Fr Pat Ahern Honoured By Kerry County Council

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Fr Pat Ahern (second left) was afforded a civic reception in Kerry County Council on Monday.Included is CEO of Kerry County Council Moira Murrell, Cathaoirleach of KCC Cllr John Sheahan and Mayor of Tralee Cllr Norma Foley. Photo By Domnick Walsh © Eye Focus LTD

FR Pat Ahern, a founding member of Siamsa Tíre, was honoured yesterday by Kerry County Council with a Civic Reception.

“This is an opportunity for Kerry County Council to acknowledge the tremendous work that Fr Pat has done over so many years to promote the artistic, musical and literary tradition of our great county,” said Cllr John Sheahan, Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council in his address.

“There can be no more deserving a recipient of a Civic Reception than Fr Pat Ahern. Fr Pat’s legacy is immense – locally, nationally and internationally. Your contribution has enriched all of our lives and has enhanced the reputation of Kerry as a place of culture, tradition and innovation. We salute your many achievements and hope that in the years ahead, you will continue to make a contribution to the artistic life of Kerry,” said Cllr Sheahan.

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Fr Ahern, who was joined by friends and acquaintances at the civic reception, said he was humbled and honoured by the kind words of the Cathaoirleach and others, including Mayor of Tralee Norma Foley, at the reception.

A native of Leitrim Middle, Moyvane, Fr Pat Ahern was immersed in traditional Irish music from a young age.

Having studied for the priesthood, he became a curate at St John’s in Tralee in 1957. He founded the St John’s Choir and was given responsibility for liturgical music in the diocese.

Graduating with a music degree from UCC in 1962, Fr Pat joined the Catholic Communications Centre in Dublin and studied TV and radio production.

He produced a weekly series called ‘Network’ for RTE Radio. In those years Fr Pat worked on the production of two major religious pageants, the story of Lourdes and the story of the Passion.

His musical and theatrical work in the early years was channelled into the establishment of Siamsa Tíre, the national folk theatre of Ireland which was founded in the early 1970s.

Siamsa initially operated from the old Theatre Royal Cinema in Tralee. In 1974 Teach Siamsa, was opened at Finuge and focussed on the north Kerry dancing tradition, and in 1975 a second centre was opened at Carraig in the West Kerry Gaeltacht with a focus on the Irish language.

Since then, Siamsa Tire has gone from strength to strength, culminating in the opening of the its new building on the edge of Tralee Town Park in 1991. Fr Pat was artistic director there until 1997.

Outside of Siamsa, Fr Pat has been responsible for numerous other productions including works on the life of Edmund Rice and the story of Christianity in Kerry.

For the Millennium, he produced ‘Dance of Life’ which featured over 800 singers and a cast of 200. He has continued to involve himself also in the pastoral life of the diocese.


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