Joe Byrne (1914 – 1996)

Joe Byrne

Joe was the youngest of ten children born to Charlie and Bridget Byrne (nee McHugh) of Gleann Málainn. A shy, retiring man, it was in his later years that he really began to play the fiddle. He was greatly encouraged by both James Byrne, Mín na Croise and John Byrne, also of Gleann Málainn, two musicians whose playing Joe admired very much. Many happy hours were spent playing their favourite tunes in the Byrne home, where Joe spent all of his eighty two years. His older brother, Mickey who emigrated at a young age also played the fiddle, as did some other members of their family. Mickey was regarded as a good fiddler and no doubt Joe would have been influenced by him. There was always a welcome in Gleann Málainn for visiting musicians whom Joe enjoyed meeting and comparing tunes with and many nights were spent sitting around the open fire playing the fiddle and interspersing the tunes with the odd yarn. This was what the music was all about to Joe, the company and the sharing of music and stories.