Creating an Archive of the Culture of Sliabh Luachra

Jackie Daly will be a special guest and will play at the Handed Down session at Scartaglin Heritage Centre tonight. ©Photograph: John Reidy
World renowned box player, Jackie Daly will be a special guest and will play at the Handed Down session at Scartaglin Heritage Centre tonight. ©Photograph: John Reidy

Creating an Archive of the Culture of Sliabh Luachra. Isn’t that some task. However, and thankfully, a lot of what has gone on in the history of music making, poetry writing and the singing of songs has been well documented.

The Handed Down committee has been gifted with some rare gems of recordings, scraps of paper and photographs and, suddenly the archive is up and running and looking achievable.

There was a state funded, highly equipped effort to create an archive in Scartaglin in the early to mid 1990s but it seems that nobody but God knows where the results of that FAS scheme now lay.

Drawing Together

Every musician who ever struck up a note or a singer of songs or a chronicler of events have, in their own ways, unwittingly contributed to what the Handed Down crew members are now about to draw together.

The drawing together has been old fashioned, word of mouth, handing over of documents and hard copies and travelling to arranged meeting places to facilitate collection.

Collection and its variations have been the most important words in the survival of the culture of Sliabh Luachra as we know it today.

While all the musicians played their parts, it was the people like Séamus Ennis, Andreas Ó Gallachóir, Ciarán Mac Mathúna, Peter Browne, Pat Fealey and institutions like Radio Éireann, the BBC and Topic Records who and which waded in and salvaged and valued what may well have gone ‘Over the Cliff of Silence’ – as Con Houlihan so eloquently put it – in another context.

Tonight’s Lecture

Tonight’s Handed Down lecture will be delivered by Maggie Prendiville-Keane.

In preparation, Maggie, an archaeologist by profession and a guide on one of the most demanding of Ireland’s tourism shifts on Skellig Michael, has been in close consultation with Handed Down founder, PJ Teahan.

PJ has thrown himself into the creation of this modern version of a historic collection with the zeal of the early pioneers.

That he has a sound grasp of today’s often mind numbing technology will be a huge help in the creation of the archive along the way.

Some Rare Pieces

“Maggie will reveal some of these rare pieces to show the community what exists and what we envisage the Handed Down / Sliabh Luachra Archive will become,” PJ explained.

“We were recently awarded a grant from Kerry County Council to help set up an archive of Sliabh Luachra material. We’ve been collecting for years and at present have a large collection of rare audio, video and photographic material which we want to digitize and make available to the public.

“Through the Handed Down series we have examined many topics relating to our area and in doing so have introduced the history of the music to new generations and we’re aware of our responsibilities in using public funding,” he said.

Dan O’Connell Memorial Award

Tonight also, the Handed Down team will be presented with the Dan O’Connell Memorial Award.

To mark the occasion Jackie Daly has been invited to attend and play for a few parts of a polka set.

Groups or individuals wishing to dance are welcome and among the former O’Connell’s Bar dancers invited are: Timmy the Brit, Ann Keane and Eily Buckley, Aileen Cronin and the O’Connell family.

Guests on the night will be: Jackie Daly, Dave Buckley, Mike Rice, Gearoid Keating and Mairead Corridan, Margaret B. Looney, Billy Joy and friends.
The young musicians tonight will be: Meabh Ní Chonaill, Lauren O’Connor and Caoimhe Murphy.

Scartaglin Heritage Centre doors open at 7:30pm and the show starts at 8pm sharp to approximately 10:30pm. Admission: Adults €8 and Children U-12 €3.


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