Edward Byrne (1899 – 1976)


Edward Byrne, John Cunningham (Seanach) , Johnny Byrne (Edwards's son)

Edward Byrne, John Cunningham (Seanach) , Johnny Byrne (Edwards’s son)

Edward was born into a family of ten in the final year of the 19th century at An Chógais. His father, Dominic was a recognised storyteller and melodeon player, and it was from him that Edward learned much of his music. A sister of Edward’s, Ellen, also played the melodeon. More than half of the family emigrated to the USA to earn a living, though Ellen returned home as often as possible, an occasion which was celebrated through a big night of music and song. Edward was also a fine step-dancer, and he featured in the 1972 UTV documentary on the travelling fiddle player and tinsmith, John Doherty titled ‘Fiddler on the Road’ where he danced a hornpipe along with his neighbour, Paddy Brady. Many of Edward’s family were recognised as fine singers, but in particular his son, Francie. Indeed, Francie also played the bagpipes with the Saint Cartha’s Pipe Band for many years. The tradition was also passed to Edward’s youngest son, John, who picked up much of his music from John Cunningham of An Seanach. Visiting players to the Byrne house included Patrick and James Gallagher, Cró na Roda, Peter and John Cunningham of An Seanach, Kate Bonar, Iomascan and Con Sweeney of Srath Laoill Theas, a relative of the Byrnes.

Edward Byrne dancing a reel with Patrick Gallagher on fiddle Performed by Edward Byrne And Patrick Gallagher