Singer Seán Ó Sé recalls his shy childhood in school in Ballylickey

October 10th, 2015 10:10 PM

By Southern Star Team

Sean Ó Sé: new memoir

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AN Poc ar Buile is the name of a new memoir to be launched by Peadar Ó Riada during this year’s Cork Folk Festival. 

The Irish musician and composer, will launch An Poc Ar Buile – The Life & Times of Seán Ó Sé (The Collins Press, price €17.99) in the Cork Opera House.

‘When I was a child, I was very shy and felt out of the loop with other boys, maybe because both my parents were teachers in the school I attended. Yet, in later years, when it came to belting out a verse of a song, my shyness never held me back. Instead, it spurred me on to sing, as it was only when I sang that I really came out of myself,’ said Sean.

Seán’s co-writer Patricia Ahern has been instrumental in bringing several other memoirs to life, including The Loneliest Boy in the World, which she wrote with Gearóid Cheaist Ó Catháin (also published by The Collins Press), as well as In Search of the Missing and The Lightkeeper. She persuaded Seán to tell his story, from his childhood near Bantry through his school years, teacher training and the time he spent as principal of St Mary’s on the Hill National School in Knocknaheeny in Cork city. 

She said: ‘Throughout everything Seán did, he sang. He was part of the exciting Ó Riada years and helped blaze a new trail for Irish traditional music and song. His story needed to be told.’

Seán’s singing took off in 1959 when he won the traditional singing competition in Feis na Mumhan. It brought him to faraway places he could never have imagined growing up in Ballylickey. He has featured regularly on RTÉ, has recorded albums, performed at home and in Britain, USA, China, Russia and Europe. This is a charming account of a happy life lived well and to the full.

An Poc Ar Buile – The Life & Times of Seán Ó Sé, by Seán Ó Sé with Patricia Ahern, is published by The Collins Press, price €17.99.

 It is available in bookshops and online from

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