Agenda and Stage Set for 10th Anniversary World Fiddle Day Scartaglen

Back in the Day: Gathering at Browne’s Bar on the eve of the first Kerry based World Fiddle Day in 2013 were from left: PJ Teahan, ogranising committee; Jackie O’Connor, Tom Fleming TD who launched the event; Tom O’Connell, Charlie Nelligan and Mick Culloty, committee members. ©Photograph: John Reidy 17-5-2013.
Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival Chairman, Cormac O’Mahony (left) and Treasurer, Jerome ‘Fagin’ Hartnett will make their Handed Down debut as a music and song duo in Scartaglen on Friday night. Cormac is a veteran of the Scart stage but it’s a first for Fagin.  ©Photograph: John Reidy

It’s near the time of the year when the fiddle and those associated with it in Sliabh Luachra will be celebrated and honoured in the best known way – by letting the music of the area ring out.

World Fiddle Day will get underway on this Saturday May 20th. starting at noon in Lyons’ Bar in Scartaglen with a few words from Matt Cranitch and tunes with Jackie Daly – as it has every third weekend in May since its inception.

Founded in 2013, the local version of World Fiddle Day will celebrate its 10th anniversary this weekend. 

This year will be tinged with sadness as another of the festival regulars, Dónal Ó Laoire passed away in March and, just in recent days, news of the death of fiddler, Seán Keane of The Chieftains.

Session in Sheila’s

“We first met Donal in 2010 in Castleisland when he joined Mike Rice, Mick Culloty and myself in a session during the Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival and we took him to Sheila Prendiville’s Bar for a tune,” said World Fiddle Day Scartaglen founder member PJ Teahan.

“Dónal was a proud Co. Meath man but with Rathmore, Sliabh Luachra blood coursing through his veins and he never missed a recital,” said PJ.

“Our 2023 World Fiddle Day Recital In Memory of Dónal Ó Laoire will be hosted by Aoife Ní Chaoimh and Roisín O’Connor is on Saturday at 1.45pm in the Heritage Centre Scartaglin.

“We’re delighted to have his family attending and a special WFD token awaits participating fiddle players,” P.J. announced.

Handed Down on Friday Night

However, before Saturday dawns, there’s the final Handed Down session of the 2022 / ’23 season on Friday night from 8pm.

“Listowel in the early seventies was famous for its hosting of the All Ireland Fleadh Cheoil and we have eye witness accounts of these special occasions,” said P.J.

“On the night before World Fiddle Day we have two legendary fiddle players who will talk about those great occasions for North Kerry.

“Paddy Glackin from Dublin who won an All Ireland title there and Nickie McAuliffe from Kerry will chat and recall the great sessions and players they encountered and played with.

New Slide Unveiling

“We’ll have Aidan Connolly premiering a new slide he composed in honour of Donal O’Leary R.I.P

and Donal’s family will be in attendance.

“Special guest musicians including: Aidan Connolly with Jackie Daly and Matt Cranitch and, fittingly, Scartaglen musician, Seán Butler will open the proceedings with Con Moynihan as master of ceremonies,” P.J. continued.

Michelle O’Sullivan is bringing a team of young Tralee musicians to the stage in Scart. And Con Moynihan will also bring his ‘upstairs class’ to the stage.

Master / student sessions have become an integral and talent nurturing part of the overall Handed Down approach of the season now ending.

Cormac and Fagin on Song

Jerome ‘Fagin’ Hartnett is better known as a Castleisland publican. However, his customers and friends also know him to be a fine singer.

Fellow singer and musician, Cormac O’Mahony will accompany Jerome on this rare performance beyond the confines of his Limerick Road Corner pub.

P.J. Teahan reminds patrons that the music starts on Friday night at 8pm in the centre in Scartaglin and the event is being recorded for screen broadcast at a date to be revealed.

Annual Photo Session

“On Saturday at the earlier time of 1.30pm the annual photo session at the Pádraig O’Keeffe monument takes place and, this year, young Kerry fiddle player Seán Michael Redican will lead the tunes.

“At 3.30pm we will visit Scartaglen Graveyard to remember old friends with tunes at Mikey Duggan’s and Dan Jeremiah O’Connor’s graves where box players Seán Butler and Mick Culloty, respectively, will lead the fiddlers with polkas and slides.

“Then we board two O’Connor buses guided by Nickie McAuliffe and Con Moynihan on a historic tour where we will hear great stories, visit more old friends and more music before returning around 9pm to Scartaglen and Castleisland for tunes.

Lyons’, Fagin’s and Tom’s Hosting

“For Friday and Saturday nights we are grateful to Lyons’ Bar Scartaglen, Tom McCarthy’s Bar and Fagin’s Bar, Castleisland for again hosting visiting musicians in sessions.

“We wish to thank: Eilís Moynihan, Sheila McSweeney, John Walsh and all the Sliabh Luachra Heritage Centre volunteers in Scartaglen – they have helped us since 2014 and we also thank everyone who supported us by attending.

“A special thanks to Kerry County Council Arts Department for believing in our project and helping with funding always and to NEWKD for their backing this year,” said P.J.

You can contact The Maine Valley Post on… Anyone in The Maine Valley Post catchment area who would like to send us news and captioned photographs for inclusion can send them to: Queries about advertising and any other matters regarding The Maine Valley Post can also be sent to that address or just ring: 087 23 59 467.