Sib­lings of Diar­muid Ó Súil­leab­háin to share songs and mem­o­ries at Éigse

Irish Examiner - County - - News - Pet O’Con­nell

The ear­li­est child­hood songs of Diar­muid Ó Súil­leab­háin are likely to be among the mem­o­ries re­called next week at the an­nual festival in mem­ory of the broad­caster and singer.

Éigse Dhiar­muid Uí Shúil­leab­háin will open in Cúil Aodha on Novem­ber 30 with a gath­er­ing of his sib­lings in which they will share songs and mem­o­ries of their brother, who died in a car ac­ci­dent in 1991.

‘Cuimhní Cinn Mhuin­tir Shúil­leab­háin’ will be pre­sented by Diar­muid’s friend and singing part­ner Johnny Lehane and rep­re­sents a rare chance for those at­tend­ing the festival to gain an in­sight into the man and his mu­sic from his broth­ers and sis­ters.

The old­est brother in the fam­ily of seven, Danny Maid­hcí Ó Súil­leab­háin re­mem­bers clearly when Diar­muid, or Diar­muidín as he was known, made his singing de­but at Scoil Barr d’Inse.

Diar­muidín, the sec­on­dold­est brother, was to make his first ap­pear­ance in front of the school Ir­ish in­spec­tor in hopes of be­ing awarded the cúig phunt, or £5 grant, and a song in Ir­ish was deemed nec­es­sary.

“Seán Eoghain Ó Súil­leab­háin, a kind of rel­a­tive of ours, made the first song Diar­muidín ever sang,” re­calls Danny. “The ci­gire [in­spec­tor] was ex­pected in the school and Seán Eoghain called to us one Sun­day and my fa­ther asked Seán had he any song for Diar­muidín.

“Seán Eoghain com­posed a song and came with it the next Sun­day.”

The song, ‘Achainí an Scoláire’, im­plor­ing the in­spec­tor to be le­nient with his ques­tions, won favour with the ci­gire, one Tomás Ó Laoi, but led to con­fu­sion for Diar­muidín over the na­ture of the money the in­spec­tor gave him.

“The ci­gire gave him a two shilling piece for singing the song and he was de­lighted. We were com­ing home that evening and my fa­ther was mak­ing a rick of turf by the side of the road and Diar­muidín ran up to him and said ‘ní bh­fuair éinne an cúig phunt in­niu ach mise’.

“He thought the two shilling piece was the £5. He was only about four years of age and he thought him­self was the best in the school.”

Diar­muidín went on to be­come a teacher him­self, as well as a jour­nal­ist with Raidió na Gaeltachta, and a well-known ex­po­nent of the Múscraí singing style.

The 27th festival in his hon­our is the first run by a new com­mit­tee, who are con­scious that as the years pass, fewer among the Éigse au­di­ences are old enough to re­mem­ber Diar­muidín.

Éigse sec­re­tary Cormac Ó hAodha said: “We re­alised that many peo­ple that are now com­ing to the Éigse would, be­yond the photo of Diar­muidín, not have known him at all. Who bet­ter to rep­re­sent Diar­muid Ó Súil­leab­háin and the reper­toire of singing of Múscraí than his sib­lings, so we in­vited them to come, all at the same time. They will talk of their own mem­o­ries of Diar­muidín, and sing, and to the best of my knowl­edge, in the long and proud track record of 26 Éigses, that has never hap­pened.”

Among three days of ses­sions and recitals, this year’s Éigse also fea­tures:

Work­shops on Satur­day with Nell Ní Chróinín (amhrá­naíocht); Rosie Ste­wart (English singing); Hammy Hamil­ton (flute); Edel Fox (con­certina); Liam O’Con­nor (fid­dle); Diar­muid Ó Meachair (ac­cor­dion); and Mairéad Casey (dance).

A youth mu­sic ses­sion and céilí.

A Satur­day night Gala Con­cert in­clud­ing the work­shop tu­tors plus Four Star Trio, Cór Chúil Aodha, and Corn Uí Ri­ada 2018 win­ner, Máire Ní Chéileachair.

Máire Ní Chéileachair will also be a guest at a singers’ af­ter­noon in the Top of Coom on Sun­day, hosted by Eibh­lís Uí Thuama.

Ó Ri­ada Mass sung by Cór Chúil Aodha live on Raidió na Gaeltachta from Cúil Aodha church.

Éigse Dhiar­muid Uí Shúil­leab­háin, Novem­ber 30De­cem­ber 2 in Baile Mhúirne/ Cúil Aodha. See www.eigse.ie

The sib­lings of singer and broad­caster Diar­muid Ó Súil­leab­háin will share songs and mem­o­ries of their brother at the Éigse in his mem­ory.

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