Kerry band invited to Áras an Uachtaráin
Kerry's proud and distinguished musical pedigree is to be ably represented by the Shannon Vale Ceili Band as it takes up an invitation from President Michael D. Higgins to play at Áras an Uachtaráin on this St. Patrick's Day.
Band leader, Danny O'Mahony has described the invitation as "An esteemed honour for all of us in the band."
Danny and his 2011 All-Ireland title winning band will entertain the 150 dignitaries including President Higgins and his wife Sabina.
Guest artists for this unique occasion will be the All-Ireland champion dance duo of Tomás Ó Sé and Niamh O'Brien - both with strong West Kerry connections.
"It's a great honour for our band to receive this invitation and we look forward to bringing the best of North Kerry's music, song and dance to the Áras this St. Patrick's Day," said Mr. O'Mahony.
The Shannon Vale Céilí Band will present the President with a first edition collection of 'Great Book of Kerry' - Leabhar Mór Chiarraí by Ballyduff author and historian, Seán Quinlan and also a hand-painted slate piece by Liz Browne of the Ballyduff based Ciltín Handcrafts.
The music of North Kerry - a geographical area characterised by a regional repertoire and style of instrumental traditional music, is captured in the understated vitality and sweet rhythmic music of The Shannon Vale Céilí Band.
The original band was formed in Ballyduff in 1960 by Dr. Mick Sweeney.
Following the revival of the Shannon Vale by leader Danny O'Mahony in 2009, they have achieved huge success including winning the coveted title of All-Ireland Senior Céilí Band Champions at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, Cavan in 2011.
The band comprises an impressive line-up of musicians featuring Sheila Garry and Colm Kissane on fiddles, Marianne Browne on flute, Joe O' Sullivan on flute and vocals, Mike Collins on banjo, John Collins provides percussion on drums and Patsy Broderick, formerly of Arcady, features on piano.
Many other appearances by the band include the 2012 Mid-West Regional Fleadh Cheoil in Chicago, and the Mid-Atlantic Fleadh in New York 2013. Recitals also for The Clifden Arts Festival, Féile Chomórtha Joe Éinniú, Co. Galway; Feile Neidin, Kenmare; Patrick O'Keeffe Festival, Castleisland and The Rose of Tralee 2013.
The band has made numerous appearances at Fleadhanna nationally including Fleadh Cheoil na Mumhan Dungarvan 2012 and performances also for local set dancing groups - West Limerick Set Dancers and North Kerry Dancers.
Their debut album is set for release and will be officially launched on June 7 in Listowel.
Maurice Lennon, the distinguished fiddle player/composer and member of Stockton's Wing, features as guest artist on this recording. 'Shannon's Lovely Vale', the title of the album is taken from a newly composed tune by Lennon, in honour of The Shannon Vale Céilí Band.