The World of Paddy Murphy

Goin' on Cuaird to Hughdie's

For much of his life, Hughdie Doohan was a familiar figure traveling the roads and byroads of Connolly on horseback. He was the local postman, a calling that, prior to the arrival of the post van, required the use of a common bicycle and a fit pair of legs. Hughdie, however, had 'a lame step' and found the cooperation of a well-trained pony more amenable to his needs. He lived in the village of Connolly, a moniker that bore no resemblance to the village's older placename Fiach Rua. Hughdie's house was a well-known place of cuaird (visiting) for the card players, musicians and set dancers of the area. Apart from his lively sense of wit, Hughdie was remembered as a literate man of music in a milieu where most musicians learned to play by ear. One of his prized possessions was a copy of O'Neill's 1001 Gems published in 1907, which Hughdie poured over nightly and passed on its contents to an eager congregation of oral learners.

The nocturnal scene in Doohan's kitchen during the long nights of winter prior to the arrival of electricity must have resembled a hedge school with Hughdie holding court between O'Neill and his scholars. Paddy Murphy recalled that: 'Hughdie used to sit down like any good schoolmaster with the oil lamp in front of him on the table. The book would be taken down and Hughdie's fiddle tuned to perfection. He would read the music then from O'Neill's book and, according as Hughdie read them, we learned them off. He was a mighty man for strange and new tunes. It was from Hughdie that we got Kit O'Mahony's Jig, The Flax in Bloom, The Maid of Feakle, The Northern Lassies and loads more. None of them tunes were ever heard of around here until Hughdie started to read them off of the book. Hughdie himself was a great solid player and a great man to play with. Very perfect, great tone and bow hand, perfect tuning and all that.'

The People:

Paddy Murphy

Peadar O'Loughlin

Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin

Tom Eustace

The Place:

Maps of Clare

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The Music:

The World of Paddy Murphy

The Irish Concertina

Music News of the Time

Other Sites of Interest:

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Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin

The World of Paddy Murphy

An essay by:

Dr. Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin, MBA, Ph.D.
Smurfit Stone Professor of Irish Studies & Professor of Music
Center for International Studies, University of Missouri-St. Louis

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