The Late Daniel ‘Dan Jos’ Herlihy, Newmarket Road, Ballydesmond

Fun in the Radio Kerry Studio: The late Dan Herlihy (right) pictured with Mary Conroy (seated) and Máire Begley with Denis O’Connor (left) Cormac O’Mahony and Pangur Bán on Kingdom Ceili at the Radio Kerry Studios in 2002. ©Photograph: John Reidy 18-10-2002

The death has occurred of Daniel Herlihy, Newmarket Road, Ballydesmond.

On November 8th and peacefully, in the loving care of the staff of Kanturk Community Hospital. Daniel ‘Dan Jos’ musician.

Deeply regretted by his loving family, sons: Brendan, Dan, Kieran, stepsons: Mark and Andrew, daughter Marie and in-laws, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, his aunt Kitty Lawlor, relatives, neighbours and friends.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dhílis.

Dan Herlihy – O’Keeffe Festival Award Winner in 2012

The late Dan Herlihy from Ballydesmond was presented with the Dedication to the Music of Sliabh Luachra Award at the Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival in Castleisland in 2012.

He was also presented with an award with very similar wording but exactly the same sentiments at the 2017 Maurice O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival in Kiskeam and Ballydesmond.

Traditional music archivists have always placed great store on the work of collectors down through the years.

Sliabh Luachra Blessed

The Sliabh Luachra region was blessed that so many of the ‘greats’ in the business visited so often and with so much purpose.

Without them the place would have a much poorer, cultural outlook today and so much of what the area is known and loved for would have been lost.

The likes of : Alan Lomax, Séamus Ennis, Seán Mac Reamonn, Andreas Ó Geallachóir, Breandán Breathnach, Terry Moylan, Diane Hamilton, Ciarán Mac Mathúna, Peter Browne and Radio Éireann and the BBC and many more – have all left their mark on the growth and popularity of the music of the area.

A Mine of Music

Most of them had a little team of sound-men and technicians and drivers with them and they are among the unsung heroes in the band behind what’s out there today.

Musicians came calling too and didn’t go away empty handed. They too helped enormously in spreading the word on the mine of music that is Sliabh Luachra.

But there were also locals who worked away diligently within their own few fields, townlands and parishes.

Extreme Creativity

They played their tunes and prompted others to play theirs and they swopped them and put names on them for posterity.

The naming of the tunes was often creative in the extreme but the stories that came with them stayed with them – like names and dates on the back of an old photograph – pure gold.

Dan Herlihy was one of the collectors who put in a huge amount of effort in his own place and the few miles at either side of it.

Two Books of Tunes

He released at least two recordings of his own in CD form and there may have been a cassette tape release earlier than these.

He also published two books of tunes, Sliabh Luachra Music Masters Vol. 1 in 2003 and Vol. 2 some four years later in 2007.

These were peppered with photographs of the people who kept the music alive when it was neither popular or profitable.

200 Tunes and Biographies

The first book alone contained almost 200 tunes and was packed with biographies of all the greats of the area down through the years.

He guested on several other recordings and supplied information on tune titles for many more.

Dan released his The Night of the Fair a 16 track CD of Traditional Irish Music from Sliabh Luachra in 1996.

The line up was: Dan himself on accordion with Christy Cronin, vocals; Denis O’Connor, banjo; Con Moynihan, fiddle; John Drew, mandocello; Tim Browne, bouzouki; Cormac O’Mahony, guitar; Dan O’Connor, fiddle; Paddy Brosnan and Joe O’Connell both on bodhrán.

The Music of his Own Place

In his 2000 released CD The Ballydesmond Polka you don’t have to go far beyond the title of the recording to pick up on the man’s dedication to the music of his own place.

If proof is needed a scan down along the 14 track titles and you’ll find the likes of: Farewell To Ballinahulla; The Groves Of Gneeveguilla; The Blackwater Banks; The Knocknaboul No. 1 and No. 2 and the most intriguing: Pay the Girl her Fourpence.

On this recording Dan was joined by John Drew on mandocello.

On the basis of the above alone, most would agree that Dan Herlihy was a most worthy recipient of the award for his dedication to the music of his locality.

May God be good to him.

Funeral Arrangements

Reposing in Tarrant’s Funeral Home, Ballydesmond, on this Sunday the 10th at 6pm, with removal to St. Patrick’s Church, Ballydesmond, at 8pm.

Requiem Mass on Monday the 11th at 12 noon, followed by burial in the adjoining cemetery.

Date Published: Friday 8th November 2019. Date of Death: Friday 8th November 2019.