World Fiddle Day Scartaglin 2022 – It’s Good to be Back

Róisín O’Connor playing at the graveside of Patrick O’Keeffe in Kilmurry and being recorded by RTÉ presenter, Aoife Nic Cormaic and Eoin Stan O’Sullivan for Sliabh Luachra Records while her mom Aoife Ní Chaoimh listens. Photograph: John Reidy
Martin O’Connor, Cordal (left) one of Patrick O’Keeffe’s surviving pupils playing at the master’s grave in Kilmurry with Matt Cranitch as part of the bus tour of Sliabh Luachra during Saturday’s World Fiddle Day celebrations. Photograph: John Reidy

There was an almost overwhelming feeling of joy and relief at last weekend’s World Fiddle Day Scartaglen.

Joy and relief at the fact that people were able to gather in the one place, shake hands, hug and tell each other face-to-face how good it was to be able to do so.

That the weather facilitated a largely outdoor holding of the goings on was another blessing that didn’t go amiss as people were mixing and traipsing around the village at will.

Handed Down Archive Launch

Friday evening’s gathering was all about the launch of the Handed Down Sliabh Luachra Archive – another of the emerging ventures which benefitted greatly from the periods of lock-down.

Event organiser, P.J. Teahan declared himself delighted with how this year’s festival went.

“I was a proud man to see the Handed Down Sliabh Luachra Archive launched and to get such a huge, enthusiastic audience,” said PJ after the required period of reflection.

“RTÉ’ s Aoife Nic Chormaic recorded some great music over the weekend and also played along with husband Steve Larkin in some great sessions.

Loads of Fiddle Players

“Irish Traditional Music Archive Director, Liam O’Connor launched and also donated music to our archives as did Esther Douglas and Carmel Gleeson whose dad John Murphy is from Currow.

Among the guests were Mr. O’Connor’s father Mick – a noted collector of music and interviews of musicians from around the country who were living in Dublin along with Kerry County Council Arts Officer Kate Kennelly. 

Visitors from the USA and South Korea

They, and the locals from a wide hinterland, were joined by quite an international audience with visitors from the USA and South Korea taking part in the great reawakening of culture and heritage in the building dedicated to those very ideals.

Saturday was action packed and brought loads of fiddle players to the village for the 3pm tunes and photographs at the monument.

And though PJ’s adamant, bold and even blunt announcement, that there was to be ‘no gossiping’ after the photos and tunes session and that everyone was to head to the hall for another fiddle recital, a general air of conviviality just reigned on.    

“A special moment for me personally was to see Glountane people waiting for us at Pádraig O’Keeffe’s house as our bus tour stopped there,” said PJ,

Examples of Native Hospitality

“I wondered were my own relatives from there along with O’Keeffe’s looking down from above wondering what was going on.

“A special thanks to Lyons’ Bar, Tom McCarthy’s Bar and Fagin’s Bar whom I saw welcoming our international visitors and treating them to a welcoming beverage on the house.

“This example of native hospitality underlined the spirit and goodwill which lasted throughout the weekend.

Treated Like Kings

“Also at our stop in Gneeveguilla Community Centre a crowd of 80 of us were treated like kings with food and refreshments.

“A great weekend for Sliabh Luachra and now it’s time to plan Handed Down for the winter months.

“It’s good to be back,” said a delighted and greatly relieved P.J.

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