by Domhnall de Barra

Patie Enright R.I.P.


Within a few months of each other, three members of the “Western Star Céilí Band”, Mick Barrett, Dick Prendeville and Patie Enright, went to their eternal reward. While Mick and Dick had lived long lives Patie was taken when he still had a lot of living to do. It was not to be  and we said farewell to him at Holy Cross on Friday last. Many fine tributes have been made to him and by now his exploits as a musician, singer, band leader and businessman are well documented. It is worthwhile giving a little thought to his early days. In the ‘fifties Ireland was a far different place from today. There was very little money about and  most of the workforce were in England or America. There wasn’t any electricity in most areas and the nearest we got to tap water was the pump in the yard.  Cars were few and far between and the roads were full of potholes.  This did not deter the  teenage Patie who formed a céilí band without even having the transport to get them to the various halls. Would anyone try it today ?; I doubt it.  In the immortal words of Del Boy “he who dares, wins” and Patie did just that. Although he went on to have a modern dance band, his first love was always traditional music and of course the singing and dancing. I remember well the first time I heard him playing. It was on a crisp frosty St. Stephen’s morning and he was part of a batch of Wrenboys that included Joe Keeffe and Paddy (Davy) Connors. The music could be heard on the chilly air from over half a mile away and it was magic to me,  a young lad out of his head for music. He was without doubt one of the finest traditional singers of his time. As they say “it was kind for him” as his father Denny was a noted singer before him. He had a wealth of good songs, some of them handed down from Denny and I hope someone has recorded them. A polka dancer supreme he was a member of the Athea set who won the All-Ireland Scór title. I had the pleasure of playing for them in those years and it was a joy to see Patie’s reaction when there was a change of key or a bit of embellishment to the music. He lived every note and responded with the most complex steps, often completely out of breath by the time the set ended.  In later years he took to learning  sets from other parts of the country and himself and Greta were regulars at the céilí’s right up to his final illness. He will be remembered in many different ways by many others but I will always remember Patie, the true  Irishman, proud of our traditions and one of  the best exponents of our native culture.

On a different note, he was a member of Athea Community Council for a brief period but even though his term of office was over he would always stand with us collecting at the Church gate and continued to sell our ‘Lucky No’s’ tickets up to the time of his illness.  He did the same for Comhaltas. I can only imagine the scenes in Heaven when  he arrived. It must be one heck of a party.

Sincerest sympathy to Greta, Padraig, Raymond and all their families on their sad loss.  May he rest in peace.


Award for Pat and Daisy

On Sunday last, at the Munster Comhaltas Convention in Mallow, I had the honour of accepting an award for Pat Brosnan for services to Comhaltas. Jacqueline O’Connor read out a lovely citation and the medal was presented by Senator Labhrás Ó Murchú, Árd Stiuritheoir C.C.E.   The other recipient from County Limerick was Daisy Kearney from Ballyhahill who arrived on crutches having just had a hip operation. It was good to see these two people being honoured as they both have given great entertainment through songs, poems, recitations and stories for decades.  They both have a number of All-Ireland titles to their credit and they have been available at all times to appear at concerts and other gatherings. As soon as Pat has recovered  we will hold a function for him and Tadhg Ó Maolcatha, Chairman of the Munster Council, has agreed to make the presentation to him on the night. It should be a good one.


Charges, Charges, Charges

People are up in arms around the country about the household  fee and the septic tank registration charges. There is no doubt that there are some tanks in the locality that need upgrading but surely where somebody has complied with the regulations when  the tank was originally installed, there should not be a penalty now if it does not comply with current legislation. If Europe has decreed that tanks have to be modernised then a grant scheme should be put in place by them to alleviate the hardship on people already overburdened with cuts and taxes. The idea of paying €50 just to register the tank for inspection was a joke and has been reduced to €5 – another climb down by a government rattled by the strength of opposition from ordinary people of all political persuasions.

The household charge of €100 is just the tip of the iceberg. From next year it will be a lot more and I, for one, would not mind paying what I could afford if I was getting the same service as those living in the towns and cities. In rural Ireland we have to pay for our rubbish to be collected, water rates are on the way and there is no sewerage system (if there was we wouldn’t have the septic tank debacle). So what exactly are the benefits we will get?  Somebody might enlighten me. In the meantime we must try our best to keep the bankers in the style of living they have become accustomed to!!

Domhnall de Barra