Con Dorrian (1926 – 1991)

(19th June 1926 – 25th February 1991)

Jim and Con Dorrian

Jim and Con Dorrian

Con Dorrian, from Cill Chathasaigh / Na Caislíní was a highly regarded fiddle player. His father, James, was married twice and Con and his brother, Jim, another fiddler, belonged to the second family. It is not remembered if Con played much music in his youth. In January 1942, at the age of sixteen, he took up employment with Bord na Móna, where he worked as a turf-cutter on the bogs of Kildare. It was here that he met with John Healy, a fiddle player who had a significant influence on Con’s fiddle playing. In 1948, Con emigrated to London where he met many other musicians, before returning home to Cill Charthaigh in 1952. In the late 1950s and early 1960s he played the saxophone with a popular local dance group called ‘The Melody Swingtet Band’. Con’s fiddle music was greatly influenced by the playing of Seán McGuire. He was also open to influence from other genres of music including classical and jazz. His main playing partners at the time included his brother, Jim, Peter Cunningham, Frank McHugh and more. In 1965 he met and later married Mary Byrne, and they settled in London where they remained for the next 24 years. During his second period in London, Con played regularly with Danny Meehan and Bobby Casey, both of whom visited Con at his house. Con, Mary and their family returned to live in Cill Charthaigh in 1990. They were settled a short time when Con passed away suddenly in 1991.

The Lark in the Clear Air Performed by Con Dorrian & Peter Cunningham