Dingle gets nostalgic in great Oireachtas reunion

Tadhg Evans

Its boast of being "the most Irish festival of them all" rings more than a little true, but Oireachtas na Samhna's value beyond the realms of culture and craic is also hefty. Thousands have visited Killarney on each of six occasions it's visited Killarney in the last eight years, and it's worth an estimated €8million to the local economy during the challenging "shoulder season".

But to reduce this festival of gaelic arts and culture to mere numbers and figures would be a disservice, and never was this more keenly felt during last Thursday's concert at the Gleneagle Ballroom commemorating the 30th anniversary of Dingle's first Oireachtas and the memories of two stalwarts of that 1987 extravaganza.

"It was a poignant occasion in many ways," Micheál de Mórdha, a member of the 1987 event's organising committee, told The Kerryman.

"We remembered two of our stalwarts from 1987, Jed Búdhlaeir and Aloysious Ó Cíobháin, with Dingle Crystal presentations to their families by former Oireachtas Secretary Nóirín Ní Chonghaile and another of the 1987 stalwarts, Anne Marie Nic Gearailt. We also saw Tommy Ó Lúing pay tribute to our late friend Danny Mac Síthigh, who we lost tragically earlier this year.

"It was a night above all nights though, and I was most pleased at the demonstration of Corca Dhuibhne talent, young and not so young, in music, song and performance."

But the week wasn't entirely about the "Comóradh ar Fhéile Oireachtais 1987" concert or reminiscence. The Oireachtas is as healthy as it's ever been, and it certainly remains in good condition in Kerry if this past week was anything to go by.

While there were many runners-up from Kerry, there were a few winners of all ages too, with Aodhna Ó Beaglaoich (Scéalaíocht faoi-12); Páidí Mac Gearailt (Scéalaíocht 12-15); and Aodh Ó Domhnaill & Noelí Ó Maoileoin (agallamh beirte daoine fásta) highlighting Kerry's particular prowess where storytelling and dialogue were concerned.

Outside of the main showcases, there were also literary wins for Kerry by Peadar Ó hUallaigh (cnuasach filíochta) and Liam Ó hÓgáin (aiste faoi-16 and scéal faoi-16), with Raidió na Gaeltachta's Sláine Ní Chathalláin named 'Réalt Óg na Bliana' at the festival's broadcasting awards.

"There seemed to be a great gathering from all over the county at this year's Oireachtas, and we had mighty celebrating for Sláine [Ní Chathalláin] on her win. In west Kerry, we'll celebrate our history in the Oireachtas again at Áras Bhréanainn Chorca Dhuibhne on Wednesday [November 8] from 6.30pm."