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2019 FANORE/BURREN 10K AND 5K on 29th December 2019.



In Fanore, the weekend of 15 November was a very special occasion: the commemoration of the life of John Joe Scanlon, who passed away on 19 November last year. Organised by the Fanore Events Club committee with the help of local people, a great number of music lovers had travelled from all over Ireland and beyond to remember the well-known local musician, whose singing, lilting and tin whistle playing entertained many in Fanore and other venues around the country for many years. His kindness and his talent to entertain made him much loved and respected. ‘Fanore will not be the same without him’, it was said in his obituary and this weekend reminded us all of how much he is missed.

Friday night started with the official opening of the weekend by Clare FM’s Paula Carroll, followed by a slideshow of photos of John Joe, compiled by Kevin Byrne. This in itself was a tasteful and fitting tribute. After this, a special singing session got underway, during which many fond memories of John Joe were recounted and the songs for which he was so well-known were sung, including ‘A Mother’s Love’s a Blessing’ and ‘Wild Mountain Thyme’, while Patsy Carrucan sang a tribute song he had especially written for the occasion.

On Saturday morning, a walk to John Joe’s townland of Ballyella and the surrounding area took place, guided by Patsy and local historian Joe Queally. This was followed by a singing session, while later that evening an anniversary mass was celebrated at the local church.
Then it was back to O’Donohue’s Pub for a music session by Christy Barry and friends, after which Joe Queally launched the CD compiled by him, ‘The Village of My Childhood’, containing songs by local singers (including John Joe!), which promptly sold out. Michael & Martin, well-known in Fanore, then performed, singing and accompanying the dancers until the small hours.

The next morning, a small procession made its way to Creggagh cemetery, where a wreath was laid and Patsy sang another tribute song. After this, a number of Honda 50 motorbikes and ‘High Nelly’ bicycles were ridden and walked to John Joe’s cottage in Ballyella.

Later that afternoon, it was good to see so many schoolchildren involved in the footing and building reeks of turf; John Joe was of course a master of this old craft. After this, the children played music, led by their teacher, Brid Queally, on the accordion. This was followed by another great singing session, which segued into a music session with, among many others, Oliver O’Connell and Des Mulkere, during which Paddy Hynes, who is now in his nineties(!) and had come all the way from Carron for the occasion, also recited some of his trademark recitations.

All in all, this was a great weekend to commemorate and remember John Joe. His singing and his music are now sadly missed, but these three days have proved that his memory lives on in the hearts of many. The Fanore Events Club committee would like to thank everybody who took part in the music and the singing, as well as the organising, and express their special thanks to the members of the Scanlon family who attended the weekend, which, it is hoped, will become an annual event.  

Willem Verhulst (photo: ┬ęKevin Byrne)


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