Paddy Hegarty (1914 – 1996)
(1914 – 20th December 1996)
Born at An Leargaidh Mhór in 1914 to Edward and Sarah Hegarty, Paddy was one of five brothers, all of whom played the fiddle. Apart from Paddy there was Francie, Mick, John and Eddie. Tommy Meehan of Leirg an Dachtáin recalls that one of the brothers broadcast on national radio in the 1950s. A fine fiddler, Francie Hegarty died of a heart attack in 1942 aged just 26 years. The Hegarty home stood on the exact spot where the Blue Haven Restaurant is now located overlooking the Atlantic at An Leargaidh Mhór. Given its roadside location it is no surprise that the house was frequented regularly by neighbours and travellers alike, many of whom played music. Rosaleen, Paddy’s daughter relayed that visitors often stayed for several nights. Paddy himself began playing at the age of eight years and while still a teenager he relocated to Paddy ‘Doc’ Hegarty’s public house on Main Street, Killybegs. He later played with Killybegs fiddlers including Patsy McGowan and Barney Mullin and the three players often travelled to Halla Mhuire in Gleann Cholmcille to play at dances organised by Father McDyer. Paddy married Sarah Agnes Boyle in 1948 and they went on to rear eight children, many of whom played the accordion. He went to England in the late 1960s in search of work and while there for a short stint he played with his brother, John and among others, Seán McGuire. In later years he played on local radio and television in a duet with his daughter, Rosaleen who plays the piano accordion.