THE Chief O’Neill Festival, organised by Bantry Development and Tourism, commemorates the life and work of Captain Francis O’Neill, the music collector from Tralibane, Bantry.
This year’s event will be officially opened at 6.30pm on Friday September 9th in Bantry Community Tourist Office by County Mayor Cllr Seamus McGrath.
Frankie Gavin and Dé Danann will perform the opening concert in St Brendan’s Church at 8pm with Frankie’s brother Seán and sister Nóirín. Seán Ó Sé, a great friend and founding member of the festival, will also perform, as well as being ‘fear a’ tí’ for the night.
Saturday is packed with events, starting off with a lecture by Nicholas Carolan, noted expert on the life and achievements of Chief O’Neill. Other guests include Dubliner and fiddle player John Kelly, composers and musicians John and Richie Dwyer from Beara, and Connie O’Connell from Cill na Martra.
The annual senior competition for performance of music from any of O’Neill’s collections takes place on Saturday night, ensuring that the music from the books comes alive throughout the town. The junior section of the competition gets underway at Bantry Tourist Office at 1.30pm, moving to SuperValu and various outdoor locations throughout the afternoon.
Tunes Among the Teacups in Organico Café starts at 4pm and is an ideal location for the young musicians to gather for a few tunes.
Seán Ó Muimhneacháin leads a tribute in music and verse to the musician, singer, photorapher and composer Mary (de Búrca) Cahalane, late of Coutmacsherry and Cill na Martra, in the Bantry Bay Hotel at 8pm. Seán will be joined by Nicky and Anne McAuliffe, as well as a host of Mary’s friends. Her family members will include Mary’s nieces who will play some of her compositions.
On Sunday, all musicians are welcome to join the Capt Francis O’ Neill Memorial Company in a tribute to the great man at Tralibane Bridge. This will be also the starting point for the annual historical walk led by Timmy McCarthy. See www.chiefoneillfestival.com for more.