Group Size: 20 -100 Duration: 8 Days Price: $2,450.00 EUR2,300.00 GBP2,000.00



The Maurice O’Keeffe Music Festival 2024

This is a Week-Long Festival of Sessions, Céilís, Set Dancing Workshops, Concerts, Mass and Choir, & Much More! The Festival includes Morning Escorted Tours including visits to The Ring Of Kerry, The Dingle Peninsula, The Gap Of Dunloe & West Cork.

Day 1 of your tour.

On arrival in Shannon Airport, we will transfer to your Hotel in the Killarney Area.

Settle into the Surrounds of the area & your Hotel before heading to the opening Session of what will be the start of a week long feast of MIGHTY Music, Craic, Set-Dancing Concerts, Sightseeing tours around Kerry & Cork and much more!

Held Annually during Easter Week, since 2001, this week-long Festival is a celebration of the life of an amazing man.

Maurice O’ Keeffe (1919 – 2017) was born and lived all his life in Glounreigh between Ballydesmond and Kiskeam in County Cork.

Maurice was quoted saying during an interview that “his mother always heard him diddling and whistling from the age of 6 years old”. Its said that this is what prompted her to purchase his first fiddle when he was just 10 years of age, which she purchased from a shop in Ballydeswmond for an amount of ten pence. She then arranged for lessons from a renowned teacher from Glounreigh;, John Linehan.

Maurice’s fame grew over his lifetime due to his beautiful gift for the music of his locality. His generosity to all by means of the dispersal of the many tunes he had gathered and learned throughout his life will last in the minds and hearts of many, lasting for generations and keeping the tradition and history alive!

At the age of 88, and still playing his music as youthfully as a teen age boy, Maurice O’Keeffe was awarded the Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Award for his outstanding contribution to the music of the Sliabh Luachra area.

Sliabh Luachra – “The Rushy Mountains”

Often translated into “The Mountain of Rushes” or “The Rushy Mountains” is a region with much mystique. Bordered roughly by Castleisland, Killarney and Millstreet, the region has cultivated strong traditions related to music, set dancing and poetry. The Sliabh Luachra style of music has been described as an emotional and dance-oriented style.

Pádraig O’Keeffe & Cal O’Callaghan: Much of the musical history of the area comes from Pádraig O’Keeffe. Born in 1887 in the small town of Gleanntán (also known as Glountain, and currently called knockdown), County Kerry.

His father was known as a strict school teacher, and his mother came from the musical O’Callaghan family of Doon. Her brother Cal O’Callaghan was widely know as a fine fiddler, and he had a powerful influence on the youthful Pádraig, who started playing fiddle at the tender age of four years old! SEE LINK for more details on Cal O’Callaghan, “Doon Reel’s” and Pádraig O’Keeffe from Paul de Grae, August 2013

A long shot of the killarney lake and mountainsDay 2 of your tour.

The Ring Of Kerry Tour

You will enjoy a superb tour of the Iveragh Peninsula, which will give you the opportunity to discover the Ring of Kerry. Taking in spectacular scenery such as mountains, peat, bogs, lakes and magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Enjoy a stop at two of the Ring of Kerry’s most spectacular beauty spots.

Molls Gap and Ladies’ View- Molls’ Gap, a spectacular photographic viewing point on the famous Ring of Kerry Tour. The visitor is presented with a magnificent view of Death Valley.

Close by is the famous Ladies View viewing point which gives a different perspective of this magnificent countryside, with the 3 Lakes of Killarney all surrounded by the Kerry Mountains. Ladies View received its name from Queen Victoria, who was so impressed with the view that she insisted that her ladies-in-waiting should also visit here.

Leaving Killarney pass through Killorglin, famous for its Puck Fair, then to Glenbeigh where the cliff road affords panoramic views of the Dingle Peninsula & Dingle Bay.

Passing through the peat bogs one arrives at the sea town of Waterville. Continue to Sneem Village, famous for its brightly coloured houses, before arriving back in Killarney.

Return To Your Hotel In Killarney where you will have free time before the Festival’s evening Sessions.

This evenings Session is held in Kiskeam.

Kiskeam is a small unspoiled village situated to the east of the Cork-Kerry border, the IRD Duhallow Region. Link to Kiskean – Wikipedia

The Irish name for the village is Coiscéim na Caillí which translates into “footstep of the old hag”. The story of how Kiskeam got Its name can be found on the site of University College Dublin within their National Folklore Collection, “The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0621, Page 413” by Dúchas © National Folklore Collection, UCD

Marking the are’s connection with the legendary Caileach (hag) is the Hag sculpture in Kiskeam by Éilis Ní Fhaoláin’s which commemorates the mythological figure that lends the village its original name, Coiscéam na Caillí, the Hag’s Step.

Slea Head Drive. West KerryDay 3 of your tour

The Dingle Peninsula & Slea Head Tour

We will explore the Spectacular Dingle Peninsula via Inch Beach – a long beach bordered by dunes and made famous by David Lean’s movie “Ryan’s daughter,” Admire the Iveragh Peninsula and Rossbeigh Beach.Some of the finest coastal scenery to be seen in Ireland can be found in West Kerry, on the Dingle Peninsula, the most northern of the Kerry Peninsulas.

This peninsula is famous for its Celtic, pre Christian monuments and Christian churches.
It is also a ‘Gaeltacht’ (Irish speaking) area, where the Irish language and traditional ways of life are preserved. Dingle town itself is a thriving fishing town and offers plenty of opportunity for shopping or simply savoring the atmosphere of a typical country Irish town with its plentiful pubs, narrow streets and busy harbour.

The road around the Peninsula is truly spectacular. It passes through a chain of Mountains, called Slieve Mish.
Slea Head.. From Dingle, drive around the coast to Slea Head. Here the blue of the marine landscape surrounds the Blaskets Islands, deserted since 1953.

In the distance are the two rocky Skellig islands, where the ruins of an early Christian Monastery can be found. The Dingle Peninsula will charm you with it’s villages painted in bright colours and will bewitch you with the dramatic beauty of it’s landscapes.

The road between Dunquin and Slea Head is dotted with beehive huts, forts and church sites. Prehistoric Dunbeg Fort is on a cliff top promontory with a sheer drop to the Atlantic and has four outer walls of stone. Inside are the remains of a house and a beehive hut as well as an underground passage.
Beehive huts are circular stone buildings shaped like a beehive which were lived in by the Kerry monks.

Continue around the peninsula exploring some of Ireland’s nicest & most picturesque local shops, pubs, cafes etc.
Return To Your Hotel In Killarney where you will have free time before the Festival’s Evening Sessions & Céilí Mór to be held in Kiskeam and Ballydesmond.

Ballydesmond is a small vibrant community situated in the heart of Sliabh Luachra which is very well known for its music and culture.
The village is on the Cork/Kerry border and on the banks of the River Blackwater. The village was built in 1832 in the hope that it would become a resting place for passing travelers to and from Cork City.

Its beautiful wild scenery with a number of lovely streams including the River Blackwater which is one of the most popular fishing rivers in Ireland.
For the sports person, the local GAA field with its river walk is a delight with two top class Handball Courts, Sports Gym and an outdoor Playground for kids.
Also a must when in the area is to explore Duhallow Way which can take walking enthusiast through some lovely forests with the rugged hills and valleys!

Day 4 of your tour.

Sessions, Workshops, Singing & Céilí Mór

Today will be a full day of events, from Music Sessions to Set Dancing Workshops, Competitions and Céilí Mór

You will be emersed in an entire day of Irish Music, Dance and Singing today.

Arrive early so you have leisurely time to stroll around town and you will surely want to have a tasting of the unforgettable Irish local baked goods and confectionery, such as Scones, Brown Breads, Apple & Rhubarb Tarts, Queen Cakes, Cheesecakes & Madeira Cakes.

Over 2,000 years ago, during the Iron Age Era, Celtic people settled in Ireland and started creating their own music in about 500 BC.
It was then that traditional Irish music was born, and it was handed down through the generations through aural and oral traditions. Musicians would learn by ear, and they never formally wrote down the music or lyrics.

Irish folk music evolved over the centuries and became an important thread running through Irish history. The melodies and lyrics of some folk songs carry a history and knowledge from way back when. They continue our story as a people to the present day
On the Calendar this morning is the Set Dancing Workshop with John “The Lepper” Lynch!

Irish Set Dancing – Steip a dhéanamh (Gaelic) are based on quadrilles, which were court dances. These were transformed by the Irish into a unique folk dance of the Irish rural communities. A form of social dancing, sets are danced by four couples in a square, and usually consist of three to six Figures with a short pause between each.

You will love this evenings concert from The Shandrum Céilí Band, formation of the band was in December 2014. The band is now, more so than ever in demand across the country and abroad to perform music for dances, concerts and céilithe.
Each of their members, have their own impressive history…..

Day 5 of your tour.

The Sliabh Luachra Region

Sliabh Luachra describes a Region and is very well known for its music and culture.

Boherbue: The village of Boherbue is situated on a hillock, 600ft above sea-level, on the main Cork – Tralee road.
It is in the barony of Duhallow and its situation takes in sections of the townlands of Laharn, Gneeves and Derrynatubrid. It is situated in a very strategic position, often called “The Gateway to West Duhallow” or indeed “The Gateway to Sliabh Luachra” as the signpost in the square reveals.

The village of Boherbue is a thriving rural hamlet, neat and well kept.
Boherbue Village by Louis Mc Carthy.
“Interview By Paschal Sheehy:” Southern Editor, RTE
US Ambassador visits ancestral home in Boherbue Co. Cork.

The US Ambassador to Ireland has visited his ancestral home in Co Cork, just ten days into his new job.
Billionaire businessman Edward Crawford’s mother emigrated to New York from the village of Boherbue in 1927.
Boherbue is a north Cork village with a population of less than 500 people.

Local people say the village has not provided the world with a dignitary like this since the Druid Buí lived here in 2000 BC.
The new US Ambassador to Ireland even made front-page news – there was a ‘Welcome Home’ message to him in this week’s edition of The Corkman newspaper.
Edward Crawford has been to Boherbue half a dozen times since his first visit in the mid-1960s, but he was clearly moved by today’s welcome.
Inside the parish hall, he learned about his north Cork ancestors.

Afterwards, he said happiness summed up what the visit meant to him, to be among family and friends.
At Billy Murphy’s Bar, Ambassador Crawford gave his verdict on a very Irish refreshment. He described the pint of stout there as brilliant.
And his visit was completed by a trip to the house at Gneeves in Boherbue, which his mother Kate Healy left when she emigrated to the US in 1927.

Millstreet: Millstreet (“Sráid and Mhuilinn”) is a town in the south of Duhallow in the shadows of Claragh Mountains. Millstreet is situated midways between Mallow and Killarney. The town of Millstreet grew up in the 18th century – as the name implies – around the little mill situated on the Station Road.

There are some fifty-five splendid prints referring to the Millstreet area in the famous William Lawrence Pictorial Collection. These photographs incorporating, Millstreet Town, Drishane Estate and Great houses were taken between 1880 and 1912.

The town is famous for the annual Millstreet International Horse Show.
In the mountains overlooking the town is Millstreet Country Park where visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the town and the surrounding area.

Kanturk: Is a thriving market town nestled on the banks of the confluence of two rivers, the Allow River and Dalua River.
Kanturk has three public riverside parks and shops galore! With a creamery situated in the town centre, shops for all tastes and a strong presence of boutiques with all shops within an easy walking distance from each other. LINK to Kanturk – Wikipedia

The town’s name is derived from the Irish ‘Ceann Tuirc’ (Boar’s Head) and local legend claims that the last wild boar in Ireland was slain there.
Kanturk has a rich and diverse history influenced by both the Gaelic and Planter heritage.
Prior to 1601 the Blackwater Valley, where Kanturk is located, had grown rich on exporting wool and provisions and had a thriving import economy based on wine.

Bordering the renowned Sliabh Luachra region, traditional Irish music is a strong feature of the town and hinterland.

Duhallow: The Duhallow region includes north west Cork and south east Kerry.
It is approximately 1,800 sq.km and has a population density of 16 per sq.km. It is a largely rural area and over 85% of the population live in the open countryside or in settlements of less than 200 people. LINK to Duhallow Walkways

Ballydesmond: Ballydesmond is a small vibrant community situated in the heart of Sliabh Luachra which would be very well known for its music and culture.
The village can be found on the Cork/Kerry border and on the banks of the River Blackwater. The village was built in 1832 in the hope that it would become a resting place for passing travellers to and from Cork City.

The Ballydesmond Community Centre was built in the early eighties with a view to promote a facility for all age groups to participate in the different interests and activities that people enjoy and the Community Centre has more than fulfilled its expectations. LINK for Ballydesmond – Wikipedia

Newmarket: Newmarket is nestled in a beautiful pastoral setting situated north west of Kanturk bordering counties Kerry and Limerick. Founded in the 17th century, Newmarket is historically known as Áth Trasna and originated as a market town in the barony of Duhallow.

The famous Aldworth family home stands monumentally overlooking the town, this building known as the James O’Keeffe, now houses several enterprises including IRD Duhallow.
The Island Wood (Coill an Oileann) in Newmarket is a beautiful visitor park which is the base for setting off a number of beautiful walking trails. LINK for Newmarket – Wikipedia

Note: Many Biographies and Photos from the Sliabh Luachra Archive may be found on the World Fiddle Day SCARTAGLIN website: https://worldfiddledayscartaglin.ie/?page_id=5

The Majestic Ring of Kerry

Day 6 of your Tour.

Today will be another a full day of events, from The Road Race in Kiskeam to an Easter Egg Hunt and Sessions including the Mighty Festival Closing Session.


Everyone needs an elixir of life. For the followers of traditional music, it’s the “Session”, that exciting event that pulls people together and binds them with an invisible force.

A good Session generates its own energy, a resonance that fills the void of time space, a sacred rite of rhythm and rhyme which allows the soul to free itself from the fetters of mediocracy.
Each participant becomes suspended on a wave of musical motion, savoring every note and nuance.

The Session gives one a glimpse of such an event in Irish life, capturing the mood and spirit, the interplay between artists and audience.
Glimpses of history emerge from the introductions to the music and songs given by the performers to hold the attention of the listener.
Strong singing couples with assertive confident playing dictates the pace throughout a Session.

There is much to be found in a live session where performers are striving to produce their very best in front of a focused audience and where every note and phrase hangs in the balance between perfection and human frailty.
The Session captures that elusive balance while celebrating the wealth of our tradition with pride and panache.

Day 7 of your tour.

Killarney National Park, Gap of Dunloe & The Black Valley Tour

Full Day Tour of Killarney National Park & The Gap Of Dunloe

The Gap of Dunloe is one of the most stunningly beautiful parts of County Kerry and indeed Ireland. Stretching through the MacGuillicuddy Reeks mountain range, this beautiful glacial valley simply must be experienced to be appreciated.

You will be collected from your Hotel by your Driver/Guide, for this memorable trip.
The tour begins with a short journey to Kate Kearney’s Cottage where you can take a jaunting car or go on horseback through the six mile pass.

A packed lunch can be arranged at Lord Brandon’s cottage upon request. Once through the gap, boats are waiting for the homeward journey via the enchanting Upper, Middle & Lower Lakes to historic Ross Castle where your transport awaits you for the journey back to Killarney or alternatively, disembark at the hotels’ own pier.

You will enjoy a superb views of the Iveragh Peninsula, taking in spectacular scenery, mountains, peat bogs, lakes & magnificent views of Killarney National Park

Day 8 of your Tour.


After a final Irish breakfast, transfer to your Airport for your departure flight home.



**DAY 1 – Wednesday, April 16th

Session: With Timmy O’Connor, Pat Fleming, Maria O’Connor & Eilís Murphy
Location: The Rock Bar, Newmarket
Time: 7:00pm

**DAY 2 – Thursday, April 17th

FESTIVAL OPENING SESSION: With Conor Daly, Maria Cotter, Pat Fleming, Alan Finn & Shane O’Riordan.
Location: The Shamrocks, Kiskeam.
Time: 9:30pm

**DAY 3 – Friday, April 18th

Céilí Mór: With Tim Joe & Ann O’Rirdan
Location: Ballydesmond Hall
Time: 9:30pm

Session: With Mickey O’Gorman, Marie O’Gorman, Kate O’Gorman, Deirdre Drew & Fiona O’Hanlon
Location: The Shamrocks, Kiskeam
Time: 9:00pm

Session: With Alan Finn, Cormac O’Hanlon, Eddie Kiely & Liam Moynihan
Location: The Why Not, Kiskeam
Time: 9:00pm

Session: With Pat Fleming, Maria Cotter, Conor Daly, John Coakley, Kate Lyons & Timmy Keane
Location: John D’s – Sliabh Luachra, Ballydesmond
Time: 9:00pm

**DAY 4 – Saturday, April 19th

Fiddle & Duet Competition:
Location: Kiskeam
Time: 11:00am

Set Dancing Workshop: With John “The Lepper” Lynch
Location: Kiskeam Community Centre.
Time: 2:30pm

Céilí Mór: With “The Shandrum Céilí Band” (Big Band)
Location: Ballydesmond Hall
Time: 9:30pm

Singing Session: with Christy Cronin, Nora Mary O’Riordan, Pat Sullivan & Steve Roche.
Location: The Shamrocks, Kiskeam
Time: 5:00pm

Session: With Mike & Neil Brosnan, Geraldine Brosnan
Location: The Shamrocks, Kiskeam
Time: 3:00pm

Session: With Timmy O’Connor, Pat Fleming, Conor Daly,Fionn O’Hanlon, Simon Creehan, Billy O’Keeffe & Timmy Keane
Location: The Why Not, Kiskeam
Time: 3:00pm

Session: With Connie Moynihan, Ger Culhane & Denis O’Connor
Location: The Why Not, Kiskeam
Time: 9:30pm

Session: With Nicky & Anne McAuliffe, Mary Crowley & John Connelly
Location: John D’s – Sliabh Luachra, Ballydesmond
Time: 6:00pm

Session: With Darragh O’Shea, Rachel O’Connor, Síle Kavanagh & Leah Murphy
Location: John D’s – Sliabh Luachra, Ballydesmond
Time: 9:30pm

Session: With Jonathan Roche, Eilís Murphy & Sean Leahy
Location: Bob’s Bar, Ballydesmond
Time: 9:00pm

**DAY 5 – Sunday, April 20th

Sliabh Luachra Mass: with Full Choir
Location: Kiskeam Church
Time: 9:30am

Big Band: The Kiskeam Brass Band
Location: Kiskeam Church Car Park
Time: 10:30am

The Mighty Youth Session: With Eddie Kiely
Location: John D’s – Sliabh Luachra, Ballydesmond
Time: 3:00pm

Concert: Ardnaceol Sliabh Luachra Concert
Location: Community Centre
Time: 7:30pm

Session: With Maeve, Eimer & Clodagh Buckley & Diarmuid O’ Brien
Location: The Shamrocks, Kiskeam
Time: 2:00pm

Session: With DJ Curtin, Adrian McAuliffe & Gearóid Ó Duinnín
Location: The Shamrocks, Kiskeam
Time: 9:00pm

Session: With Lisa O’Sullivan, Eoin “Stan” O Sullivan, Mike “Tosh” O’Sullivan & Flor O’Rathaille
Location: The Why Not, Kiskeam
Time: 5:00pm

Session: With Alan Finn, Keith & Brian O’Loughlan, Cormac O’Hanlon & Liam Moynihan
Location: The Why Not, Kiskeam
Time: 9:30pm

Session: With Con Herbert, Liam Flanagan, John McNulty & Mike Barrett
Location: John D’s – Sliabh Luachra, Ballydesmond
Time: 9:30pm

Session: With Tadgh O’Sullivan, Eddie Kiely, Shane O’Riordan & Ian Sheehy
Location: Bob’s Bar, Ballydesmond
Time: 9:00pm

**DAY 6 – Monday, April 21st

Road Race:
Location: Kiskeam
Time: 11:00am

Easter Egg Hunt:
Location: Kiskeam
Time: 1:00pm

Session: With Clare O’Loughlin & Rosie Healy
Location: The Shamrocks, Kiskeam
Time: 3:00pm

Sunday Cure: With John J, DJ &Co
Location: The Shamrocks, Kiskeam
Time: 6:30pm

Session: With Tim Browne, John Drew, Eoin “Stan” O’Sullivan & Timmy O’Connor
Location: The Why Not, Kiskeam
Time: 1:30pm

Up In Smoke
Location: The Why Not, Kiskeam
Time: 8:30pm

The Mighty Closing Session: With Mick Culloty & Friends
Location: John D’s – Sliabh Luachra, Ballydesmond
Time: 4:30pm

     **DAY 7 – Tuesday April 22nd

Full Day Escorted Tour of Killarney National Park & The Gap Of Dunloe

 **DAY 8 – Wednesday April 23rd

Transfer to your Airport for your departure flight home

Trip ID: 07231