Origins of the Patrick O'Keeffe Traditional Music Festival


Mary Jones

Founder member, Mary Jones

One day, back in late 1992 Peter Browne from R.T.E. Radio 1 phoned my mother (Mrs. Bridget Jones, Glountane) asking her if she could make contact with the person running ‘Charlie Horan’s Bar’ in Castleisland because he wanted to do some recordings there of people who knew Patrick O’Keeffe and learned music from him.


Later that week, Peter phoned me and he was amazed at the fact that he had met a Glountane person running the bar he had selected to do his recordings. We arranged a date for him to carry out his work and then it all started. So began my interest in the life and times of my neighbour Patrick O’Keeffe.


Peter Browne and myself got on very well from the moment we met. I developed a great interest in what he was doing and traveled around to lots of local musicians with him. This increased my interest in Patrick and made me realize what a great man he was.


1993 was the  30th anniversary of Patrick’s death and, at Peter Browne’s prompting,  I thought to myself it would be great to show some local interest and arrange some sort of tribute to him -  but I didn’t really know who to ask to help me out.


 One night I was driving home from Tralee to Castleisland, it was about 2 o’clock in the morning and as I was driving through the town I saw Mike Kenny and John Reidy standing at Church Street corner with their backs to the sign for Scartaglin.  I thought  to myself these are the men to do the job, so I stopped and asked them if they would like to go for a pint. I don’t think I had the sentence finished when the boys were sitting in the car with me!


After a few I told them what I had been thinking about and immediately I saw their interest in the whole thing. We arranged a meeting for the week after and that was the start of the Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival in Castleisland.


The very first music session of the Patrick O’Keeffe weekend was held in “The Rambling House” and it featured some of Patrick’s pupils: Johnny O’Leary, Denis McMahon, Gerry McCarthy R.I.P. and Paddy Cronin, and there has many a session been played in the town since that October weekend back in 1993.


Main   Founder Member's Address    Contacts    Letter from Ciaran MacMathúna

Tribute to Jerry McCarthy 1995   Patron's Page

Accommodation   Press Release 2001   Past Releases