Paddy Breslin (1914 – 1995)

Paddy Breslin, though not widely known, was regarded by John Doherty as the sweetest player of a reel that he had heard. Paddy was a native of Leitir Mac a’Bhaird, but was hired out as a servant boy with John ‘The Tailor’ McDyer in Derries, about two miles south-west of Glenties. He was regarded as one of the family, never left, and settled into an area with a rich music tradition surrounded by older players including Frank McDyer (Frank a’Phoill) and Hugh McDyer. The most important influence on Paddy’s playing was from his close neighbour, Neil Furey a fiddle player and wool spinner who lived with his sister, Susie, a fine melodeon player. It was said that ‘many a wet day Paddy and Neil spent playing tunes together’. In a strange twist of fate, Paddy’s mother married for a second time in neighbouring Kilraine, and as a boy, Paddy used to walk the long route around to the house of another fiddler, Mary Ann Townie O’Donnell in order to visit his own mother on the way. He often frequented the dances at Joe Kennedy’s Hall in Kilraine where Paddy preferred to stay below and pick up tunes played by the band upstairs rather than enter the dance hall.