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Patrick O’ Keeffe Traditional Music Festival

October 28th – 31st, 2011

Ninteen years after the Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival was founded in his honour and 48 years after his death the legend of ‘The Last of the Great Fiddle Masters’ lives on. In the course of the October bank holiday since 1993, Castleisland has taken on the mantle of breast of the beating heart of Sliabh Luachra music and culture. There, in the Co. Kerry town and in the course of the now famed weekend, dawn to dusk sessions of the finest traditional fare have drawn patrons back year after year and pushing out the boundaries with new areas of the world represented with every passing festival. 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 the year marked the 30th anniversary of his death.

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 22nd, 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 in 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. This year’s Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival will be held in Castleisland, Co. Kerry over the October bank holiday weekend from Friday 28th to Monday 31st inclusive.

Details of local accommodation, players, concert line-up and ticket sales will be posted on the website as the time draws near:

Permalink - Posted: August 31, 2011 at 10:45 am