Peadar O'Loughlin, Fiddler, Flute Player, Uilleann Piper

'Gradam Saoil' TG4

Fiddler, flute player and uilleann piper, Peadar O'Loughlin has been a seminal figure in Irish tra-ditional music for over a half a century. Associated with Willie Clancy, Seán Reid and Paddy Murphy, Peadar O'Loughlin was born on 6 November 1929 in the same house in Kilmaley, Co. Clare where he lives today. His home was visited frequently by traveling musicians and dancing masters, not least, Pat Barron, the last of the traveling dancing masters to teach in Clare during the 1930s. Peadar's father was a flute player and fiddler in the West Clare style and also played the Anglo German concertina. Peadar's mother also played concertina but as he points out with only slight exaggeration, 'Every woman in West Clare played the concertina in those days'.

Peadar was the second youngest of thirteen children. All of his brothers and one sister played traditional music and Peadar himself learned fiddle and flute. He added uilleann pipes to his mu-sical roster after Tulla Céilí Band pianist and piper Seán Reid presented him with an Egan set as a wedding present. This historic set of pipes once belonged to Brother Gildas O'Shea, a cele-brated piper and collector of uilleann pipes.

In 1958, after the breakup of the local Fiach Roe Céilí Band, Peadar joined the Tulla Céilí Band. His legendary duet with Clare concertina master Paddy Murphy won a record number of flead-hanna and Oireachtas titles. In 1960, he recorded All-Ireland Champions with Paddy Canny, PJ Hayes and Bridie Lafferty, one of the first LP recordings of Irish music, which today is consid-ered a classic exposé of regional styles in Irish traditional playing. Shortly afterwards, uilleann piper and traditional music scholar Brendán Breathnach recruited him to make Spól, a six-track duet collaboration with East Galway fiddler Aggie White that has since become a much sought after collector's item. In 1968, Peadar joined the Inis Cealtra Quartet, alongside fiddle virtuosos Paddy Canny and Séamus Connolly, accordionist Paddy O'Brien, and pianist George Byrt.

His fiddling is featured prominently on the Southwest Wind, a 1989 duet recording with Dublin uilleann piper, Ronan Browne. Peadar's most recent recording The Thing Itself with Maeve Don-nelly (on the Claddagh label) has been lauded as a classic masterpiece of traditional duet playing.

A master teacher at the Willie Clancy Summer School in Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare, Peadar has toured extensively in Europe and North America - most recently at Boston College and the Uni-versity of Missouri-St. Louis. In 2005, he was awarded a Gradam Saoil (Lifetime Achievement) Award from TG4, in recognition of his immense contributions to Irish traditional music and cul-ture since the 1940s.

Select Discography:

  • All Ireland Champions- Violin (Shamrock Records, 1959: Reissued: Shanachie 2001)
  • The Southwest Wind with Ronan Browne (Claddagh Records, 1988)
  • Touch Me If You Dare with Ronan Browne (Claddagh Records, 2002)
  • The Thing Itself with Maeve Donnelly (Claddagh Records, 2004)
  • Paddy Murphy - In Good Hands (Celtic Crossings, 2007)
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

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Other Sites of Interest:

Celtic Crossings

Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin

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