James Byrne (1915 – 1980)

James Byrne

(7th March 1915 – 22nd October 1980)

James, known locally as Jim Phat James, was born in the townland of An Baile Mór but spent most of his adult life at Mín an Gaoithe in the townland of An tAtharach. As well as being an accomplished fiddler, Jim was regarded locally as a great storyteller, particularly in his native language. Some of his lore was recorded by the folklore collector, Seán Ó hEochaidh, while Ó hEochaidh was working for the Irish Folklore Commission. This collection of storytelling is housed at the National Folklore Collection in University College Dublin. Jim tended a small hill farm while also working locally as a shoemaker. In later years he played regularly with Frank Cassidy for students at the Irish college in Teileann.