Sliabh Luachra Series 3

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Sliabh Luachra Series 3

The third online video programme about the music of Sliabh Luachra is at 8pm Irish time on March 20th:

You can watch it at or on the YouTube channel where you can also catch up on previous programmes. There’s been one a month so far.

This next one will feature music from concertina player Maura O’Connor and a look behind the scenes of the great website

Re: Sliabh Luachra Series 3

I spent my summer in 1989 on Barleyhill in a slate-roofed, cold water, stone 19th century farmhouse a couple of miles up the Freemount/Charleville Road from Newmarket, Co. Cork in the heart of Sliabh Luachra. For several years prior to that I had been learning a smattering of the regional tunes—the standard slides, polkas, hornpipes, jigs and the occasional reels—at the knee of Newmarket ex-patriot and button box player Michael Lucey and playing with and for his lovely family in and about his American home in California.

I was introduced to the Luceys by a long time fiddler friend. It was from Mick, his delightful wife Mary and daughters Michelle and Erin that a group of us became immersed in all that goes with Sliabh Luachra music…the dancing, the story telling and recitations, the comradrie and—best of all—the warm traditions of West Cork hospitality. Since Mike’s passing several years ago and with COVID restrictions, these gatherings to play Mick’s favorite tunes, reminisce and to renew our friendship have become fewer and farther between. I think it safe to say we all miss them greatly.

Over 30+ years what began as a group of musical friends evolved to become the Mick Lucey Family Band playing locally mostly during the "St. Patrick’s Day Season", at farmers’ markets and International Festivals and recording a studio CD "Up in the Morning Early" featuring a representative sample of Mike’s tunes from his Sliabh Luachra heritage along with several of his signature recitations and stories.

From what I’ve learned of it in these ways I would say Eoin O’Sullivan is doing a splendid job of highlighting the musical traditions of the region in this Sliabh Luachra Music Trails series. Featuring players from all generations these videos gently conjure in me the feelings of visiting with Mike and his family where everyone young and old was welcomed and encouraged to play, sing, dance, recite or tell a story.

The Sliabh Luachra Series has also brought back a flood of memories of my times that summer long ago—the Monday night sessions in Scullys Bar in Newmarket where I met the likes and enjoyed the talents of Timmie Conners, Raymond O’Sullivan and Paudy Scully and the Sunday evenings in Dan O’Connell’s in Knocknagre where I was privileged to meet and hear Julia Clifford and Johnny Leary playing in the front corner before the dancing started up in the back room. In that time and those places I found Sliabh Luachra hospitality as all enveloping as the musical culture.

In these times—given the nature of our global reach and the homogenizing effect it seems to be having on so many regional cultures—it is remarkable to experience through these spare but elegant productions what Mike Lucey was now and again heard to call The Pure Drop…

…and, yes, at Mike and Mary’s place there was always a Drop of the Pure in every musician’s glass before each session began.

Highly recommended.