President Higgins Leads The Nation with Tribute to Tony McMahon

The Late Denis McMahon, (left) with  Noel Hill and the late Tony McMahon outside Marrinan’s in Milltown Malbay during the 1997 Willie Clancy Summer School. ©Photograph: John Reidy 12-7-1997

President Michael D Higgins has led tributes to the late broadcaster and musician Tony McMahon who died yesterday at the age of 82.

Probably best remembered, outside of traditional music circles, as half of The Green Linnet duo with Barney McKenna of the RTÉ television series of a generation ago.

The two giants of Irish  music got into a small Citroen car and visited towns and cities and stopped, played and gathered a crowd around them wherever they went.

It looked idyllic and that was all we needed to know about at the time.

One of Ireland’s Iconic Presences

President Higgins said that Tony McMahon was one of Ireland’s iconic presences among musicians.

“It is with great sadness that the music community will have heard of the passing of Tony McMahon,” said President Higgins.

“Tony brought to performance in so many forms, places and venues the talent of a maestro. To hear him play ‘Port Na bPúcai’, for example, was to feel transported into another world,” he said.

Music for Radio and TV

For over three decades the Co. Clare native made music programmes for both RTÉ radio and television, including: The Long Note, The Pure Drop, and the afore mentioned series, The Green Linnet. He championed the work of dozens of other influential traditional performers and he retired from RTÉ in 1998.

His commitment to traditional music and to the friendship of his fellow musicians was full of integrity,” President Higgins said.

Slán leis an gCeol

A couple of years ago TG4 made a documentary film Slán leis an gCeol about his life and music and it will be most likely be repeated soon as an acknowledgement of his contribution to the music of his country and to his loss.

Take a look at Tony McMahon talking about the state of Irish music on the Late Late Show with Gay Byrne with a Click on the link here:

Slán leis an gCeol.

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