independent

Thursday 28 August 2014

Celebrating a local legend at the Mitchels

Simon Brouder

Published 28/08/2013 | 05:36

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Relatives of the late Connie Foley, Theresa, John, Eileen, Geraldine, Pat Day and Eddie Mulholland at the dedication of the garden to Connie Foley at Tobar Naofa, Moyderwell on Saturday.

MORE than 300 people gathered in the Mitchel's area on Saturday to celebrate the life and times of one of Tralee's most famous musicians the late great Connie Foley.

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Connie Foley, a Mitchels resident who passed away in 1975, was an internationally renowned singer who dedicated his life to Irish music recording more than 500 of Ireland's best loved ballads in his time.

This extraordinary achievement has never been equalled or surpassed by another Irish entertainer. Connie's most famous recording was a version of "The Wild Colonial Boy" he recorded in Boston in 1949.

Foley's take on the song took the US by storm, making the ballad so popular that Hollywood filmmakers featured it in many of their top- rated films.

In recognition of Connie Foley's achievements The Mitchels Boherbee Regeneration Project's Historical and Heritage Working Group in conjunction with the Connie Foley Memorial Committee held the Connie Foley Memorial Gathering on Saturday.

Over 300 Mitchels residents, past and present, and relatives of the late great singer took part in the event which saw the Tobar Naofa Garden officially dedicated to Connie Foley in a ceremony opened by Mayor of Tralee Pat Hussey.

As part of the ceremony a monument was unveiled to Connie Foley in the Tobar Naofa Garden which was formerly the garden of St Mary's Convent School where Connie Foley was educated as a child.

The guests of honour at the Connie Foley Gathering were his nephews and niece Jack, Pat and Geraldine Mulholland Day who travelled to Tralee from Dublin to take part in the day's celebrations. They were also joined by several overseas visitors, many of whom were former residents of Mitchels and knew Connie and his family, who returned to Tralee from the USA, the UK and Europe for the event.

One of the most poignant moments of the day came after the official dedication of the garden when Pat Day led the large assembled crowd in a rendition of his uncle's most famous song The Wild Colonial Boy.

Saturday's Gathering also included a photographic exhibition and screening of a documentary on Connie in Tobar Naofa, as well as a tour of the Mitchels area and a night of ceol agus craic with Tralee rock band Rubato at the John Mitchel's GAA Clubhouse.

"The monument itself is a credit to all concerned and everyone involved with the event and project should take a bow," said Peter Locke a member of the event's organising committee.

"All in all a great day was had by all," said Mr Locke

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