Murphy's take festival award across the Feale

Published 30/10/2013 | 05:36

Maureen Murphy receiving the Patrick O'Keeffe Traditional Music Festival Award for dedication to the Music of Sliabh Luachra from Matt Cranitch. Also included are Eoin, Kevin, Seán, Dónal and Eibhlís Murphy, Cormac O'Mahony, festival chairman, Melanie and Caoimhe Murph at Fagin's Bar.

IT'S just as well that the weather doesn't play a conducting role in the affairs of the annual Patrick O'Keeffe Traditional Music Festival.

It's just as well that the weather doesn't play a conducting role in the affairs of the annual Patrick O'Keeffe Traditional Music Festival.

If it did this one would have been all over the place - like it had taken pieces from all the great composers and played them together without introduction or notice.

The 21st gathering, under the auspices of the festival, has come and gone and left a good taste in the mouths of those who stopped and supped here over the weekend.

For we are a hospitable shower after all and the gifted in our midst mingle with their visiting kindred spirits. They fill the air with something that drags you inside out and leaves you in a heap beside yourself for a whole, shaky week or more afterwards.

The Saturday afternoon singing session continues to produce more than its share of satisfied customers - and that's a fact going back to its origins in the infancy of the festival.

Mickey MacConnell, Andrew Murray and Niamh Parsons led an all-star cast of locals in the cosiness of their own world at Fagin's Bar for the afternoon. All but the unfortunate smokers totally oblivious to the lashing of wintery showers outside.

There were two notable presentations made over the weekend; one long established and the other in its infancy and already showing potential and promise.

The established award presentation brought three counties together in Fagin's Bar on Saturday night. Dan and Maureen Murphy from Abbeyfeale were nominated to receive the Patrick O'Keeffe Traditional Music Festival Award for their Dedication to the Music of Sliabh Luachra. Dan, unable to be present due to illness, was well and proudly represented by Maureen and family members: Sean, Kevin, Donal and Eibhlis and grand-children, Melanie and Eoin.

Festival chairman, Cormac O'Mahony waved in a brilliant musical introduction to the award ceremony. He said that it was an honour for the festival to have the Murphys present in such force and doubly so given that the family was listed in the event's roll of honour. Then, the Murphy clan put their talents on display and powerfully and vibrantly unveiled the dedication of the parents who were being honoured on the occasion.

Cork native, Matt Cranitch took to the stage and further underlined the reasons for the award and its chosen recipients. Matt told the hushed and packed pub that he had known the Murphy family going back many years. It was their hospitality and love of music that struck him most about them in their appropriately named establishment, 'The Failte Bar'.

"My earliest memory of them is of the welcome I found in Abbeyfeale through the Murphys - through their music and through their hospitality," said Matt.

He outlined how, years later, he would team up with Donal Murphy and Tommy O'Sullivan to form Sliabh Notes and go on to play together on stages throughout the world.

To great applause, Maureen Murphy was then asked to come up from the audience and accept the award. It was an emotional occasion for Maureen as she lamented the fact that Dan was unable to be there.

She would have been excused a little indulgence of pride in the performance of the family they raised. They dedicated their lives to instil and foster a love of traditional Irish music in them. It was generally agreed that the award, in crossing the River Feale, rests on a most deserving mantle-piece.

The family of the late Mike Kenny have commissioned and dedicated a cup in his honour. Mike was one of the founder members of the Patrick O'Keeffe Traditional Music Festival in 1993. He was involved up to his ears in its year-to-year story up to the time of his untimely illness and passing on August 12, 2011.

He would be delighted with the honour and more so as it highlights and rewards the talents of young, emerging musicians. This award too rests in the arms of a most deserving young man in Micheal O Se. Micheal, from Farranfore, won two All-Ireland titles at this year's Fleadh Cheoil Na hEireann in Derry, was presented with the Mike Kenny Memorial Cup at Browne's Bar on Sunday night by Mike's sister Eileen and their cousin Ted Kenny.

The cup will be awarded annually at the festival to which the late Mr. Kenny gave so much of his time end energy.


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