.
He was there as a harsh, self critic. He thought he should have ‘thrown’ a handful of tacks on the bench around the base of the last and a couple trailing out beyond the sole of the shoe.
It was a Sunday Anyway
I told him I knew the shoemaker in whose memory the bar was named and that he was a tidy man and, by the looks of it, the shoe was finished and he would have cleaned the bench and it was probably a Sunday anyway.
We snapped out of it, stepped back out and called for our first couple of pints.
That painting hung on the chimney breast of The Shoemaker’s Inn for more than a decade from the early 1980s.
If its disappearance was a minor mystery then, its reappearance on a recent June night was major. It was the kind of night that the man himself would have celebrated with all sails aloft.
Right Man – Right Place
It was a case of the right man in the right place. I got a call from Pat Jameson late one night and he claimed that the original ‘Kenny painting’ had been rediscovered in a store room at the bar.
Stranger still, it had been left outside the rear door of the bar some time earlier. As it was yet another piece of his work which went unsigned, it wasn’t recognised for what it was.
It took Pat Jameson to pop up and say that’s Mike Kenny’s painting and it belongs on the wall of the bar.
Mike Kenny always credited Pat’s father, Josie Jameson as one of the few people who saw and encouraged him, as a child, along the road he followed for the rest of his life.
There on the Day
Pat Jameson was there on the day that Mike made the presentation of the painting to Pats and Linda Broderick who ran the bar at the time.
It was Mike’s favourite bar at the time under Pats and Linda and it was there he and Mary Jones held the first official meeting of the Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival in the autumn of 1993.
Now, on Friday, August 11th there will be a Mike Kenny Remembrance Weekend in his memory and various events will be held in a handful of pubs.
On that evening in the Shoemaker’s Bar, Nuala and Steve Curtin are facilitating an event from 9pm. Matt Cranitch will re-unveil the painting and he will be joined by Jackie Daly and musicians from far and wide in a tune in memory of Mr. Kenny and a session in the front bar immediately afterwards.
Full credit to the skills of local carpenter, Martin Nolan who reunited the painting with its frame and hung it in the bar.
Mick Culloty, PJ Teahan, Paul de Grae, Mary Lawless, Con Moynihan and Denis O’Connor and Matt will be bringing Japanese guest musicians to the session.
Anyone who knew the late Mr. Kenny is invited to attend. There will also be a weekend launch and a session at the nearby Browne’s Bar.
It was on the Friday evening of August 12th. 2011 that Mike died in Kerry General Hospital.
Full Programme of Events
There is also a full programme of events on over the weekend including the awarding of the Mike Kenny Memorial Cup to a young musician and a busking competition on the street on Saturday.
See The Maine Valley Post’s recent preview of other events over the weekend and contact details through the link here: http://www.mainevalleypost.com/2017/07/10/mike-kenny-remembrance-weekend-august-11th-and-12th
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