Patrick Breslin (1897-1994)

Patrick, or ‘Paddy the Cooper’ as he was known locally, was born with a twin sister Mary Ann in Straboy (An Srath Buí).  Growing up there in the early 20th century, Paddy was surrounded by many musicians of the time including Frank Heekin of Straboy and Paddy Boyle of Kiltyfanned (Coillte Feannaid) Con McGinley of Meenacross (Mín na Croise) and Cheshire in the UK  who is now in his nineties, recalls that one of his earliest memories was when Paddy visited his house as a fiddler with the local mummers group.  The mummers group performed a seasonal folk play in local houses in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  Paddy emigrated to New Zealand in the early 1920s where he spent most of his life working as a car mechanic.  He married and had a family but returned to Straboy for about a year in 1963, a period when he played with local fiddlers and indeed passed on some of his own tunes.  ‘Paddy the Cooper’s highland’ is still played regularly at music sessions in south west Donegal today.

Paddy The Cooper’s Highland, played by Breiffni & Iarla O’Donnell