Southern Inishowen

Pat Mulhern

Pat Mulhern’s earlist recallection of musicians was from his uncle James Mulhern who learnt the fiddle from a man called Neil Mc Kinney who lived in Owenboy. Pat Mulhern learnt a lot of his music from his uncle James and also got lessons on how to read music from a man called Anderson who worked in the train station house in Ballymagan. Pat Mc Donald was a travelling travelling fiddle player who made a huge impression at fair days throughout Inishowen. Pat Mc donald was also the noted fiddler that played at the quayside in Derry when people were leaving for America. Other musicians who played at events throughout Buncrana were Jimmy Donaghy Meentahaillie, Manny and Paddy Grant, all accordion players who played in Illies Hall. Also noted were Peter Mc Gowan a barber and fiddle player Buncrana, Sonny Donaghy accordion, and Willie Doherty (Gill) who was the leader of the Kinnego Flute Band. Paddy Kelly from the Illies in buncrana was also a noted piano accordion player and accompanied Dinny Mc Laughlin to perform throughout the North West.

The Buncrana Céilí Band

The Buncrana Ceili band was formed in the early 1950s and members included Joe Mc Laughlin(Dick) on accordion, Pat Mulhern, Dinny Mc Laughlin, and John Mc Cracken all played fiddles. Johnny Doherty played drums and Sadie Cutliffe played piano; later Rita Cutliffe joined the band on piano.

Dinny Mc Laughlin

In Buncrana and the Inishowen area in general no one has made as much of a contribution to traditional music and danncing as much as Dinny Mc laughlin (white harra). Dinny began teaching in 1958 at the age of 23 and continued for over 40 years. During his period of teaching Dinny taught in nearly every primary school in Inishowen producing many fine musicians. Dinny produced many groups for fleadh competition and through Craobh na h-Inse CCE his groups won All-Ireland titles concecutavely in the late 1970s-80s. Solo musicians who credit Dinny’s for his teaching include, Jimmy Mc Bride, Ciaran Tourish, Liz Doherty, Mairead Mooney, Michael Carey, Teresa Mc Clure (nee Doherty), Brenda Barron, Roisin Mc Grory (nee Harrigan).

Teresa Mc Clure, a pupil of Dinny Mc Laughlin from Desertegney has carried on the great work of Dinny Mc Laughlin over the past 30 years. Teresa an accomplished musician herself won many All-Ireland titles in both piano accordion and piano.

Other Southern Inishowen Musicians

Jimmy Mc Bride (singer) a native of Gaoth Dobhair moved to Buncrana in the 60s. Jimmy has made a major contribution to traditional singing in Inishowen setting up The Inishowen singer’s Circle in 1988.

Other musicians to note from Buncrana area are Michael Gallinagh, Michael and Paul Rodden, the late PV O Donnell and Oliver O’ Donnel Buncrana. Over the years Buncrana has seen many musicians move to live in the area among them are  Tom Byrne, Jim Woods, and Keenan Barret.

Around the Burnfoot area Pat Arbuckle who passed on his music to his son John Arbuckle a fine piano accordion player. Paddy Hegarty also passed on his music to son Willie John Hegarty a noted fiddle player and with their good friend Benny Deehan on piano accordion they formed the Boys of the Hill Ceili band. The band played at ceili dances around Inishowen and Derry. Jimmy Duirnian from Inch Island was also a gifted fiddler and played often with Pat Mulhern. Jimmy formed the Inch ceili band with Annie (Nurse) Kelly on fiddle, ….