Fr Michael O'Flanagan monthly traditional sessions
Sessions take place on the last Saturday of each month in the backroom of O'Donnell's Bar in Cliffoney.
A beginner / improver 'junior' session starts at 8.00 pm. — the emphasis is on playing common tunes at a handy pace with a steady beat, and to encourage entrainemnt in group playing. Adult beginners are welcome.
The 'senior' session begins at 9.30 and generally lasts well into the early morning. The session is attended by musicians from all over the northwest area—Ardara, Ballyshannon, Ballybofey, Bundoran, Rossinver, Manorhamilton and Sligo.
There are a number of singers and a wide selection of instruments, with a strong leaning towards fiddles and accordions. Our youngest musician who joins us is 15, while our oldest, Jimmy was 94.
A weekly session is held on Monday evenings in the Old Barricks in Cliffoney, opposite O'Donnel's Bar. Again, the emphasis is on a slow, steady pace for beginners and improvers. The beginner session starts at 8.00 pm, and the pace increases at about 8.30 p. m.
A note on the Fr. Michael O'Flanagan Traditional Group
by Joe McGowan:
In 1985 a few locals, recognising that traditional Irish music once popular in North Sligo was dying out, got together and initiated a monthly musical session in local pubs in Cliffoney village. When this initiative flourished and became popular the founders decided, in 1993, to join Comhaltas Ceoiltóirí Eireann and thus came into being the ‘Father Michael O’Flanagan Branch CCE’ named in honour of the famous Patriot Priest who championed people’s rights against tyranny when he was posted to Cliffoney in 1914.
The new branch quickly became aware that although Fr Michael played a significant role in the history of North Sligo, and was an avid supporter of Irish music and culture, no plaque or memorial to his name existed. Shortly afterwards a plaque, with his name inscribed, was installed over the holy water font in Cliffoney Church. The Church was packed for the memorial Mass celebrated by Fr. Patrick Healy. In attendance were officers and members of the branch, Pat O’Flanagan of Castlerea, grandnephew of Fr. O’Flanagan, and Thomas Hargadon, Cliffoney.
The plaque was actually unfinished business. Thomas (R.I.P) was the only surviving member of the original committee set up in 1942 to install the holy water font as a memorial to the affection in which Fr. Michael was held. James Rooney of Newtown, Cliffoney was also a member of the original fundraising committee. The font was accepted by the Church authorities, and installed, but no commemorative inscription or mention of Fr. Michael was permitted.
With the unveiling of the plaque to this great priest’s memory, honour has been given in some small manner to a man who richly deserves more and who gave so much to his parishioners and to his country.