I’m delighted to report that World Fiddle Day got off to a ripping start here in Castleisland on Friday night and it continued in that vein right throughout the weekend.
Browne’s Bar hosted the opening night of what promised to be a wonderful weekend of the music most favoured in this neck-of-the-woods.
This is the first real ‘toe-in-the-water’ event for the organisers and the fact that the first night went so well was a bonus in itself. The fact that it went brilliantly will be deeply satisfying for them. It provided the perfect backdrop for the trip up to Scartaglin on Saturday afternoon – where as pleasant an afternoon as you could hope for ensued.
The weather was so obliging and it made the Scart event extra special. The lovely and ever improving appearance of my mother’s native village was a perfect setting for the hugely cultural event which unfolded in the course of the afternoon.
If the musicians and fans felt at home there, then they will surely have ‘touched base’ with the hallowed history of the walls that sheltered Patrick O’Keeffe so many times during his eventful life and times. Where he was visited, sought out and found by the likes of: Willie Clancy, Séamus Ennis and where Liam Clancy took that ever so famous photograph of him with the ‘Medium’ and the bow.
The surprise of the day came in Lyons’s Bar where organiser, PJ Teahan handed a fiddle case to master of ceremonies, Nicky McAuliffe. Nicky explained that the instrument therein belonged to Patrick O’Keeffe and had been restored a few years ago. Nicky then handed the fiddle and bow to 94 year-old, Maurice O’Keeffe from Kiskeam. Maurice was surrounded by fiddlers on all sides and he invited them to join him in the tune and they were off for the afternoon.
There were open sessions under way in Fleming’s, Lyons’s and O’Connor’s bars from around 2pm on Saturday .
At 4.30pm all fiddle players and their fiddles assembled at the Patrick O’Keeffe monument for a commemorative photograph and they lashed into a couple of tunes while they were waiting for the late arrivals.
At 4.45pm. a ‘fiddlers of the locality’ photographic collection was unveiled by: Margaret O’Connor, Elma Dignan, Nora McSweeney and Mary O’Connor in Lyons’s Bar.
Fair play to PJ Teahan and his team of: Con Moynihan, Tom O’Connell, Charlie Nelligan and Mick Culloty. They’ve created a wonderful weekend of music out of the blue and they’ve attached yet another valuable, annual festival to the calendar of events here.