Peadar Ó Beirn (1900 – 1950)

Peadar Ó Beirn

Peadar Ó Beirn (Peadar Johnnie Johndie), was a lilter, singer and storyteller born and raised at Baile an tSruthain on the border of the townlands of Iomaire Mhuireanáin and An Cheapach Uachtarach. He earned his living from selling fish throughout the parish of Gleann Cholmcille, firstly with the help of a donkey and cart and in later years, a pony. Séamus Ennis recorded both lilting and story-telling from Peadar in 1949, recordings which show not only his great musicality but also his command of the Irish language. These qualities are especially evident in his renditions of ‘Taibhse Chonaill’ and ‘Báthadh Phroclaisc’. Máire Ní Bheirn, Peadar’s sister was also a fine lilter and singer and passed on much of her repertoire to Kitty ‘Seán’ Cunningham. Condy, a brother of Peadar’s, was a noted storyteller and also played the melodeon. Seán Ó hEochaidh from Cruachlann, while employed as a full-time collector with the Irish Folklore Commission, collected a wealth of material from Condy, Máire and Peadar between the 1930’s and the 1960’s.