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O'Keeffe Clan

Gathering and Rally

9, 10 and 11 Sept 2016

guided tours, lectures

historical and genealogical exhibitions

cultural and musical events,

buffet banquet Saturday evening
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Maurice O'Keeffe fiddle player

Sliabh Luachra is an area in Ireland concentrated around the borders of North Cork and East Kerry  as well as a bit of Limerick, famous for its distinct style of traditional Irish music. maurice o'keeffeIt has produced many famous musicians, including such illustrious names as Julia Clifford, Jackie Daly, Padraig O'Keeffe and Johnny O'Leary, to name but a few. This page is dedicated to Maurice O'Keeffe (no relative of the aforementioned Padraig - there's a whole rake of O'Keeffes in that neck of the woods!), who is one of the living legends in the music of Sliabh Luachra.

Sliabh Luachra translates roughly as "a mountain of rushes", but is really a rolling plateau with its seven glens 'seacht ngleann Shliabh Luachra' and various peaks. Perhaps it was sliding down the sides of the hills which gave Sliabh Luachra music its heavy leaning towards slides and polkas as the mainstay of its musical style. Like the people who inhabit the region, it is music without fuss or ambiguity, full of energy, directness and a charm that always hints at peat fires, glasses of porter and whisky and a set danced around the floor of a space much too small for dancing.

Maurice O'Keeffe. Still going at the age of 96 (this being 2015), and with the musical energy of a man a quarter of his age, Maurice has received many honours for his unselfish contribution to irish traditional music in general, and Sliabh Luachra in particular.

Since 2002 there has been an annual Maurice O'Keeffe festival in his honour, held every year over the Easter weekend in his home village of Kiskeam, Co. Cork. This year was the 14th. Get to it if you can, for usually legends are only born after the maker of them dies. Here is a unique opportunity to experience a legend in the prime of his fiddling life - and in years to come, you can say "I was there to see the great man himself"

Maurice was born the 5th child to Francis and Molly O'Keeffe on 5th September 1919.
He still lives in the house he was born in, in Kiskeam Co. Cork - right in the heart of Sliabh Luachra. In 2011 Peg, his wife of 63 years, passed away just one week before the Easter Maurice O'Keeffe Festival weekend. Maurice, and indeed the rest of the family, were brave enough to carry on with the festival, even though it left them no time to grieve. maurice o'keeffe
Peg wouldn't just have wanted that the festival go ahead - she would have demanded it!  R.I.P.
Maurice has for many years now been a fiddler of great repute and reknown, well known by both lovers of traditional music, and by the musicians themselves. Although he has probably appeared on many a CD and TV show, he has never gone down the road of commercial recording himself. Instead he has opted to adopt the traditional stance of the masters of old - passing down his tunes to those who come by his house to play with him, or who accompany him to the village for a session in one of the pubs there. He has spent many an hour in his "studio" - his small kitchen. Here, he has recorded cassette tapes on his domestic tape player. They have been sent all over the world for no other reward than the joy of the music and the knowledge that he is passing it on to the generations who must carry it along when he is gone.

Maurice O'Keeffe Festival 2007 part 1

Maurice O'Keeffe Festival 2007 part 2

SeaNua finale Siansa 2012


SeaNua are:
Timmy Collins (Kiskeam, Cork) - Flutes & Whistles
Billy O'Gorman (Boherbue, Cork) - Banjo & Percussion
Billy Herlihy (Boherbue, Cork) - Concertina
Mikie O'Gorman (Boherbue, Cork) - Fiddle & Vocals
Michael O'Connor (Boherbue, Cork) - Guitar & Vocals
Ivanna McMahon (Ennis, Clare) - Harp & Percussion
Sean Kearney (Dungarvan, Waterford) - Accordion & Vocals
Rebecca McCarthy-Kent (Tramore, Waterford) - Fiddle, Keyboard & Vocals

We wish to thank Shelia O'Shea for kindly permitting use of the above material.