JOHNNY DORAN

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Johnny Doran

Biography

Biography (Courtesy of Johnsonís Uilleann Pipe Site, 2003)

Johnny Doran grew up in Rathnew, Co. Wicklow, son of John Doran a piper. John Doran was the grandson of the famous travelling piper and horse trader John Cash. John Cash was also known as Cash the piper, and his wife, Polly Connors, was famous for her stepdancing. John Cash died in 1909 when Johnny Doran was only two years old. Cash's son, James Cash, 1853-1890, was also considered a fine piper and his sister, Margaret, was Johnny's grandmother. I received the following information from Anna Bale at the Dept. of Irish Folklore, Dublin.
Johnny taught his younger brother Felix to play also. In his early twenties Johnny embarked on the life of a Travelling piper, setting out from Dublin each spring in his horse-drawn caravan. He was married and had a rake of kids. After his accident in 1948 he was crippled from the waist down. Even still, Johnny resumed his life as a Traveller for a time after leaving hospital and went with his wife southward through Co Kildare. He was re-addmitted to hospital on Oct 27 1949 however, and died there on Jan 19th 1950. He is buried in Rathnew cemetery in Co Wicklow. The only recordings of Johnny's music in existence are 9 acetate discs made by the Irish Folklore Commission in 1947. These have been remastered and are now commercially available ["The Bunch of Keys", the complete recordings of Johnny Doran, published by Comhairle Bhealoideas Eireann, 1989?] I've taken the above info. from the very full notes that accompany the "Bunch of Keys" There was also a 2-part radio programme made about him by Jackie Small and Harry Bradshaw called "Johnny Doran: A famous piper". This was part of the series of "The Long Note" programmes on RTE Radio 1, March/April 1988. He played a concert pitch set of uilleann pipes made by Leo Rowsome.


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