Fiddle Master Patrick O'Keeffe remembered in one fantastic Festival

IT'S one of Munster's great trad music festivals and it's set to be bigger than ever for the Year of the Gathering.

2013 also marks the 21st birthday of Castleisland's Patrick O'Keeffe Festival, in memory of one of the greatest musicians Kerry ever produced, the Glounthane-born fiddle master.

The half-century anniversary of his death was celebrated at his final resting place in Kilmurry Cemetery earlier this year in another important milestone for the festival committee. Today, it is this group of people who keep O'Keeffe's legacy burning strong, bringing the cream of Irish trad talent to Kerry each year for a celebration that continues to grow and grow.

O'Keeffe left an indelible mark on the traditional music culture of Sliabh Luachra, playing a major part in the evolution of the region's sound as it flowed through him over his years on the road.

Indeed, he was revered by the likes of Con Houlihan as the great scribe ably articulated what he meant to the entire region surrounding Castleisland.

At his anniversary celebration in February he was recalled by his former music student Paddy Cronin as a 'grand old gentleman'.

RTE's Peter Browne was central to his rehabilitation in the 1990s, making a landmark radio documentary on O'Keeffe that brought him right back to another generation of musician. It was Browne's idea to formulate a festival in his memory and the rest is history.

The Patrick O'Keeffe Festival takes place, as always, over the October Bank Holiday Weekend as streams of fine musicians, famous and less-well known, converge on Castleisland for another fantastic year of glorious trad.


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