Michael Byrne (1906 – 1993)

Mickey & Joe Byrne

Michael (Mickey), one of ten children and an elder brother to Joe, emigrated from Gleann Málainn to America in September, 1928 where he first settled in Chicago. It is believed that he travelled on the ship ‘Transylvania’ along with his brothers John, Andy and Patrick. Mickey later moved to New York where he drove a tram in the Brooklyn area. However, his trip coincided with the recession period of the early 1930s and he left America to settle in England where he met and married Bridget (née McGinley) from Na Sealbha, Cill Charthaigh. They lived at Fulham, London where they raised three of a family. While having left Ireland during hard times, Mickey sent money home to Gleann Málainn as often as possible, a normal practice for many emigrants of his generation. He maintained his Irish roots through music, reading and the Irish language. He played the fiddle regularly, especially at family gatherings, and according to the late James Byrne of Mín na Croise, Mickey was an accomplished player and particularly fond of playing jigs and reels. Mickey returned home to Gleann Málainn as often as possible, and these are remembered as happy occasions where there would be evenings of music, dance and storytelling which would last until the early hours of the morning.