Nicky And Anne hit the right note at KCC Civic Reception

North Kerry couple honoured for their contributions to trad music and culture

Stephen Fernane

Seldom has the chamber room at Kerry County Council been witness to such warm scenes as Monday's Civic Reception for the maestro musical couple, Nicky and Anne McAuliffe. The famous north Kerry musicians were honoured for their contribution to traditional music and culture - an influence that, when combined, amounts to 100 years between them playing and teaching music.

Surrounded by family and friends, the packed gallery of well-wishers nodded in agreement as warm tributes were paid to the couple from Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council Cllr Norma Foley, and Cllr Michael Gleeson, who initially proposed the Civic Reception for Nicky and Anne.

In February, the couple were awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Gradam Ceoil awards live on TG4 from Belfast's Waterfront Hall. But accolades from 'your own' often carry greater weight, and Monday's reception is one of many memorable episodes in a journey that started in Cordal for Nicky, and in Lixnaw for Anne.  Both learned their music as children from their parents in the cherished north Kerry tradition.

Cathaoirleach Cllr Norma Foley spoke of how, in October 1969, Nicky and Anne fell in love while performing together during a recording of RTÉ's Céilí House programme. "And so began their mutual love affair with each other and a mutual love affair with music," she said. "Today we honour two individuals who have mined and explored that subterranean treasure trove of music and brought it to a wide and appreciative audience.

Nicky and Anne are without doubt two of the finest exponents of traditional Irish music which Kerry has ever produced," she added. Nicky and Anne were also past members of the influential Brosna Céilí Band and won an All-Ireland Céilí Band title at the Fleadh Cheoil in 1972.

The McAuliffes were invited to Áras an Uachtaráin in 2003 by President Mary McAleese for a reception celebrating local traditional musicians, while they are equally proud of their role in teaching the next generation of traditional musicians.