A milestone in the history of traditional music broadcasting in Castleisland will be marked on Céili House on this Saturday night on RTÉ Radio 1 at just after 9pm.
Presenter, Kieran Hanrahan and producer, Peter Browne and their team recorded a Sunday afternoon session at Brennan’s Bar, Killarney Road in November 2002 for broadcast over the following weeks.
Patrick O’Keeffe Festival 2021
The cause of the rebroadcast is that Kieran Hanrahan is revisiting the 2002 recordings while giving the upcoming Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival a boost.
He was particularly anxious to give an airing to the festival’s plans to incorporate a ‘young musician award’ in this year’s festival – which looks ready to go ahead from Friday to Monday, October 22nd to 25th as all remaining Covid-19 restrictions are set to be lifted on that Friday.
It may not be the hell for leather, tail on the back, Friday afternoon to Tuesday night affair of yore but at least it’s back on the calendar of events in a year when so many of its equals have had to be kept under wraps.
Great Winter’s Day in 2002
On that great day in the winter of 2002, Brennan’s lounge was transformed into a recording studio and what looked like thousands of miles of cables ran in all directions to feed a mountain of equipment.
I filed the attached report below on the occasion for The Kerryman of the following week.
Musicians and singers came from all quarters of the locality and beyond to be in Brennan’s Bar for Sunday’s memorable occasion of the Céilí House recording.
Following in the formidable footsteps of the likes of Seamus Ennis, Ciarán MacMathúna and Peter Browne himself, Kieran Hanrahan – the former Stockton’s Wing banjo player, has taken the mantle with ease and has a great way of bringing people through the trauma of recording.
The setting up of equipment was all done for close enough to lunch-time and sound checks followed.
The Ballinaboul Céilí Band
Included in the line-up for the afternoon were the O’Connor (Dan Jerry) family – who, at Joe’s instigation, adopted the name of The Ballinaboul Céili Band just for the day.
After a few checks and a bit of fine tuning they lashed into a couple of slides as if they were at the microphone every day of the week.
The trio: father, Jackie on accordion with sons, Jerry and Joe on fiddle and banjo respectively, were joined on the occasion by another family member, Mary, on the concert flute.
The Music Only Flowed
Jackie and the boys play at Brennan’s every Friday night and are joined occasionally by Mary. Visiting or local musicians or singers are always more welcome to join them; last Friday night, Rose and Tony Halsall sat in on the session and the music only flowed.
The reunion of the nucleus of the old Brosna Céili Band was co-ordinated by Brosna native Donal O’Connor – a cousin of Jackie’s and an uncle of the famous Gerry Banjo O’Connor.
Music and Musicianship
The gathering was mightily impressed with the calibre of music and musicianship throughout the afternoon. This was augmented by the powerful singing of Gneeveguilla’s Christy Cronin and Pat O’Sullivan from Scartaglin.
Of the singers , Christy was first into the fray and he gave the well-known Moonlighter song The Ballad of John Twiss.
A few more rousing tunes and it was Pat’s turn to step up to the mic and he sang the tribute to Patrick O’Keeffe which was written by Scart native John Galvin – which I’ve only heard sung before by big John O’Connor.
Fiddles Inside the Counter
Donal O’Connor told Kieran Hanrahan, in the course of the programme, how his father and a Duagh based character by the name of The Yank Relihan used to meet at the fairs in Abbeyfeale. After selling their beasts they would repair to a pub where there was a couple of fiddles inside the counter and play away for the remainder of the evening.
Patrick O’Keeffe – An Unavoidable Topic
In anchoring the programme to the town, Patrick O’Keeffe and his life and times was an unavoidable topic.
There was general agreement with the point, made by Donal O’Connor, that it was a providential day for the music of the locality that Patrick walked away from his job as a teacher and the confines of the classroom and into the countryside for miles around him.
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