Micheál Ó Súilleabháin – his Words of Praise Meant the World to Mike Kenny

Jim Walsh, Cork Folk Festival (left) pictured with Gerard O’Connor, O’Connor Monumental Works, Castleisland with the late Micheál Ó Suilleabháin and the late Mike Kenny at the unveiling of the Johnny O’Leary sculpture in Killarney in April 2007.                         ©Photograph: John Reidy 28-4-2007

The bonds of friendship are close in the world of music in Ireland. It’s a small world. Traditional music, in particular, draws its own circles and tightens those bonds.

Castleisland came firmly within that circle midway through the last century with the activity of the likes of Patrick O’Keeffe, Denis Murphy, Julia Clifford and many more.

Net of Friendship

The circle of friends grew exponentially with the founding of the Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Festival Music in Castleisland in 1993 and with the years since.

And because the festival’s first chairman, the late Mike Kenny, was also involved in the world of sculpture the net of friendship was cast ever farther out.

Radio programmes are all paying and playing their own tributes to the late Micheál Ó Suilleabháin all morning.

Every Known Honour

The 1950 born Clonmel native and musical genius, who died on Wednesday after a long illness, did everything that was musically possible in the course of a career in which every known honour came his way.

On a great day for Castleisland in Killarney back in April  2007, Micheál Ó Suilleabháin made a point of coming over to Mike Kenny and congratulating him of his work on the just unveiled monument to Johnny O’Leary.

Meant the World

That meant the world to Mr. Kenny and he asked me later that night if I saw the hug he got from the great musical composer. He was walking on air and I had to break it to him that I had photographs of them.

Ó Suilleabháin also attended Kenny’s Seán Ó Riada sculpture unveiling in August 2008 on the church grounds in Cúl Aodha and, here too, words of congratulations and praise passed from the musical genius to his kindred spirit.

May God be good to them.

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