Charlie McCahill (1895 – 1949)

Charlie McCahill (1939)

Charlie McCahill was a highly regarded fiddler with a sweet tone. He has been described as a ‘Sunday afternoon’ fiddle player and Jim Meehan, his neighbour maintained that Charlie ‘could take something out of the fiddle that nobody else could take’. Charlie learned much of his music from his neighbour, Paddy McDyer, but by all accounts he developed a different style of playing to that of the older player. Charlie’s brothers, Patrick and Connie were also fine players but they emigrated to the USA quite young and it is not known if they played there. It was common for Charlie to tune the G string down to D, so that both the third and fourth string were an octave apart. This practice was not lost on his close neighbour, Danny Meehan who as a young boy, recalls Charlie playing in the Meehan house in the period before he passed away in 1949. Charlie’s playing influenced many local players, but perhaps none more than his close neighbour, Peter Quinn.

George Williamson and Charlie O’Neill referring to Charlie McCahill. (rec. in 1985 by Marie Burns)

Danny Meehan playing the reel ‘The maid that dare not tell’, given this title by Charlie McCahill after playing it at a wedding.