Sliabh Luachra Journal 16

 The 16th issue of the Sliabh Luachra Journal will be officially launched in the Denis Murphy Memorial Hall, Gneeveguilla, on Friday November 28, at 8.30pm, by leading traditional musician Matt Cranitch. Everybody is welcome.

Published by the local history society, Cumann Luachra, the biennial journal includes a wide range of articles on the history, life and lore of a storied area straddling the Cork/Kerry border, best known for its poets and traditional music.

The 120-page journal also has a large collection of old photographs. This time, the package includes a separate, smaller publication by John Stephen O’Sullivan on the poet Eoghan Rua O Suilleabhain, who died 230 years ago and whose work continues to be celebrated.

Also traced is the history of old butter road linking counties Kerry and Cork and along which butter produced by farmers was carted to the Cork Butter Exchange which opened in 1770. Martin Murphy writes that the road existed long before butter trading began and he recalls how the British authorities built military roads in isolated areas after the Desmond Rebellion in 1579.

Currow’s remarkable tradition of producing rugby players of international calibre is examined by John Kelleher. He says that it is with a sense of pride that Currow’s stars are recognised, describing them as neighbour’s children ‘’across the bounds ditch’’ from Sliabh Luachra. Currow, however, might claim to be in Sliabh Luachra, which is often referred to as a ‘’moveable feast’’.

As could be expected, traditional music features strongly in the journal, with Gneeveguilla-born fiddler Con Moynihan telling his story as part of the My Life and Music series, which has been a fixture in the popular publication since it was first published in 1982.

‘’I was fortunate to be born right in the heart of Sliabh Luachra, in Gneeveguilla village in December 1967. I was always very conscious of the poetic, writing and storytelling tradition and rich store of traditional Irish music and song that is deep in the psyche of the place,’’ he writes.

There are also articles on the musical legacies of famous fiddlers Padraig O’Keeffe, who died a half-century ago, and Denis Murphy, who died 40 years ago, by musicians Matt Cranitch and Peter Browne, respectively.

There’s a centre spread on The Demise of the Rural Shop, which charts the decline of the retail trade in the area (in common with trends countrywide) since the middle of the 20th century, with a special focus on the villages of Gneeveguilla, Rathmore and Boherbue.

‘’Besides trading, these shops were places where local news as parsed and analysed and several types of matches – football and otherwise – were discussed. You got an answer to all your questions even if you were searching for a clucking hen and a tea-chest to hatch duck eggs,’’ notes Louis McCarthy in an article on Boherbue’s commercial life in days long gone.

The journal, which has many other articles of interest, costs EURO 12 and is on sale in shops throughout Sliabh Luachra and in Killarney, Millstreet, Castleisland, Kanturk and Newmarket.