Brian Hegarty (1898 – 1972)

Brian Hegarty (1898 – 1972)

Brian Hegarty

Brian Hegarty

Brian Hegarty was born at Iomascan in 1898, the youngest child of Patrick and Mary Hegarty. He had four sisters and a brother, Con, who also played the fiddle. In his youth, Brian would visit various fiddle players in the Glen, and learn about technique, attack and bowing. He also taught himself to read music. Like many of his generation, Brian emigrated to the USA in 1923 and settled in Chicago. Throughout the 1920s he was employed in the meat packing houses and on the railroad. Recorded music was in its infancy during this period, and live music was in still in great demand. Brian, along with other musicians played for Saturday night dances on Chicago’s northside. He moved to New York in 1929 and married Ann Bonar, also of Iomascan. They had five children, four girls and one boy. He continued to play at parties and often learned tunes by plucking the strings lightly while holding the fiddle like a guitar so as not to disturb the neighbours. In later years his hearing failed, hampering his ability to play.