Stalwart of Irish festival remembered

Maidhc Dainín Ó Sé: Part of Oireachtas for 40 years.

A colourful personality who had been an integral part of a major Irish cultural festival for almost 40 years was remembered yesterday.

Writer and musician Maidhc Dainín Ó Sé, who died suddenly in August aged 71, was honoured at Oireachtas na Gaeilge in Killarney, Co Kerry.

Members of his family, including his son, TV presenter Daithí O Sé, attended a number of events including a live TG4 programme last night. Earlier yesterday, tributes were paid to him on the Raidió na Gaeltachta An Saol Ó Dheas programme.

As well as being the author of about 20 books in Irish, some of which are on the school curriculum, Mr Ó Sé, from the west Kerry gaeltacht, was also a box player who entertained people at the festival each year.

He worked as a Kerry Group truck driver, but played music and wrote prolifically in his free time, some of his best-known books being Chicago Driver and A Thig Ná Tit Orm.

His son, Caoimhín Ó Sé, said the Oireachtas had always been the big occasion of the year for his father.

“He would save up cash throughout the year in a yellow box and looked forward to his few days at the Oireachtas more than anything else,” said Caoimhín.

“The 1997 event was probably the most memorable for him, as it was held in Belfast and it was his first trip to the North. He felt it was important to go to support the people who were keeping Irish culture alive there.’’

Oireachtas director Liam Ó Maolaodha said Mr Ó Sé epitomised the festival and was a fixture at it every year.

The festival celebrates the best of sean nós dancing, singing, and storytelling. Síle Seoige will present the final of GIG, an Gaeilgeoir is Greannmhaire, an eight-part series which searches for the funniest Irish-speaking comedian. The final will see three judges pick the winner as they perform to a 200-strong crowd tonight.

One Oireachtas highlight will be the sean nós dancing Steip competition, being broadcast live on TG4.

This year, record numbers of children are entering, and more than 50 under-12s will battle it out on the big INEC stage in Killarney’s Gleneagle Hotel.


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