If you drive about ten minutes outside Bantry, you might come upon a solitary flute player in a quiet glen, surrounded by the foothills of the Kerry mountains. It’s Chief O’Neill! Back in his beloved Tralibane, forevermore playing his thousands of tunes. It has been about twenty years since the Captain Francis O’Neill Memorial Company erected this statue in his honour on March 11th, 2000. A member of the committee told me they had planned to hold a special celebration but, as with so much else in these troubling times, have had to postpone.
So, as many of us are doing these days, here’s a little online commemoration in lieu. Of course, in no way does it replace the fun and music that would have been had. For an example of the kind of merriment that this close-knit community can have to celebrate, check out the video on this post or this article on the Roaring Water Journal. It is remarkable how this strong sense of community persists from the pattern dances that inspired O’Neill in his youth. Here’s looking forward to the days when Tralibane can celebrate like this again.