Agnes Cunningham (1915 – 1997)

(1915 – 9th January 1997)

John & Agnes Cunningham

John & Agnes Cunningham

Agnes, a fiddler, was born in An Seanach in 1915, a sister to Peter and John Cunningham. The melodeon was more commonly played by women, and she was one of the few of her generation in the area who played the fiddle. It is said that she was proud of her musical ability, and visitors to the Cunningham house recall her standing up in the middle of the kitchen while playing a highland or reel. Like her brothers, she was surrounded by many fine players in the area. Agnes was also highly regarded as a whistler. In the 1940s she married Pat McGinley from the townland of Mín na Croise, Gleann Cholmcille, and it was here that the couple settled and managed a shop. Although Mín na Croise was home to a strong fiddle tradition during this period, it appears that Agnes did not play to the same extent as she did in her youth. The shop was known as a great meeting place where many local people would congregate to meet, talk and play cards. Before he married, Agnes’ brother Peter spent long periods in Mín na Croise where he played regularly with local players. Another brother, John, played the fiddle, accordion and mouth organ and remained living in the home house at An Seanach.