There was a sublime mingling of Culture Night with more than a hint of the prevailing Handed Down mindset in Scartaglin on Friday evening.
The simple, understated style of the presentation on the village square belied the months of preparation which went into the event there and in the kitchen of the nearby heritage centre later on.
The two-part event, solidly hinged throughout with the music of the region, opened with the history of the making and unveiling of the monument to Patrick O’Keeffe which stands in the square since 1983.
Against This Backdrop
The work of the multi talented, Mike Kenny the late Castleisland artist and sculptor, he got this commission while a mature student at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin and it enabled him to continue his studies there.
Against this backdrop and under the cast, bronzed gaze of the great fiddle master himself the festivities unfolded.
Con Moynihan and John Daly were introduced by event organiser PJ Teahan.
They opened the proceedings with a few lively tunes as the crowd began to gather around the monument as the evening went from cool to cold.
The soundtrack of the village continued throughout as tractors and jeeps pulling cattle boxes and fertiliser spreaders trundled by. A reminder that, though we were all delving into the past on the special occasion, life goes on.
Maggie’s Researched Account
Archaeologist, Maggie Prendiville-Keane co-founded the Castleisland and District Culture and Heritage Society with Mike Kenny in 2006.
Maggie gave a well researched account of the fundraising effort which had to be undertaken from the late 1970s to get the proposal for the monument from ambition to fruition.
She mentioned the near global reach of the effort and cited the London aspect which was conducted by Ted Kenny. She was on the ball as Ted was in attendance and nodded in agreement as she listed his input almost in pounds, shillings and pence.
Terry ‘Cuz’ Teahan was also hard at it in Chicago and pulling in the dollars for the Scart project which all came to a glorious realisation with the unveiling in July 1983.
Eamon Fleming’s Recollections
At the end of her well applauded contribution, Maggie introduced Eamon Fleming.
Eamon Fleming and Mike Kenny were friends from their days in the Presentation Convent Primary School in Castleisland.
They went through secondary school and, later in their early working lives, shared accommodation in Cork City around 1974.
In fact, Eamon was at his bedside when he died in Kerry General Hospital in August 2011.
Eamon spoke of how Mike was almost accidentally drawn into the idea of attending art college when he saw what was being exhibited in Cork art circles at the time.
As a naturally talented artist, anyway, he knew he could do better than what he was seeing on walls and plinths and it set a plan in motion which would take him to study in Dublin in 1979.
John Galvin’s Newspaper Accounts
Local newspaper correspondent, John Galvin then spoke of Scartaglin’s association with music and football. He stressed how the siting of the monument there had strengthened the area’s identity and links with the music of Sliabh Luachra.
PJ Teahan then wrapped up the outdoor part of the evening and invited the gathering back to the heritage centre for tea and refreshments.
Kate Kennelly Launched handed Down
Kerry County Council’s Arts Officer, Kate Kennelly attended in her role of Culture Night ‘overseer’ and she helped launch the Handed Down programme for the coming season.
“I can tell you that I’m delighted to be here on Culture Night and to launch the Handed Down programme. Handed Down is all about the young musicians of the area being inspired and mentored by masters of the past and by those still practicing today.
“I have to say that we in Kerry County Council, supported by the Arts Council and Creative Ireland Kerry are delighted to be able to support this series as there is huge value in keeping culture alive and well in areas like this.
“In local areas, in particular in Scartaglin – where you are in the heart of Sliabh Luachra, it is absolutely vital that the tradition is kept alive and we’re delighted to be part of it,” said Ms. Kennelly.
Handed Down Programme 2017 / 2018
The Handed Down programme of events is part of the Sliabh Luachra Music Trail and will run monthly from now until and including World Fiddle Day Scartaglin in May 2018.
As well as introducing up and coming young musicians from the Sliabh Luachra area, poets, singers and historians will all be included in the fare for the season ahead.
October 14th brings North Cork’s Eoin Stan O Sullivan who will honour living legend Timmy O’ Connor and also welcomes recent All Ireland winner, Maura O’Connor on concertina.
November 18th. has De Danann founder member, Charlie Piggott visiting with stories of the Kerry musicians he met in the USA and his own Kerry roots.
Guests on the night will include: Joe Thoma and the Mick Culloty Band.
On December 9th. Máire O’Keeffe from Tralee will return. Máire will trace the evolution of the accordion and its role in Sliabh Luachra Music. Guests include: John Brosnan and Haruaki Saito from Japan.
Into the new year and on January 27th. Dr. Matt Cranitch will cast a light on what a lesson with Padraig O’Keeffe was like with the aid of videos of past pupils and guests including Martin O’ Connor. David Buckley will be the guest singer on the night.
February is ‘Drama Season’ in Scarta and Handed Down acknowledges this and has moved its monthly event to early March.
The 1980s was a fantastic era in traditional music in the Sliabh Luachra area and, on March 3rd. Paudie O’Connor will recount his influences and memories of growing up at that time. Guests include Poet, Eileen Sheehan.
Dubliner, Terry Moylan is featured on March 24th. He’s the man who had the vision to come to Co. Kerry and record and transcribe Johnny O’Leary’s huge repertoire of music. Guests will include Ellen O’Leary.
Finally, on April 21st. Bryan O’Leary will talk and reminisce with Billy Clifford about the legacy he inherited from his mother Julia and his illustrious uncle Denis Murphy.
All events will start at 8pm sharp.
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