Condy Lyons (1888 – 1978)

(7th April 1888 – 15th December 1978)

Condy Lyons

Condy Lyons

Condy was one of ten siblings, born at Caiseal in 1888 to Denis and Anne Lyons (née Carr). His mother Anne (Nancy Johnny), her sister Úna (Bhán) along with their cousin, Hannah Byrne (an aunt of Francie Dearg Ó Beirn) were three highly regarded lilters of their generation and were much sought after for house dances and big nights. In Condy’s youth, the Lyons house was known as a place where travelling musicians often stayed including the Doherty’s, Friel’s and Eoghan Fheidhlimidh. They enriched the locality through their music and instrument making, a skill that they passed on to Condy. He made several fiddles from boxwood containers that he sourced at Mickey Christy Byrne’s shop in Cill Charthaigh and at least on one occasion the neck and pegs were provided by Eoghan Fheidhlimidh. In one particular bargain, Condy exchanged a fiddle he made for a donkey foal which belonged to a McBrearty man from Teileann. The foal was walked from Teileann to Caiseal before the fiddle was handed over. Another of his fiddles was in Neil Sweeney’s house in Na Curra while a third was sent to John (Neil) Doherty’s house in Cró na Roda, Gleann an Bhaile Dhuibh. The fiddle in Denis’ possession today was made by his father in 1906 and Denis also has a fiddle bow that Condy made. A younger brother, Paddy also played the fiddle, along with Condy’s brother-in-law, James McNelis of Na Curra. Condy married Maggie McNelis of Na Curra and had nine of a familiy. He was also regarded as a storyteller, an art not lost on his son, Denis, who also plays the button accordion, while Denis’ daughter, Noreen is a fine piano accordion player.