Peter Cunningham (1909 – 1996)
(31st August 1909 – 2nd January 1996)
Peter Cunningham, a highly regarded fiddle player and bagpiper with the Saint Cartha’s Pipe Band was born in 1909 and reared in the townland of An Seanach. He was the third youngest in a family of thirteen children, seven of whom emigrated to distant shores. Peter grew up at a time when the tradition of music, song and dance was particularly strong in his locality. Although Peter picked-up most of his music by ear, he also learned how to read music notation from Mrs. McCavitt, his schoolteacher in An Chógais. As a young man, Peter spent long periods of time in Mín na Croise in the neighbouring parish of Gleann Cholmcille where his sister, Agnes was married. While there he played regularly with many of the local players including John McGinley and Anthony Hiúdaí Byrne. Peter was also a bagpiper in the original Saint Cartha’s Pipe Band which was established in 1934 and played with them for many years. He married Theresa Boyle of Coillte Feanaid, Gleann Cholmcille and they settled in An Seanach and later in Droim Riach where they reared a family of twelve. In later years he played regularly with Francie and Mickey Byrne. Peter was recognised as a strong dance player and also for his individual style of playing. One of his favourite slow airs was ‘The Cuilfhionn’.
Liverpool Hornpipe Performed by Peter Cunningham and Con Dorrian