Patrick Breslin (1897 – 1994)

Paddy Breslin

(16th September 1897 – 9th December 1994)

Patrick or ‘Paddy the Cooper’ as he was known locally, was born with a twin sister, Mary Ann in An Srath Buí in September 1897. Growing up there in the early twentieth century, Paddy was surrounded by many musicians of the time including Frank Heekin of An Srath Buí and Paddy Boyle of Coillte Feannaid. Con McGinley originally of Mín na Croise, recalls that one of his earliest memories was when Paddy visited his house as a fiddler with the local mummers group.* Paddy emigrated to New Zealand in the early 1920s where he spent most of his life working in a mechanics garage. He married and had a family but returned to An Srath Buí for about a year in 1963, a period during which he passed some of his own repertoire on to local fiddlers. ‘Paddy the Cooper’s highland’ is still played regularly at music sessions in south-west Donegal today.

*The mummers group performed a seasonal folk play in local houses in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

‘Paddy the Cooper’s’ Highland  performed by Breiffni & Iarla O’Donnell