Best of Irish: The Music of West Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula

Best of Irish: The Music of West Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula

Traditional Tour Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich, button accordion, Eoin Duignan, pipes, Éilis Kennedy, vocals and whistles, and Jon Sanders, guitar

Tour Dates

Music and song have a long tradition on the Dingle Peninsula and in recent times the area has become a mecca for musicians from all over the country. So it is fitting that the first tour of Music Network’s 2004 Autumn Season focuses on the polkas and slides of West Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula and features the outstanding box player Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich, who has toured extensively in Europe and the States, appearing with bands such as The Chieftains, Beginish and The Boys of the Lough.  For Music Network’s Best of Irish nationwide tour from September 15-25, Breanndán will be joined by three stalwarts of the Kerry music scene—uilleann piper Eoin Duignan, Éilís Kennedy on vocals and whistles, and Jon Saunders on guitar.  This tour is funded by the Arts Council.


Kerry accordion player Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich, younger brother of Séamus Begley, is himself a well-known and accomplished performer of Irish traditional music, and is rated as one of the best of current traditional accordionists.  A genial giant from the Dingle peninsula, Breanndán has toured extensively at home and in Estonia, Finland, France and the USA.  With Boys of the Lough, he toured to the USA in 1989, performed at the Edinburgh Festival and at a special concert in Sweden in 1997 to celebrate the Boys 30th anniversary.  Further tours included the UK and USA in 1997.

Eoin Duignan is a talented Irish composer and skilled performer on the Uilleann pipes and low whistle.  He grew up in a household deeply influenced by Irish traditional music and song and it was in this environment that he first began playing music.  He became influenced at an early age by the master pipers Séamus Ennis and Loe Rowsome and went on to study music with them later in his life.  He spent his summers in the West Cork Gaeltacht of Cuil Aodha where his passion for the language and singing traditions flourished.  Eoin has developed his own distinctive musical style, original in a traditional mode which ranges from the haunting slow airs to the lively percussive reels and jigs which have enchanted audiences worldwide and set them dancing wherever he has played.  He tours regularly with a guitarist and percussionist, and has a wide reputation both at home and abroad for the energy and passion of his performances.

Born and raised in West Kerry, Éilís Kennedy is one of eight children.  She spent the last 15 years teaching and running a cafe in Dingle before taking a career break to perform and promote her début album Time to Sail.  A busy Mum to three children, she and her husband John run a bar and restaurant called "John Benny Moriarty's" on the seafront in Dingle where they run regular Wednesday music sessions which Éilís continues to anchor.  She is joined regularly by Tommy O'Sullivan, the outstanding guitarist and singer who plays with Paddy Keenan and also with Sliabh Notes.  Éilís and Mazz O'Flaherty, in a group called the Melting Pot, recorded a CD of the same name in 1992.  Her CD Time to Sail was launched in Dublin in 2001, and to date, has received fantastic critical acclaim and sales of the album continue to flourish.

Inspired by his grandmother’s career playing orchestral violin, Jon Sanders took up the guitar aged 12 and soon made his mark in and around London playing electric and acoustics in rock and folk bands in the 1980s including Hot Banana and Three Wise Fools.  He moved to Ireland, settling in Dingle, County Kerry in the early 1990s and began playing with local musicians including fiddler Mark Crickard.  Jon continued to develop his style by playing with some of the best traditional musicians in the country including Mary Black, Séamus Begley, Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich, The Begley Sisters, Mairéad Ní Mhaoinigh, Dermot Byrne, Eoin Duignan, Vinnie Kilduff, Philip King, Kila, Sliabh Notes, Steve Cooney, Gerry “banjo” O’Connor, Liam O’Connor and the Sessions from the Hearth artists.

On Tour: Wed 15 Sept Buncrana (Tullyarvan Mill, 8.30pm), Thurs 16 Sept Monaghan  (Garage Theatre, 8pm), Fri 17 Sept Drogheda (Droichead Arts Centre, 8pm), Sat 18 Sept Virginia (Ramor Theatre, 8.30pm), Mon 20 Sept Kilworth (Village Arts Centre, 8.15pm), Tues 21 Sept Clifden (Alcock and Brown Hotel, 10pm), Wed 22 Sept Ferbane (Féar Bán Arts and Heritage Centre, 8pm), Thurs 23 Sept Dublin (Coach House, Dublin Castle, 8pm), Fri 24 Sept Newbridge (Riverbank Arts Centre, 8pm), Sat 25 Sept Corofin (Teach Ceilidh, 8pm)