Download Where Oh! Where Is James Connolly? by mickmcauleymusic Mp3

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Download Where Oh! Where Is James Connolly? by mickmcauleymusic Mp3 - At an open-air concert in front of the GPO in 1988, tens of thousands of people gathered on the streets to celebrate the Dublin Millennium. On the bill was the great Sean Maguire, Van Morrison and an 'orchestra' of 61 musicians, singers and dancers under the banner of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann and the Guinness Seisiún. The legendary Dublin singer, Liam Weldon was to sing a rendition of "Where Oh Where is James Connolly" a song born from the words of the Cork Poet Patrick Galvin. Liam had asked me, still a kid, to accompany him on the accordion. When he started to sing, an amazing silence fell over the crowd who stood there at dusk in the rain. It was a moment.....
A week or two before, I'd been asked to go to the Comhaltas Studios in Monkstown, Co. Dublin to play on a studio recording of the same song with Liam. I remember Seamus Mac Mathuna becoming intensely concerned for Liam as he had just days before been released from hospital recovering from a triple heart by-pass operation. Liam was really going for it each time he sang the song, being so obviously unable to contain the passion and emotion that this song stirred within him. After a take, Mac Mathúna would say "That's great Liam! Sit down there and rest yourself; we don't want you ending up back in the feckin' hospital" And Liam would say: "Give me one more go at it in a minute - I know i can sing it better." And the hairs would stand up on end even more the next pass.
For some reason, (bus strike?) I wasn't able to get home to Kilkenny that afternoon on the usual bus/trains so Liam had offered to bring me on home with him until such time as I could be lifted later that night. I got to spend the day with him, walking around the roads of Ballyfermot, down and around the local community centre and back to his home and family for the dinner. He told me of the importance of community. And community centres. "With so many people out of work," he said, "places like this give people somwhere to go, to meet and talk and maintain some sense of dignity." Everywhere we went that day, everyone knew him. He was like the Mayor.
And so, when he walked out in front of all those people a couple of weeks later in front of the GPO, they knew him there too..........

Thanks to the folks in the Comhaltas Archive who helped me find this. Copyright Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.

Liam Weldon (15 October 1933- 28 November 1995) Ar Dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

Image: "Weldon's Connolly" by Mick McAuley Copyright 2016 Where Oh! Where Is James Connolly? by mickmcauleymusic

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