DARACH O'CATHAIN

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Darach O'Cathain

Biography

Musicians of Galway: (Courtesy of The Knotted Chord Archive).

Darach O’Cathain(1922-87) Singer.

Born in Maimin, Lettermore, Conemara seventh in a family of twelve children.

He acquired many of his songs and his love of singing from his mother.

He and his family relocated to the new government created Gaeltacht of Rath Cairn, Co. Meath in 1935.

He married Brid Ni Chonaire, originally from Ros Muc in Co. Galway, who had moved to Co. Meath in 1937.

He worked as a farmer for twelve years before emigrating to England. They lived in Leeds for many years where Darach worked as a builder.

In 1975 he released an album titled "Traditional Irish Unaccompanied Singing"(Shanachie) which by wide consent is among the best sean-nos recordings ever made. His rendition of "Sail Òg Rua" particularly stands out. Darach also wrote songs from the age of twelve.

He has been an inspiration to many musicians as well as singers, including piper Neilidh Mulligan who has recorded an air from Darach’s collection.

Darach was also a partner-in-song and close friend of Seán Ó Riada.

He remains a giant of sean-nos singing and is famously quoted "When you've music in you, you're hearing music always."


A festival of sean-nós singing celebrating the life of Darach Ó Catháin is held each October in Rath Cairn. Guest sean-nós singers visit Ráth Cairn for this festival and participate in seisiúin where many of Darach's songs can be heard.




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