As part of Birr Festival of Music & the Trench Awards, a musician or singer is selected each year to receive the Musical Futures bursary. This is awarded to a young person (from the Midlands/Mid West) about to enter full time professional training, persuing a performance career in the classical field.
This year's recipient is the talented young cellist Aoibhin Keogh Daly, who studies with Christopher Marwood at Cork CIT. Aoibhin began playing the cello at the age of 7, and is a member of the Irish National Youth Orchestra. She was one of only two young Irish musicians selected in 2019 for the Royal Concertgebow Orchestra's young mentoring programme in Amsterdam, with musicians from 25 countries.
Aoibhin, from Limerick, comes from an notable musical family, which includes international violinists Oonagh Keogh, and Geraldine O'Grady. When not practising the cello, studying for her Leaving Cert. and nowadays taking cello lessons online, she enjoys baking and holidaying in Conamara with family and cousins!
Left - Aoibhin Keogh Daly Cellist &Right Des Keogh Comedian, Actor and Radio Presenter
Birr Festival of Music was delighted to discover that Aoibhin has a historic link with Birr through none other than her grandfather the famous actor, comedian and radio presenter, Des Keogh. Born in Birr, where his father was manager of the Hibernian Bank, Des spent his summers playing tennis, was a member of the Ormond Lawn Tennis Club (now the Moorpark Sportsclub) and won the men's singles Championship of the Midlands there four times in a row. He partnered Des Houlihan to win the men's doubles, and also won the mixed doubles title partnering Gillian Kennedy from Roscrea, both three in a row.
Jim Houlihan remembers Des as one of the great personalities of those summers.
" Des was an exceptionally good tennis player. In the mid to late fifties he won the Ormond Open Championships of the Midlands regularly. I remember large crowds coming to watch him as well as a great crowd on the packed bank outside. Final day was a big day in our lives.
That evening in the bar – at one stage a tent erected to one side of the old clubhouse – Des really excelled again. He had everyone in stitches standing on a chair doing his little acts. Two, in particular, were demanded by the audience every year. One delivered in a very posh accent was ‘Do join the hockey club do’. I can’t remember the words apart from that chorus. The other was ‘School around the corner’ with Paddy Crosbie interviewing ‘ a Clongowes boy’. The latter was very posh with Paddy the real Dub. Des was perfect with the accents and the content was really a parody of many of the audience, which made it even funnier for all".
Audiences can look forward to seeing Aoibhin Keogh Daly play some beautiful cello music later in the year, when Birr Festival of Music hopes to return.