Mike Kenny Arts & Music Weekend to take place in Castleisland 12th - 13th August

Henry Ward Beecher once wrote that “Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.” This truism comes to mind when we think of Mike Kenny.

The biography of Mike’s life tells us only the marginal details of what he materially achieved. His degree in fine art from the National College of Art and Design enhanced his already bourgeoing creativity. Revelling in the company of others, Mike expounded a number of teaching roles with both children and adults. His calligraphy work dots the Kerry landscape in the form of various sign fronts. Mike had an insatiable curiosity for the world. His visiting Art lectureship in Des Moines, Iowa allowed him to explore the world of the native American Indians. Indigenous peoples and their worlds fascinated him. In fact all of life fascinated him.

It is true that his creative expression was really elevated when he began to mould clay. He spoke with animation about art and in particular sculpture. The nuances and subtleties of understanding form and muscle drove his need for perfection. It had to be right.

Evidence of this knowledge found expression in his sculptures of Patrick O’ Keeffe in Scartaglin (1983), Johnny O’Leary in Killarney (2007) and Sean O’ Riada in Cul Aodha (2008). His understanding of the transience of the human body belied his deep spirituality and unparalleled belief in the afterlife.

It is apt that his three fine Kerry sculptors should commemorate gifted Irish musicians, considering Mike’s deep love of traditional Irish music and his instrumental work in establishing the Patrick O’ Keeffe festival in 1992 in Castleisland.

A keen historian, Mike co-founded the Castleisland and District Culture and Heritage Society in 2006, writing for the Kerry Archaeological Magazine. Quiz master and quiz player extraordinaire he revelled in an erudite challenge and was as much at ease discussing cubism as he was Munster rugby.

Humble and yet simultaneously proud Mike had an ability to draw people towards him. His intensely social personality never masked the subtle and gentle man who lived by his own unique philosophy.

Mike is the inspiration for this weekend, his life, work and creativity will be celebrated on the 5th anniverary of his death.

The Mike Kenny Arts & Music Weeekend takes place in Castleisland, Co. Kerry on  Friday 12th and Saturday 13th August 2016.


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