The Late Seán Tyrrell, Singer / Songwriter, Dooneen, Burren, Co. Clare

Outside Fagin’s / Hartnett’s Bar during a break in the Saturday afternoon traditional singing session at the 2018 Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival in Castleisland were: Tim Dennehy, Deirdre Scanlon, Seán Garvey, Mickey MacConnell and Seán Tyrrell, RIP.                                                                              ©Photograph: John Reidy 27-10-2018

Death has claimed yet another of Ireland’s great musical heroes in recent times with the passing of singer/ songwriter, Seán Tyrrell of Dooneen, Burren, Co. Clare and formerly of Palmyra Park, Galway.

He is survived by his wife Connie, sons Benji and Cíarán, daughters Áine, Lilia and Róisín, sister Mary Corless, grandchildren Olivia, Conor, Taylor, Kailani, Cian, Avery, Tullan, Reegan, Brinley and Siena, nieces, nephews, relatives, neighbours and many friends.

Reposed at his home on Monday afternoon and his funeral Mass in St. Patrick’s Church, New Quay today, Tuesday at 1pm followed by burial in adjoining cemetery. The Mass will be live-streamed on

In Castleisland for 2018 Festival

Fans of Seán Tyrrell in this locality got a chance to see him in the flesh when he took part in the singing session at Fagin’s Bar during the Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival in October 2018. He was joined on the singing panel that day by: Tim Dennehy, Sean Garvey, Mickey MacConnell and Deirdre Scanlon.

He also appeared on stage at the River Island Hotel on the following Sunday night at the festival concert.

The Blue / Green Bangle

A mention of Seán Tyrrell’s name will often draw the response: ‘The Blue / Green Bangle’ which was the title of one of his most popular songs.

But he has left a legacy of creativity and fine music that demands a closer look at his catalogue.

Seán Tyrrell is widely revered as one of the finest interpreters of song and a native of the Burren in Co. Clare in the west of Ireland. He took his time before committing himself to record his first solo album.

New York in 1968

He emigrated to New York in 1968 and put together a band Apples In Winter and recorded an album in 1974.

He later moved to San Francisco and began a solo career where he rubbed shoulders with some of the greats of the folk scene.

Eventually he tired of the road. Now having a young son and returning to Ireland in the late seventies he continued to work at his music, but seldom played professionally.

All of his time off the road had led to a huge catalogue of new material that he was now anxious to record.

Cúirt An Mheán Oíche

It was during this time in his hide away in Clare that he first encountered, since his school days the amazing, forward thinking 18th century poem for all ages Cúirt An Mheán Oíche / The Midnight Court by Brian Merriman, translated by David Marcus.

It fascinated him – all 1,206 lines of it.

He set it to music and approached the renowned Druid Theatre Galway with the idea of putting it on as traditional opera with a cast of ten musicians and singers.

Acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Regarded by the critics as the hit of the Galway Arts Festival when Druid staged his idea / opera in 1992. It went on to tour Ireland with more than 100 performances and in 2008 Seán took a two-man version to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to critical acclaim.

In 2012 it was staged for the first time in San Francisco as a solo piece.
Cry of A Dreamer his first solo project recorded on his own label Longwalk Music was voted Best Folk Album of the Year by both Folk Roots and Hotpress.

Michael Hartnett’s Poem

In 1999 he released his much anticipated second solo effort, The Orchard and again, this met with great critical acclaim and was voted Best Overall Folk Act and the readers of Irish Music Magazine voted it Best Folk Album.
It was Michael Hartnett’s poem Belladonna in the Bar that gave him the title for his third CD Belladonna.

On the back of this album he provided the music for a documentary on the life and work of Michael Hartnett A Necklace Of Wrens.

Poetry of Francis Ledwidge
He was invited by the curator of the Ypres museum Pete Chielans to set to music the poetry of Francis Ledwidge killed in the First World War. He collaborated with international musicians on Songs of Peace and recorded and performed them at concerts over two nights at Passendale cathedral. This was later released as a CD.
A decade or so and three solo CDs later, Seán launched in Ireland Rising Tide – The Collection. This comprised 16 tracks including a blend of familiar favourites and seven new tracks.

Life of John Boyle O’Reilly

Message Of Peace A double CD on the life of one of Ireland’s unsung heroes John Boyle O’Reilly was launched at The Galway Arts Festival in 2009 and toured extensively around Ireland.

It also toured the USA on two occasions with grant assistance from the Irish Arts Council and Culture Ireland.
Albums were now coming fast and furious with his release in 2011 of And So the Story Goes with Kevin Glackin renowned fiddler and Ronan Browne Piper of Riverdance and Afro Celts fame.

That’s a legacy anyone could and should be proud of. May God be good to him.

Have a listen to the power of Seán Tyrrell in his prime with a click on the link here:

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