Joseph Mac a’Luain (b. ca.1938)

Joe Mac a’Luain as a boy seated front row with a group from the Croaghs. Mickey Doherty can be seen holding the fiddle back left. © National Folklore Collection

The influence of the Doherty clann on the cultural life, trade and music of the Bluestack Mountains cannot be overstated. John and Mickey Doherty were accommodated in many houses on their visits to the area, but perhaps most frequently at Eoghan Mhichíl Mac a’Luain’s in Cruach Mhín an Fheannta. It is said that John Doherty stayed in Eoghan Mhichíl’s for an extended period over the harsh winter of 1946 – 1947. His music was not lost on Joseph (Joe Bheag) Mac a’Luain who was a young boy of about 10 years at the time. In Joe’s youth there were about twenty seven occupied houses in the Croaghs and he witnessed severe depopulation of the area in the second half of the 20th century. Joe later played regularly with Pádraig Mac a’Luain, a fine accordion player from further up the valley in the Croaghs. They broadcast as a duet on Raidió na Gaeltachta as part of a  programme about the Croaghs.