Firstly, from this week’s Kerryman, a final farewell to to the great Dan Keane

Credit: Photo by John Reidy

Wednesday January 11 2012

‘A man who wrote on people’s
hearts’ – tributes to Dan Keane

Donal Nolan attended the funeral of
a giant of north Kerry literature in Moyvane on Saturday, where the great Dan
Keane’s life was celebrated.

POET, songwriter, storyteller and a
gentle, godly man of the people — the essence of one of the most celebrated
artistic lives of north Kerry in modern times was captured beautifully at the
Funeral Mass of Knockanure’s Dan Keane in Moyvane on Saturday.

Hundreds packed out the Church of
the Assumption in Moyvane on Saturday morning as his family and scores of Dan’s
close personal friends ensured his sendoff was attended by the traditional
music, poetry and balladry he so loved in life.

Dan Keane is survived by sons
Brendan, Paudie, Mike and Joe, sisters, grandchildren.

A one-time leading officer of
Comhaltas in north Kerry, his many friends in the organisation performed
beautifully throughout the ceremony with singers Peggy Sweeney, Karen Trench,
Seán Ahern and Mary Mulvihill elevating the initially sombre mood into
something else entirely; a joyful celebration of a life fully lived.

Dan’s passions were remembered from
the very start of the Mass, through the offertory of symbols of his life
outlined by Joe Murphy.

The symbols included a Writers’
Week anthology marking Dan’s close relationship with the festival of which he
was chairman from 1988 to 1990; Comhaltas memorabilia marking his time as
officer of the group; a minute book from the Knockanure Community Centre
Committee; a copy of Ireland’s Own taken up by his granddaughter Katie Keane
and a copy of Moore’s Melodies, the national bard to whom the Coilagurteen
native was related, brought to the altar by Sean Ahern.

It was through Fr Pat Moore’s
homily, however, that the character and personality of the man came to life in
all its rich detail. “We have lost a man who was in touch with what we all
ache for — that tranquility, wholeness and whole belonging that he had. It was
through prayer and love that the Coilagurteen man went there,” Fr Moore

“He could walk the same road
twice and see something different there. He was anchored in himself and he knew
that God is the deepest thing in all of us,” Fr Moore said as a portrait
of a deeply spiritual man in touch with his environment to the most acute
degree emerged. Greatest of all Dan’s gifts however was his ability to ‘knit us
together’ — as Fr Moore put it — through his art.

He was also of an intrinsically
humble and gentle nature: “Did anyone of us here feel judged or diminished
or condemned by Dan Keane? Did anyone of us here ever hear a bad word from Dan
Keane? The man who drove or cycled around our countryside selling insurance, he
had the ultimate insurance policy of all.”

He was there for all his neighbours
in their darkest hours, Fr Moore added. “What consolation he brought to so
many people who lost a loved one tragically. He wrote on people’s hearts to say
that we are more divine than human and that we can handle our faults and
flaws… at age 93 God whispered to him ‘come home Dan Keane’,” Fr Moore
concluded coining a Keane phrase.

Fellow writer, poet and local
Gabriel Fitzmaurice’s reciting of Dan’s The Heather is Purple and Peggy
Sweeney’s rendition of his song The Green Field by the Quarry (a song inspired
by the emigration of his sister and never before heard until Saturday) further
enlivened everyone’s memory of this singular individual as he was taken for
burial; where Karen Trench’s haunting version of The Hills Above Rathea sang
Dan to his rest.


In the same week a legend of the dancehall days passed away in Tralee.

This is how his death was reported in Radio Kerry

4 Jan 2012

known musician Billy Curtin’s funeral take place

The funeral is taking
place this morning of a much loved Tralee musician. Billy Curtin was a well known
saxophone and clarinet player and one of the most talented figures to emerge from the show band era of the
1960s. He was particularly famous for his rendition of creole jazz
and was the brother of

 equally well known DJ Curtin.

Billy passed away in the
early hours of Thursday morning. His funeral mass

which is taking place in
St John’s Church Tralee around now,

 will be followed by a private cremation.

and from today’s Independent  the passing of the former editor of The Kerryman and an adopted Kerryman.

Monday January 16 2012

WARM tributes have been paid to the former editor of ‘The Kerryman’ newspaper, Seamus McConville, who passed away yesterday following a long illness.

Mr McConville, who was 79, joined ‘The Kerryman’ in 1957, and his career spanned over 54 years. He also served as the RTE correspondent for the SouthWest in the 1960s.

During his career, Mr McConville covered all the major stories in the South-West, including the Moss Moore murder, which inspired John B Keane‘s play ‘The Field’.

Although born in Co Leitrim, Mr McConville adopted Kerry as his own, and was a driving force behind the Rose of Tralee Festival in its early years.

Mr McConville is survived by his wife Dolores and their four grown-up children.

– Majella O’Sullivan


A piece which extracts figures from the most recent US census came up with the following;

Persons of Irish ancestry reside in
all 50 states, but the percentage of the population of Irish ancestry varies
considerably from state to state. Massachusetts has the highest percentage,
with nearly one-in-four residents having Irish ancestry, while Hawaii has the
lowest percentage, with fewer than one-in-twenty residents having Irish
ancestry. One-in-nine Florida residents have Irish or Scotch Irish ancestry.