The 26th Patrick O’Keeffe Festival Goes Joyfully Down the Slipway

Gearóid Ó Duinnín (left) in a session with: Sarah Roche, Trish O’Dea, Donal O’Leary, Nollaig Ní Laoire, Cliodhna Ní Choisdealbha, Aoife Ní Chaoimh and Paudie O’Connor at Hartnett’s Bar on Friday night.    ©Photograph: John Reidy

We evoked memories of those passed and celebrated the moment with glasses filled to the brim at the launch of the 26th annual Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival last night.

On my way down town, a full moon, with a small sup out of it, declared itself from behind an ominous looking cloud.

Breezy Composure

But, God is good and the night held its cool, breezy composure and ran itself well into Saturday that way.

We had a lovely launch and Minister for Sport and Tourism, Brendan Griffin, TD was introduced by festival chairman, Cormac O’Mahony. And Danny Healy Rae, TD dropped in to express his support for the event.

Minister Griffin reassured us that we are on the right path as far as the policy of his department and his portfolio are concerned.

Under Your Feet

Preserving what’s under your feet and presenting it to visitors as a sustainable and viable tourism attraction is a most suitable vehicle for funding from his point of view.

Minister Griffin, who was accompanied by his party colleague, Cllr. Bobby O’Connell, also pointed out, as a sign of strength of community the fact that mass on the Sunday morning is celebrated for passed festival committee members and supporters.

Under Our Gazes

In conclusion, he encouraged the committee to mind its own area, keep doing what it’s doing and he promised that he’d look at how the festival could benefit from grants under various headings.

And, like you’d write away for it, right under our gazes, visitors from up-state New York from throughout the UK and Japan mixed with musicians from all over Ireland as the event gathered momentum.

Diaspora Working

Incidentally, the New Yorkers, Beverly Kosak and Dan Simmons were here on the recommendation of Killarney Road native, Joe Keane. The diaspora working well in a good cause.

Cormac then introduced Eoin Stan O’Sullivan the just appointed Cork/Kerry/Limerick County Council Musician in Residence.

Eoin had already lashed into a session while he was waiting and was aided and abetted in this by PJ Teahan, Kathy Cook, Forbes Robertson, Paddy Jones and Mick Culloty.

Lifted Glasses

Eoin outlined what his role entails and spoke of the vibrancy of the area in his watch over the next twelve months.

We lifted glasses in varying degrees of volume and, invoking our first chairman, Mike Kenny’s ‘All Sails Aloft’ – his favourite saying when things were purring – we left the 2018 festival off down the slipway.

There are information booklets in all the pubs and at the River Island Hotel reception.

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