Phonsie Boyle

Alphonsus, or Phonsie, a younger brother of John James was also a fiddle player. He played regularly with Jack McElroy for dances in An Caiseal National school in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s. Phonsie was married to Doora Doyle, the daughter of a lighthouse keeper who settled in the area in the early part of the twentieth century. A diary entry records that Phonsie bought his fiddle on 20th November 1912. He later migrated to County Galway where he worked with the Electricity Supply Board and performed regularly with a céilí band. A highland associated with Phonsie has been passed to the younger generation by James Byrne and is still played in south-west Donegal. The music tradition of Gleann Málainn was particularly strong in Phonsie’s generation, with other players such as Lucy O’Gara and her brother Con Cunningham on melodeon, James and Connie Boyle on fiddle and two sets of brothers – Mickey and Joe Byrne and John and Mickey Byrne (The Miners) on fiddle.