Belfast Telegraph

Musician John Sheahan inducted into Ireland’s Hands of Fame

The 80-year-old said he was ‘honoured’ to be included in the CHOFA.

The Dubliners’ John Sheahan (Brian Lawless/PA)
The Dubliners’ John Sheahan (Brian Lawless/PA)

Musician John Sheahan has been inducted into Ireland’s answer to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, celebrating decades of talent as a fiddle player.

Mr Sheahan, who is the last remaining member of The Dubliners, had his hand prints moulded which will be unveiled as a bronze cast in September.

The 80-year-old said he was “honoured” to be included in the CHOFA (Cong Hands of Fame Award) which recognises those who have made a unique contribution to Irish life.

The impressions of the poet’s hands will be unveiled in bronze on the wall beside The Quiet Man monument in Co Mayo.

Ray McHugh and Paddy Rock, organisers of Cong Festival, started the Hands of Fame four years ago.

Mr Sheahan will join other Irish names including singer Daniel O’Donnell, the late Big Tom, as well as rugby player John Muldoon and broadcaster Ryan Tubridy.

Speaking about the inspiration behind the wall, Mr McHugh said: “It started out with the John Wayne statue as we thought we wanted something to fill the area around it.

“It’s in a lovely area and it gets lots of attention so Paddy came up with the idea.”

Mr Rock said he wants to create Ireland’s version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

“We wanted to include people who have supported Ireland, it’s our way of saying thank you,” he added.

The mould print will then go back to renowned sculptor, Mark Rhodes, who is based in Co Mayo.

Mr Rock, who established the Cong Hands of Fame Award, said Mr Rhodes will then create a bronze cast of the impressions.

It will be unveiled next to musician Matt Molloy.

“We use special moulding clay and it’s very hard and heavy. It’s hard to get the imprint on,” he added.

“Mark will then heat they clay it to dry it and clean it up and then he fires up the bronze and pours it.

“The prints will go on to a circular wall that is beside the John Wayne statue.”

Speaking about the hand mould, Mr Sheahan said: “It’s a mixture of feelings, the first questions is why me? There must be millions of hands more deserving than mine.

“It’s a nice honour and interesting to think it will outlive me, this piece of bronze with my hand prints on it.

“It’s great to think I’ll be beside Matt Molloy who I admire very much as a wonderful musician.

“I am happy to to Cong.”

PA

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