Con McGinley (1889 – 1974)

(2nd May 1889 – 2nd February 1974)

Con McGinley, Iomascan

Con McGinley

Con (Con Condy John Beag) was the third generation of his family to inhabit the home house at Iomascan. When he was still in his teens, Con’s older brother, James returned home from the USA with two fiddles, one for himself and one for Con. During this period, Con would walk to big nights in the area along with two younger sisters, Biddy and Cassie. They were all musical, and between the three of them they would pick up a new tune at every big night. On returning home in the early hours Con would play the tune on the fiddle in case it would be forgotten before morning. Indeed, it was at big nights that Con picked up most of his music. Later, a melodeon was sent home from Scotland, and this was Con’s instrument of choice. Throughout his life, Con played nearly every day and was also in great demand to play at big nights. He played regularly with Peter and John Cunningham of An Seanach, both of whom often visited the McGinley house to play. Con also had a gramophone, and about fifty 78 records including Michael Coleman and Jimmy Shand. On one occasion in the mid-1960s, the fiddler, Paddy Hiudaí O’Byrne of Mín na Croise visited Con for a session of music at his house in Iomascan, and this was recorded on a Grundig reel to reel machine by Con’s son, John McGinley.

‘Queen of the Fair’, jig performed by Con McGinley