Followers of traditional singing and storytelling will gather in Abbeyfeale on the weekend of November 2nd – 4th for the 4th annual Garry McMahon Singing Weekend to commemorate and celebrate the life of the former singer, composer/writer and sportsman. The launch night was held in the Ramble Inn, Abbeyfeale on Thursday 18th October and the large attendance included members of the West Limerick Singing Club, representatives of our sponsors, members of the McMahon family, local politicians and radio. The Weekend which is now in its 4th year is hosted by the West Limerick Singing Club which draws performers from all over west Limerick, north Kerry, north Cork and further afield. It meets on the first Thursday of every month at the Ramble Inn which is owned by Philip and Marie Enright. It caters for all age groups and it has been the platform for many who have gone on to achieve success at county, provincial and national level, but primarily the aim of the club is to preserve, keep alive and promote the traditional songs and stories which go back generations. These ballads were composed by ordinary people such as farmers, tradesman and hedge school masters who composed the songs to suit the people that listened. The songs were written about local events, emigration, famous people and sporting songs and so on. The work of the West Limerick Singing Club is to carry the torch which was lit by these people and the work of the late Garry McMahon. The centrepiece of the weekend is the newly composed ballad competition for which the winner will receive the Garry McMahon trophy plus €300 and cash prizes for the runners up. The official opening takes place on Friday 2nd November in the Ramble Inn at 8pm and will be performed by Senator Labhrás O’Murchú. Our special guests for the weekend are Dick Beamish, the popular west Cork balladeer, poet and writer, whose songs are in the humorous and comical category and Joe O’Connor from west Clare who has a vast store and collection of ballads from the archives and a great admirer of the writings of Garry McMahon. This will be followed by a singing session in the Ramble Inn and Leen’s Hotel. On Saturday morning at 10.30am there is a free workshop and traditional singing tuition and a talk on the art of songwriting and composing. On Saturday afternoon the finals of the newly composed ballad competition takes place at the Ramble Inn at 4pm. Singing sessions will resume on Saturday night at 8pm at the Ramble Inn and Leens Hotel. Sunday at 12 noon Aifreann na Riocht as arranged by the late Garry McMahon will be performed by the Abbeyfeale Choir directed by Dee Dennison in the Church of the Assumption. Also on Sunday at 2pm at Leens Hotel there is a tribute to the late Bryan McMahon, short story writer, playwright, ballad maker, and presenter of Balladmakers programme on radio, teacher and educator and at 6pm there will be a farewell singing session at the Ramble Inn. At each singing session during the weekend a Fear a Ti/Bean a Ti will be in charge. Singers, storytellers and people who recite will be given numerous opportunities to perform at the sessions and the club would like to extend a céad mile fáilte to all performers and listeners.