THE THIRD Garry McMahon singing weekend, which takes place in Abbeyfeale this November, will once again see the balladeers of West Limerick and North Kerry come together to pay tribute to one of traditional music’s great patrons.
The annual event will be held from November 4-6 and will feature a host of singing workshops, ballad competitions and impromptu sessions of traditional music.
Hosted by the West Limerick Singing Club, the weekend will pay tribute McMahon, a masterful poet, composer, writer and sportsman.
The son of famed Listowel playwright Bryan McMahon, Garry wrote numerous ballads in both Irish and English, was an accomplished solicitor with a practice in Newcastle West, and also won two All Ireland senior football medals with Kerry.
He still holds the record for the fastest goal ever scored in an All Ireland final, after 34 seconds against Roscommon in 1962. He died in 2008.
Philip Enright, owner of The Ramble Inn bar in Abbeyfeale and member of the West Limerick Singing Club, said that the Garry McMahon weekend has grown “year after year”.
This year’s event will see the return of the newly composed ballad competition, which includes €300 in prize money. Last year, the competition was won by a song written by PJ Murrihy and sung by Michael O’Shea.
On November 4 the weekend will officially open with a singing session at The Ramble Inn at 8pm, featuring performances by Jo O’Connor and Dick Beamish.
At 11am on Saturday morning at Leen’s Hotel Seamus MacMathuna and Dick Beamish will hold free singing workshops.
At 4pm in The Ramble Inn the winners of the newly composed ballad competition, in both Irish and English, will be decided. Entering a ballad costs €10, and forms are available from The Ramble Inn.
On Saturday night from 8pm singing sessions will be held at The Ramble Inn and Leen’s Hotel.
On Sunday following midday Mass Aifreann na Riocht, composed by Garry McMahon, will be performed.
At 2pm in Leen’s a film on the life and career of balladeer Robbie McMahon will be shown. A farewell singing session will bring the weekend to a close at the Ramble Inn at 9pm.