Martin O’Shea singing and Collette Dwyer on accordion at Fennelly’s, Callan, with Ned Egan directing the final part of Kilkenny Cats and Cousins - the Musical
There’s mounting excitement in Kilkenny city and county as Ned Egan’s long anticipated musical project approaches completion.
For the past two years he has devoted himself to making a film that will feature many of the songs he’s composed over the decades.
Talented singers have been recorded singing a selection of songs that evoke all the great creative themes…lost and unrequited love, comic incidents, the horrors of war, the ups and downs of life in rural and urban settings, the glories of Kilkenny’s hurling scene.
Some of the compositions were inspired by Ned’s own stranger than fiction life, during which he fought as a soldier, lost an eye in a dynamite explosion and survived repeated attacks by ferocious sharks of a species that would have made the mythical “Jaws” look as a harmless as a domestic goldfish.
It is a life in which he made and lost fortunes in a succession of business ventures before starting his critically acclaimed copper etchings depicting all aspects of Irish culture.
He has penned many poems and written books recalling his hair-raising adventures.
Some of his articles appeared in the Kilkenny People.
The making of Kilkenny Cats and Cousins - the Musical involved filming at some of the most enchanting of the county’s scenic spots.
Drones were used in some instances to catch the broad sweep of the landscape and capture breathtaking over-views of Ned’s vocal teams giving it their all.
Last year, it seemed for a few awful weeks that his dream of seeing his songs reach a wider audience via the film project had been dashed.
At age 82 a stroke took the mighty Ned out of circulation for a while and his many fans feared the worst.
Prayers were offered. Candles were lit and rosaries were intoned.
Thanks to both the prayers and the expertise of the medical staff at Waterford University Hospital Ned pulled through, making a remarkable recovery from the stroke.
Within hours of his discharge from the hospital Ned had the project back on track.
He phoned the singers penciled in to sing the remaining songs and gave them the red light to proceed.
This weekend, he proudly announced that the work was done, following a recording at Fennelly’s that “went like a dream.”
He thanked Etaoin Holahan, renowned artist and owner of the café, for allowing the courtyard to be used in the filming. The fact that the venue resembled a movie set helped, Ned observed.
All that remains is to edit the many clips and produce the final movie that Theatre.