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Tony MacMahon - the man from Clare

President leads tributes to the late great Tony

PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins led the tributes to legendary musician, broadcaster and producer Tony McMahon who has died at the age of 82.
The acclaimed accordion player was the son of PJ and Kitty McMahon and grew up in the Turnpike, Ennis.
Tony was described as “one of Ireland’s iconic presences among musicians” by President Higgins who noted the “great sadness” of the music community on hearing of his passing.
“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,” said the president.
“His commitment to traditional music and to the friendship of his fellow musicians was full of integrity.
“On behalf of Sabina and myself, agus mar Uachtarán na hÉireann on behalf of the people of Ireland, may I send my deepest condolences to Tony’s family and friends, and to the wider music community at home and abroad. Suaimhneas síoraí.”
East Clare fiddle player, Martin Hayes, sharing a message on social media commented, “The great Tony McMahon has passed away. In his lifetime he played some of the most powerful traditional music ever played.
“For me he will always be one of the truly great musicians of all time. His music was as deep, soulful and passionate as one could ever ask to hear.
“I owe a him a tremendous amount, he encouraged and inspired me from a very young age. Traditional Irish music has lost a giant figure. RIP Tony.”
Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy stated, “Tony has left a great legacy to the Irish people from his outstanding work on radio and television since the early seventies.
“He has produced and presented the finest of programmes such as ‘‘Ag Déanamh Ceól’’ ‘‘The Long Note’’ ‘‘The Pure Drop’’ to name but a few.
“Tony gave countless opportunities to musicians from all over to perform on both television and radio especially genuine carriers of the tradition of all ages.
“He was also an outstanding accordion player in the lovely old style of the late Joe Cooley and he recorded many albums.
“He has always been proud of his Clare roots and was forever a great friend and supporter of Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy.
“The school paid a special tribute to Tony at the 2019 Summer School where his friends and fellow musicians gathered to celebrate his great musical life.
“We would like to pass on deepest condolences to Tony’s family. Go ndéana Dia grásta air.”
The Irish Cultural Centre Hammersmith recalled how Tony, who they described as “one of Ireland’s great traditional musicians”, had played there several times.
“Tony was such a beautiful, kind and vibrant soul and to meet him and to get the chance to be in his presence was a true gift and one you’d never forget.”
The Clare County Board of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann offered its “deepest condolences to the McMahon family on Tony’s passing”.
“He was a wonderful gifted musician, who will be sadly missed. Solas na Solas na bhflaitheas agus leaba i measc na naomh. Ní Bheidh a Leithéid Ann aris.”
Due to current government advice regarding public gatherings, a private remembrance service, limited in numbers, will be held on Sunday, at 1.30pm in the Unitarian Church, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin. Those who would have liked to attend the service, but cannot, may view the service on web link https://www.dublinunitarianchurch.org/webcam/ .

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