The World of Paddy Murphy

The First All Ireland Concertina Champion

In 1954, two events coincided to bring Paddy Murphy's music to a national audience. In Cavan town in May 1954, Paddy became the first concertina player to win an All Ireland title at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. Later, on that same occasion, his winning tunes were recorded by Seán Mac Réamoinn and broadcast on Radio Éireann a few weeks later. The effect of hearing his own music 'played back' for the first time left a lasting impression on Murphy. His victory was followed by other successes. He won All Ireland concertina titles in Loughrea, Co. Galway in 1955, in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford in 1957 and Longford in 1958. He and his cohort Peadar O'Loughlin won All Ireland duet titles that same year in Longford and in Boyle, Co. Roscommon in 1960. One of Ireland's most celebrated musical partnerships, they won Oireachtas na Gaeilge titles during the same period and were recorded on many occasions for Radio Éireann by Ciarán Mac Mathúna. Since the 1950s, Murphy's music received widespread acclaim in Ireland and abroad. He performed at concerts, workshops and arts festivals, and was particularly interested in Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy where he was featured every year as part of the concertina recital. His house in Bealcragga was frequented by concertina enthusiasts from Europe and America. Despite his unease with microphones, he agreed to record a few tunes for Neil Wayne that were featured on the LP Irish Traditional Concertina Styles issued by Topic/Free Reid in 1977. That same year, Paddy Murphy and Peadar O'Loughlin along with Paul Davis were invited to West Germany, where they performed for university and public audiences. This was at the height of the European folk boom, which had a major long-term impact on Irish traditional music.

The People:

Paddy Murphy

Peadar O'Loughlin

Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin

Tom Eustace

The Place:

Maps of Clare

Map of the Parish

The Music:

The World of Paddy Murphy

The Irish Concertina

Music News of the Time

Other Sites of Interest:

Celtic Crossings

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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Funding for the Paddy Murphy website was graciously provided
by a generous grant from the Irish Arts Council.