It started with a simple post on Facebook from Philadelphia based musician, Gabriel Donohue. Gabriel is a native of Kilconieron and also a renowned musician and producer who recently performed with Tom Waits on the Jay Leno show in the US.
“I’m going to be in Athenry, Dec 16 to 23, armed with a guitar. Looking forward to seeing lots of exiles home for the holidays. Also celebrating my mother’s 92nd and playing some tunes. Please keep me appraised of any fun gigs or sessions going on.”
Five minutes later he received a reply from Ciaran Cannon, owner of The Village Theatre in Carrabane. “There’s a little theatre free if you’re interested!”Within two hours, plans were being made for a very special event in The Village Theatre in support of the reopening of Thoor Ballylee which had found itself almost completely submerged as a result of the recent floods in South Galway.
Through the collaborative efforts of Gabriel Donohue, Ciaran Cannon, and Carmel Dempsey an invite to “Tunes for Thoor” went out to some of Ireland’s finest musicians to come and pool their talent in support of the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society. This community group worked very hard to reopen Thoor Ballylee last June and now find themselves facing the daunting task of getting it open in time for next year’s tourist season.
A deep affinity with the work of Yeats and an artistic bond stretching across time inspired so many of Ireland’s finest musicians to answer the call and within 48 hours the programme was finalised. Performing at Tunes for Thoor last Saturday night were Sean Keane and Fergus Feely, Máirtín O’Connor, Máirín Fahy, her husband Chris Kelly and son Dara, John Faulkner, Frankie Colohan, Gabriel Donohue, Carmel Dempsey, Anne Kirrane, Deirbhile Ní Bhrolcháin, Nóirín Lynch, Marji Delaney and Ciaran Cannon.
Many board members of the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society were also present and their chairperson Senator Fidelma Healy Eames thanked all of the musicians for their support and generous sharing of their talent. Plans are afoot to make Tunes for Thoor an annual event.