George Williamson (1911 – 1992)

George was born in 1911 at Roes to George and Bridget Williamson (née Haughey). The Haughey family of Croagh outside Dunkineely were renowned musicians and George picked up much of his initial music from his mother’s side of the family. He recalled Paddy McDyer playing in the Williamson house and the Drumkeelan fiddler and stone mason, Phil McGroarty later married George’s eldest sister, Mary. George himself married Bridget Haughey of Letterfad and they had seven children. George played for big nights and dances throughout the parish with among others Thomas Doherty, Johnny Monaghan, John James Connaghan, Paddy McCahill and Dan Harvey. In the 1930s and 40s George used to earn a half crown for a night’s playing and if it was a long night he would make five shillings. When referring to Daniel Donnelly Gallagher, George mentions that ‘I spent my life about his place’, and it is clear that he held Daniel in the highest regard as a musician.

George playing ‘The Binbane Highland’ [rec. Marie Burns, 1985]

George playing a polka that he learned from his mother, Bridget [rec. Marie Burns, 1985]