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ABOUT FESTIVAL 2012
O'Keeffe Festival to celebrate 20th

The 20th annual Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival will take place in Castleisland, Co. Kerry over the October bank holiday weekend from Friday October 26th to the 29th inclusive.

“Even at this early stage of preparations it promises to be one of the best in a long time. While the programme at this stage is always provisional by nature, the line-up of confirmed players already looks like shaping into the most impressive in many years,?said festival chairman, Cormac O'Mahony.  

Mickey MacConnell, Jimmy Crowley, Gerry Harrington, Eoghan O'Sullivan, Paul de Grae and the Smokey Chimney Reunion; West Limerick's Dan Brouder and The Lark's Air Launch; Jackie Dan Jerry O'Connor and Terence McQuinn and the United Nations Reed and String Band; Peter Browne and Billy Clifford, Danny O'Mahony and Micheal O Raghallaigh and Frankie Gavin and De Dannan will be here. They're just some of the confirmed performers so far.  

And, there's more: Joe Burke and Anne Conroy-Burke have just announced at the weekend their intentions to visit Castleisland for the festival and they will join the galaxy on stage at the Grand Concert in the River Island Hotel on Sunday night from 8pm. 

North Cork based, ‘Allow Ceili Band'  All-Ireland Champions in 2007 are coming down to the valley festival for the weekend as well.

The ever popular singing session will be held at Fagin's Bar from 3pm on Saturday afternoon where the likes of: Tim Dennehy, Mickey MacConnell, Seán Garvey. Here also festival debutant, Jimmy Crowley is sure to get a rousing welcome and the session will be hosted by Aileen Rowntree. The popularity of singing at the festival has spawned another session at  'The Poet's Inn on Sunday afternoon at 3pm. 
Here, Peggy Sweeney will talk about and sing the songs of Seán McCarthy the Finuge native singer / songwriter and writer. Local and visiting singers are welcome and this will be hosted by Mikey O'Connor. 

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, TD will officially launch the festival and the associated art exhibition at Browne's Bar at 8pm on Saturday night. 

On the Sunday Night the Grand Concert at the River Island Hotel will feature one of the finest teams assembled in one place here for many years. 

The Smokey Chimney Reunion will see Eoin O’Sullivan, Gerry Harrington & Paul De Grae perform as the trio which recorded that famous CD back in 1995. 

The legendary Cork collector, musician, singer andsongwriter, Jimmy Crowley will take the stage. Danny O' Mahony and Micheal O Raghallaigh will play music from their just launched ‘As it Happens?CD. 

Next up will be Dan Brouder and friends fresh from their launch at Hartnett’s Bar.  They will be followed by Galway legend Joe Burke and Anne Conroy-Burke. 

 
Then it’s the turn of Frankie Gavin and De Dannan with Barry Brady on box, Colm O Caoimh on guitar and singer, Michelle Lally. 

2007 All-Ireland Champions the Allow Ceili Band will then take the night up to the last act. 

The ‘Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival Award?will be presented to Dan Herlihy for his dedication to the music of Sliabh Luachra. After the presentation Dan will be joined on stage for the concert finale by many friends including Donal O?Connor. 

Booking is very strongly advised as seating spaces are limited. Tickets can be booked on: 066 71 42555 ?after 5pm. 

A lecture in the function room of The Fountain Bar at 3pm on Monday afternoon will be delivered on the Life and Music of Julia Clifford by Geraldine O’Callaghan. Ms. O’Callaghan, herself a highly accomplished fiddler, has the distinction of being on two different ceili bands, the Allow (2007) from Cork and the Shannon Vale from Kerry (2011) which won the All-Ireland bands competition in recent years.

Growing in stature and style with every passing year since it was established in 1993,  last year’s festival included an exhibition of work by a group of local artists. It is intended to continue in that vein as the event approaches its magical 21st in 2013.

The loss of three good friends of the festival over the past twelve months has galvanised the committee in ensuring the best possible programme of events for its patrons.

Founder member and former chairman, Mike Kenny passed away on August 12th 2011 at 55 years of age. The event was his ‘baby?from one end of the year to the other and he thought of little other than ways of improving it from one year to the next.

Brennan’s Bar will always hold a special place in the hearts and minds of the committee members and festival goers alike. It was here that the rousing, gathering tunes were played into the night and morning each year. It was here too that the scattering tunes were mixed with parting glasses tipped with promises to return the following year.

This was all overseen with the eyes of guardians by Sean and Mary Brennan up to the time they closed the bar in December 2008. Sadly, Sean (71) passed away on June 12th just gone and the news drew tributes from musicians from all over the country.

The late Mikey Duggan (91) lived a long and fruitfully musical life at his home in Scartaglin and he never spared the fiddle at wake or wedding.
He was one of the men who encouraged the new, young and inexperienced committee members to tackle the organisation of the first festival in honour of his great mentor back in 1993. 

His legacy ?like that of all the giants of the music of the Sliabh Luachra region will be recalled and celebrated over these few magical days of the October bank holiday weekend.

For further details contact: Chairman: Cormac O’Mahony : 087 2731441 or John Reidy : 087 2359467 www.patrickokeeffe.net  or follow us on Facebook on: www.facebook.com ./POKTMF

Tickets for the Sunday night concert will be as scarce as the proverbial hen's teeth. They can be booked on 066 71 42555  after 5pm. 

For further details contact:Chairman: Cormac O'Mahony : 087 2731441 or John Reidy : 087 2359467  web: www.patrickokeeffe.net     or follow us on Facebook:

www.facebook.com./POKTMF



The origins of the festival
The festival came into being just as the fall of 1993 approached. RTE Radio 1 presenter / producer, Peter Browne prompted that some event or other should be held to honour O’Keeffe - as that year marked the 30th anniversary of his death.
Mary Jones, who ran Charlie Horan’s Bar in Castleisland at the time, took up the baton from there and the rest is the history we read today.
Though unwell for a period during the harsh winter of 1962 / 63, and confined in St. Catherine’s Hospital in Tralee, it was with great surprise to many in the locality and well beyond that the news of his death was greeted on February 22-1963 at the age of 75.
That 30th anniversary prompted Peter Browne to take a closer look at the life and times of the man who lived and died at a time when broadcasting and recording in rural areas presented great obstacles to the pioneering spirits who undertook these tasks.
There did and indeed does, however, exist a few precious recordings made by the likes of Seamus Ennis and later by Ciarán Mac Mathúna. And, for Peter Browne, the timing could hardly have been a minute too soon. In 1993 there were many who remembered Patrick O’Keeffe, his life and habits ?and they gave both memories and opinions freely.
Patrick O’Keeffe was wedded to his fiddle and was a genius at getting the best out of ‘her??as he might say himself. He did, in fact, refer to the instrument as ‘The Missus?in broadly quoted stories from highly regarded sources.
Mr. Browne’s landmark documentary was broadcast in a four part series on RTE Radio 1 over the four Saturday nights of November of 1993; the publicity windfall ensured that the Castleisland festival never had to look over its shoulder since.

ABOUT FESTIVALS PAST: 2008
An amazing mix of musical delights

There was an amazing and long weekend of music, song and enjoyment here in Castleisland over the October bank holiday period. But it was no secret as thousands of people from all over the country stayed or dipped in and out over the weekend. The Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival reached level after level of attendance and enjoyment some years ago and this latest ?the 16th ?is up there with the best of them.
The event is sponsored by Heineken and The Arts Council of Ireland or An Chomhairle Ealaíon ?if you like.
Young and brilliant musicians are being reared in waves in this great little country of ours. They arrive here like flocks of migrating birds every late October and rest and play for far too short a stay. They treat us to displays of their inherent and flowering talent alongside their more seasoned friends.
This year’s festival marked itself apart in several ways. The opening night was the usual slow burning, gathering fire of anticipation as the musicians and listeners began to arrive for the weekend.
Box-player, Danny O’Mahony set the tone for a serious weekend of music with a trailblazing, two-hour programme on ‘The Melting Pot?slot on Radio Kerry live from the River Island Hotel.
A few of us retreated to Sheila Prendiville’s, found a radio and switched it on. Danny’s appreciation, knowledge and research into the music and musicians of the area drew many new admirers to the obvious ability of the broadcaster in him.
He was deemed a worthy successor to the Maire Begley-O’Shea and Mary Conroy double-act which carried the festival torch through its formative years on their groundbreaking ‘Kingdom Céilí?programme.
It was strongly rumoured too that the festival’s spiritual home at Brennan’s Bar won’t be there for another one. The news that the most favoured meeting point of musicians and followers was departing the scene put a dip in the weekend for many.
You can’t create, not to mention recreate, an atmosphere or ambiance like this place had by the gallon.
There was a kind of a loose gourmet element to the festival too. A man from Farranfore dropped a fair wedge of cooked venison into Sheila Prendiville’s before the weekend. It was a God send on Sunday for those who could eat. Willie Leane and David ‘Dauber?Prendiville cut slices for those who appreciate the finer things in life and a few ate the offerings.
Festival chairman, Cormac O’Mahony and I happened to meet North Kerry native poet, James Kelly for a few pints in Kearney’s on Monday afternoon. When the dust settled a bit I asked the poet if he had eaten anything.
He told me he got a hard boiled duck egg from his grandmother’s place around Ballydonoghue on Saturday on his way over here. He kept it until he got hungry and ate it without ceremony on the Monday afternoon and washed it all down with a few pints.
There is great credit due to the already mentioned Cormac O’Mahony, for it is he and Mike Kenny who do the long distance dealing every year. This dry-hand dealing manifests itself in the arrival of the flocks for these few days of pure magic every October bank holiday weekend. Long may the winds favour us all! © John Reidy / The Kerryman Newspaper 5-11-2008

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