Conall Mac a’Luain (1888-1892)

Conall Mac a’Luain (Conall Eoghain Phádraig) was born into a family of ten children in the heart of the Bluestack Mountains at Cruach Mhín an Fheannta in 1888. The Croaghs area was heavily populated in the late 19th century with up to thirty homesteads, most of whom had large families. Descendants of Conall, along with many others from the area originally migrated west from County Tryone in the 18th and early 19th centuries and survived primarily through sheep farming, a livelihood at which they were particularly adept. Seán Ó hEochaidh, working as full-time collector with the Irish Folklore Commission first visited the area in 1947, and was overwhelmed by the extent and range of lore and traditional song that he discovered. One of the homes in which he, and fellow collector, Séamas Ó Catháin spent considerable time was Eoghan Phádraig’s Mac a’Luain. They were particularly drawn to Pádraig Mac a’Luain, Conall’s older brother.  Conall played the fiddle but was better known as a great step dancer, an art that he picked up from an older dancer in the locality, Dan Breslin. When the Irish Folklore Commission recorded Mickey Doherty at Eoghan Mhichíl Mac a’Luain’s house in February 1949, Conall was invited to dance on two tracks, The Maggie Pickie and The Fisher’s Hornpipe.

The Fisher’s Hornpipe played by Mickey Doherty

© National Folklore Collection