| 11°C Dublin

Dan Paddy Andy takes a 'well-earned' break for 2020

As the song says, 'When you hear the music rattling down the mountains and the glens"' you know that the Dan Paddy Andy Festival is underway.

Unless of course, it's 2020 - the year of the pandemic. The rural festival that has ran longest in Kerry without a break will not be resounding in its rural setting this year.

It was launched in 1998 when Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh, in the presence of John B Keane, Ogie Moran and a large crowd, unveiled the memorial to the local matchmaker, Dan Paddy Andy O'Sullivan - in an initiative of local community activist Kay O'Leary.

The festival has been opened since by a who's-who list of well-known personalities, including Jimmy O'Sullivan from New York, who is the son of the Matchmaker.

In the 22 years since then, the four, and sometimes five-day festival, has been staged in and around a marquee beside the Four Elms. Social dancing drew crowds from near and far, and some of the biggest names in the Country and Irish music scene have played at the venue. These included Brendan Shine, Crystal Swing, Mick Flavin, Paddy O'Brien, PJ Murrihy and Declan Nerney.

The Festival weekend usually includes five dances. The big names for this year's festival were to be Pat McKenna from Derry, on his third visit, and Bernie Heaney from Kildare. The local bands lined up were Eddie Lee, Mike Condon, Mike Fitzgerald, Stevie Donegan and Paudie McAuliffe.

In recent years the 5/10k walk/run has grown in popularity and has raised money for a number of worthy charities. This year's event was to have been for the Air Ambulance. The humour and talent of the Irish Rambling House Show was always enjoyed, and the Bog Walk took people on a journey to the past.

"It's a real pity the festival can't go ahead this year, and although the restrictions are being relaxed, it's better to be safe than sorry," Kay O'Leary said.

"We know our exiles will miss their annual visit back and get together with friends and neighbours.

"While Dan is taking a well-earned break for 2020, he hasn't gone away, you know, so hold onto your walking shoes, your running shoes and especially your dancing shoes for 2021" Ms O'Leary added.