Annual field trip around Valentia
ON Easter Monday the Kenmare Historical and Cultural Society paid their now annual field trip visit to their friends in Valentia Island, first calling to the Mooring in Portmagee for a meal and then the home in Glanleam of the former Kerry footballer Mick O'Connell and his wife Rosaleen. Among those present on their arrival at O'Connell's were G.G.O'Sullivan and his wife Ann, who were on an Easter break from Dublin. Valentia's Tadhg O'Donoghue, who is the former Chairman of the ESB was there as was Micheal O'Connell, the son of Mick and Rosaleen, and his wife Emma.
The Society's President and Kenmare pharmacist James Brosnan presented an edition of the Kenmare Chronicle to Mick and a photo shoot of the group was also taken with O'Connell. Incidentally, James Brosnan has strong Valentia Island connections in that he was a first cousin to the late Tommy O'Leary of Feighmane.
Travelling in John Sheehan's mini bus of Kenmare, Mick O'Conenell gave them a historical talk and tour of the Valentia Lighthouse, the Coastal Radio Station, the old Protestant Graveyard and the island's northern environs. They were particularly taken aback by the awesome scenery and were astounded at the sight of the considerable storm damage at the lighthouse.
After the tour, in the Ring Lyne hostelry of Chapeltown there was a wine and cheese reception and, while there, entertained patrons with impressive arias of operatic melodies, also performing songs made famous by Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras. A toast was also raised to tenor Arthur O'Sullivan who was 53 on April 9. Among the Kenmare group rendering such performances with gusto were Martin O'Brien, Sean McCarthy, Edward O'Sullivan, Arthur O'Sullivan, Paudie Moriarty, Jackie Tuohy, Alan Sheehy, Bobby Greenfield and James Brosnan. On the evening Sean McCarthy's rendition of the 'Nama Song' will long remain etched in the memory.
The esteemed James McCarthy from Tuosist, the secretary of the Society, was a notable absentee due to the affliction of an old refereeing injury. Down through the years James's definitive contributions have been immense and historically enthralling, with particular attention being given to the period between 1916-22 on which he is a noted authority.
Not to be outdone, there were a number of singing renditions performed by Valentia islanders, such as the Ring Lyne lease holder Eileen Healy, Ger Lynch, G.G. O'Sullivan. Eileen Ann O'Sullivan, Eileen 'Jack' O'Sullivan, Lorrraine O'Connor and John Murphy of the Irish Lights. Molly Foley of Ennistymon in Co. Clare was the youngest performer at five years of age. She is the daughter of Paul and Sharon (nee O'Sullivan) Foley and the granddaughter of John Joe and Kitty O'Sullivan of The Lotts in Valentia.The Proprietor of the Ring Lyne, Sean O'Sullivan, put the icing on the cake on behalf of the Valentia entertainment contribution with his fine rendition of 'Nessum Dorma', the song associated with the World Cup soccer finals of Italia '90 and sung by Luciano Pavarotti.
To wind up a memorable evening, the Kenmare party viewed Dermot Walsh's bag piping workshop and were fascinated by the intricacies of the pipes and their modus operandi. They were piped, in a glorious conclusion to the wine and cheese reception, out of the premises by Walsh and onto their bus prior to setting out for scenic Kenmare.