Record Crowds Turn up for 25th Anniversary Festival

We have just put the 25th Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival behind us. From all estimations is has been the best in that long, long line stretching back to 1993.

Friday night broke all previous records in terms of crowds and content. The informal launch at the River Island Hotel is something which will be kept for years to come.

There, the departed friends of the festival were remembered and their praises sung.

Teahan’s Exhibition Idea Start

P.J. Teahan’s exhibition proved the ideal launching pad for the weekend. The discussion it led to with contributions from Peter Browne, Matt Cranitch and from P.J. himself provided the perfect start to the weekend. And with ith an joint and enthusiastic ‘All Sails Aloft’ we let it go to where it would carry us from that point.

Newly Formatted Singing

On Saturday the newly formatted singing session was a great hit as the invited guests got more air time than in other years. Up to now the plan included as many locals who cared to show up and sing. People who travelled to hear the invited felt done out as there couldn’t be enough time allotted for them.

On Saturday the line up was: Tim Dennehy, Mickey MacConnell, Don Stiffe and festival first-timers, Muireann Nic Amhlaibh, and Dónal Clancy.

Their wonderful performances kept the packed house almost silent for a solid couple of hours.

And the local singing? You might ask.

Full Afternoon for Locals

There is a full afternoon now well established for them and run by locals, Mikey ‘The Legend’ O’Connor and Joe Walsh.

The pub sessions went swimming well all weekend and the standard of music was ‘out of this world’ as one woman put it. There were visitors from America, Canada, Japan, Holland and the UK. Don Stiffe announced that he had met a group of people who brought a bus load from Cavan.

Gabriel Fitzmaurice’s poetry session also attracted a crowd of locals and visitors from around the county and country and reports suggest that, it too, was the best in years.

There was great joy and celebration at the concert as Matt Cranitch received his festival award for dedication to the music of Sliabh Luachra from festival co-founder, Peter Browne.

Fiddler of Dooney Winner

In turn, Matt introduced young musician, Caoimhe Flannery from Rockchapel who had just won the U-18 Fiddler of Dooney competition on Saturday in Sligo. Matt also informed the house that Caoimhe joins himself as only the second Cork winner of the prestigious title since it was founded in 1965. Matt won the senior title in 1969.

We were delighted to welcome Peter Browne’s son Ciarán on his first visit to the festival.

Thanks to All Involved

Tim Dennehy conducted the concert with absolute professionalism with an informed citation on each of the acts performing.

To wind it all up festival chairman Cormac O’Mahony thanked everyone for making the effort to be there and he thanked the festival’s many backers and sponsors without whom, he assured the crowd, it could not happen. He specifically mentioned the generosity of the local business community in Castleisland; NEWKD; the Arts Department at Kerry County Council and the Arts Council of Ireland for their greatly appreciated help with the event.

Pats Broderick resigned from his role as festival president – again. His offer was rejected at a hastily convened EGM and by a unanimous verdict. There’s always something.

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