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2023 Obit: Seamus O Beaglaioch aka Begley

Felipa 20 Feb 23 - 08:57 PM
Felipa 20 Jan 23 - 06:16 PM
Felipa 15 Jan 23 - 07:42 PM
GUEST,Jim Martin 15 Jan 23 - 04:35 AM
Felipa 14 Jan 23 - 08:49 PM
pattyClink 13 Jan 23 - 07:11 PM
Felipa 13 Jan 23 - 02:39 PM
Felipa 12 Jan 23 - 05:26 PM
Felipa 12 Jan 23 - 11:32 AM
Waddon Pete 12 Jan 23 - 10:44 AM
Felipa 12 Jan 23 - 10:36 AM
Felipa 11 Jan 23 - 02:09 PM
Felipa 10 Jan 23 - 09:55 AM
Felipa 10 Jan 23 - 09:45 AM
Felipa 10 Jan 23 - 09:42 AM
GUEST,Jim Martin 10 Jan 23 - 04:01 AM
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Subject: RE: 2023 Obit: Seamus O Beaglaioch aka Begley
From: Felipa
Date: 20 Feb 23 - 08:57 PM

an article about Seamus Ó Beaglaioch relatively early in his days as a performer (1998)

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Subject: RE: 2023 Obit: Seamus O Beaglaioch aka Begley
From: Felipa
Date: 20 Jan 23 - 06:16 PM

tribute from musician Sharon Shannon on her facebook page, 15 Jan 2023

Jounalist Barry Egan asked me to send him my thoughts about the great Seamus Begley for an article that he was writing for today's Sunday Independent.
I wrote it with the intention of trying to describe Séamus to anyone who wasn't lucky enough know him or his music. It's an impossible task but here is my attempt, (the unedited version) accompanied by this gorgeous photo of Séamus and Mary on their wedding day.
I'm still trying to process the sudden loss of Séamus so I don't feel that I have the words yet (or maybe never) to explain the enormity of his sad departure.
I went down to Dingle for 3 days in advance of the funeral. People were paying homage to the King from dawn to dusk by playing his tunes and singing his songs and telling funny stories. There were very many tears shed by heartbroken friends and family, but also very many tears of laughter. Séamus was an amazing man to cheer people up in sad times, and for us, reminiscing about all the great and funny times we had with him was massively therapeutic.
To just tell any one story alone wouldn't do him justice. Unless a person was there to witness the atmosphere in Dingle for the past week, or to have been in the company of the great man himself, it's impossible to explain how fantastic it was to spend time with him.
He was the life and soul of every session in which he ever played. He was a powerhouse of a musician. He was like a stick of dynamite, he'd lift the roof off any house or pub session or Concert hall with the atmosphere that he created. He had audiences all over the World in the palm of his hand with his magic and he instigated pure madness and wildness in everybody that surrounded him.
Everywhere he went was a big party and nobody was excluded. He always sat in a session facing his audience and making everybody in the room feel welcome. He was extremely generous with his music and his kindness and he was exactly the same with a 90 year old person as he would be with a small child. There was never any generation gap with him.
He himself never seemed to get old. Even if he lived to be 100, he would still have been a young fella at heart.
In contrast to his powerful accordion playing and the madness and mayhem that he would instill all around him, as soon as he opened his mouth to sing, people were instantly stopped in their tracks, mesmerised, and you would hear a pin drop in the venue, whether it was The National Concert hall or in his beloved Nelligans pub in Dingle. He was the most magical, beautiful, gentle and effortless singer that I ever heard. He had an amazing memory for words and he seemed to know almost every song that was ever written, whether it was a sean nós song or his incredible interpretations of everything and anything from Elvis to John Denver and Gordon Lightfoot. He was always bursting into song mid-conversation. Music was like his second language.
Speaking of language, Irish was his prefered choice. He was more comfortable speaking Irish (which was his first language) and it was really beautiful to listen to him speaking and singing 'as gaeilge'.
He was absolutely brilliant craic, a pure tonic. He was the funniest person I ever met in my life.
He was full of devilment and mischief. He was incredibly quick witted and he'd have you crying laughing, belly laughing for hours. And as well as him being super fast with 'off the cuff' wit, he had what seemed like an endless supply of absolutely hilarious Limericks and jokes and funny yarns.
The best times that I've ever had throughout my whole life were always in his company.
He has left a huge legacy of music and songs and stories for future generations to enjoy.
He was immensely proud of of his gorgeous family and he idolised them and vice versa.
Anybody that was lucky enough to have been in his company is blessed. He was a true legend (for want of a better word).
We all absolutely adored him. We treasured every second and never took him for granted.
Farewell Seamus, we will cherish your memory until we meet again at the big party in the sky.

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Subject: RE: 2023 Obit: Seamus O Beaglaioch aka Begley
From: Felipa
Date: 15 Jan 23 - 07:42 PM

the funeral video has also been posted on youtube

Kerry Newsletter
One last round of tunes rings out as Séamus Ó Beaglaoich is laid to rest
Tadhg Evans    January 14 2023

A requiem, of course, for Séamus Ó Beaglaoich, but also for a chapter in Irish music history more than 60 years in the writing and always elegantly put together.

Séipéal na Carraige, made of 19th-Century red sandstone, was built for a different time, but it was also built for a different occasion, packed as it was on Saturday between late morning and early afternoon as people pushed in to say goodbye to Séamus, whose music delighted the public for six decades of his 73-year life.

It was not always a typical Funeral but entirely appropriate in this very special context. Song and traditional music flowed freely at points in the ceremony, though one spell stood tall from the rest: accordions, guitars, banjos, harp, fiddle sounded at once from all sides and corners of the Church after midday as the Funeral Mass drew to an end. The only regret was that Séamus, surely for the first time, was there but did not join in.

Copies of the Farmers Journal and an accordion were brought to the Altar before Fr Eoghan Ó Cadhla as symbols of Séamus’ love of farming and music respectively. There was a phone, as well – to represent the many calls he made to arrange gigs, whether in Dingle or Glastonbury – and a picture of his immediate family.

His four children – Breanndán, Eoin, Niall, and Méabh – took it in turns to share anecdotes and memories of their dad before Séamus was brought from the Church to his burial place, Reilig Cill Chuáin. Méabh read out a ‘Litir ón Leanbh’ (A Letter from the Child), which went as follows when translated from the Corca Dhuibhne Irish favoured for most of the ceremony:

“Do you remember our summers heading up the hill?
The little rabbits rambling in the late evening chill,
Under a hazy twilight, with the purple-painted sky,
Barely keeping up with you, I'd scurry along by your side.

“You'd come home from gig or farm and I'd run into your arms,
You wide-eyed rogue, you gentle giant of fun, love and charm,
A song for every name and place you’d sing on the tractor mór,
You’d get back home and off we’d go on a musical mystery tour.

“Sweet tunes from our hearts they did ring,
‘The little rabbit, where is he Dad?’, ‘Don't mind him, he's only hiding’,
In the old Ford we drove around a little world in our own time,
So here’s to you, save me a seat beside you in the Síbín in the sky.

“Goodbye my teacher, my friend, my Dad.”

Séamus is survived by his wife, Máire; children, Breanndán, Eoin, Niall, and Méabh; grand-daughter, Aibhín; and siblings Máire, Eibhlín, Seosaimhín, Caitlín, Bríde, Micheál, and Breanndán. He is predeceased by his brother, John.

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Subject: RE: 2023 Obit: Seamus O Beaglaioch aka Begley
From: GUEST,Jim Martin
Date: 15 Jan 23 - 04:35 AM

video link of the funeral service.

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Subject: RE: 2023 Obit: Seamus O Beaglaioch aka Begley
From: Felipa
Date: 14 Jan 23 - 08:49 PM

re my message of 13 Jan:

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Subject: RE: 2023 Obit: Seamus O Beaglaioch aka Begley
From: pattyClink
Date: 13 Jan 23 - 07:11 PM

Thank you for curating these wonderful links, Felipa. Seamus' music is new to me. Kicking myself for not discovering him decades ago.

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Subject: RE: 2023 Obit: Seamus O Beaglaioch aka Begley
From: Felipa
Date: 13 Jan 23 - 02:39 PM

There is an ongoing "go fund me" collection organised by the Ó Beaglaíoch family for Séamus' sister Eibhlín, whose house was destroyed by fire in August 2022. Donating to this fund could be a thing to do in honour of the late Séamus Ó Beaglaioch. The family did a fundraising concert in Dingle for her in Sept. Eibhlín is also known as a singer, but the only recording I find information about is

The funeral mass for Séamus Ó Beaglaioch is scheduled for 11 am Sat 14 Jan. at Séipéal na Carraige followed by burial in Cill Chuáin Cemetery. The funeral mass will be streamed on the facebook page of Raidió na Gaeltachta.

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Subject: RE: 2023 Obit: Seamus O Beaglaioch aka Begley
From: Felipa
Date: 12 Jan 23 - 05:26 PM

Ciarán Ó Maonaigh's weekly programme on Raidió na Gaeltachta, Ceol a' Ghleanna (music of the glen) tonight also featured Séamus Ó Beaglaíoch. I expect more extended tributes will be heard on the folk and traditional music programmes on BBC Radio Ulster and RTÉ Radio 1 this weekend.

For the edification and interest of those who are less familiar with the music of the Ó Beaglaíoch family, when we send condolences to Seamus' people, these include

sister Seosaimhín singing (accompanied by nephew Cormac)
singing Cailín na n-urla donn, macaronic song

Máire playing piano accordian along with Séamus in 1987

brother Breandán playing the melodeon
speaking about music and the sea discussion re land and language

nephew Cormac

Cormac along with Séamus' son Eoin
(studio guests of Liam Ó Maoinlaigh)

Séamus' daughter Maebh
playing melodeon

I think all of Séamus and Breandán's progeny play music.

I also found videos of Máire Úna Ní Bheaglaoich busking; I think she is a cousin.

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Subject: RE: 2023 Obit: Seamus O Beaglaioch aka Begley
From: Felipa
Date: 12 Jan 23 - 11:32 AM

a post on Damien Dempsey's facebook page:

An Ard Ri of mighty west Kerry has passed over the great divide my friends, Seamus O'Beaglaoich, one of the greatest singers to ever lift an audience towards the heavens with the sweetest most beautifully toned singing voice I ever heard on a man, and with his majestic soul-filled ceol, and that box playing from the heavens, and the intuitive lightning fast Kerry wit and his way with the English language you could tell was rooted in his wonderful Gaeilge, as native speakers of the Gaeilge tend to speak a far more poetic version of English than anyone else in my experience.

I can safely say, ní bheidh a leithead aris ann, we won’t see his likes again.

I had the honour of singing with the great man manys the time, even though I haven’t got the best of voices he saw something genuine in me, and saw I sang with every fiber of my being, and I’m very grateful for the opportunities that I had to sing with him, and he gave me great encouragement, and I sat at his feet in awe, and learned so much and felt encouraged, enamoured, and mistified by his example.

I was chuffed to be asked to duet with him on his incredibly beautiful and mighty album 'The Bold Kerryman', that he made with our brother the mighty John Reynolds, and he sang then on my album Union, and I learned a lot about tenderness and being a big strong fella but baring your soul and soft side in a song.

I first met the mighty Seamus in John Reynolds house in Kilburn.
I heard a thick Kerry accent roar 'geehup', and I looked around to see a mountain of a man twenty feet away across the garden hoist up a massive piano accordion and hurl it at me. It hit me square in the chest and I thankfully held onto it and didn't drop it.

I asked him later on that night, is that how folks say hello in West Kerry? Turf a large accordion at you?
'Only if they like the look of you,' he says.

It was John Reynolds 50th birthday that night and Seamus sang a song for him as Gaeilge in the early hours and his voice sounded thousands years old, like it had been steeped in Kerry honey since before the De Danann landed.

It sounded like the sun lighting up the passage grave in Newgrange on the solstice, the soul of his ancestors rang true and clear in his ancient breath when he sang, and he was there in the song, he felt the ancestors pain, or joy, or anger and anguish, he could transport himself back in time to the songs true events, he felt it deeply, so beautiful to witness a singer doing this, draíocht [magic].

Whenever I was down on the Dingle peninsula, if he wasn't off touring, he would insist on driving me to Farranfore airport when I was leaving, and we'd talk deep as the Atlantic and when he'd drop me at the airport, he'd get his accordion out of the back of the motor and play and sing me a farewell tune, thats Gaelic Ireland, that's the old warmth, the draíocht, go hiontach ar fad, majestic.

I recall being in an ale house somewhere in Dingle in the early hours of the morning, with Seamus and his great pal Lawrence Courtney, another great singer, and the legend Pauline Scanlon, and we were singing a few songs, and i sang a Pecker Dunne song, and Lawrence said 'I know where the Pecker is living these days, he's up by Killimer in Clare', and Seamus says, 'we should go up and drop in to the Pecker to say hello.'

I thought nothing more of it till I gets woken out of my slumber at midday, someone’s banging down my hotel door. I hauled myself up and opened the door and Seamus is standing there fresh as a daisy, he'd been drinking water the night before, and he says, in a thick Dublin accent, 'are ye bleeding right or wha, we're going to find the Pecker.'

I was a big fan of Pecker so I got dressed in a flash and off we went tearing up over the Conor pass on the way to Tarbert and the broad majestic Shannon. I was texting the mighty Declan O'Rourke who wanted to meet up that day in Kerry and was on his way.

I told him, change of plan man, Seamus and myself and going to find the Pecker Dunne. Declan says 'I'm coming!!!,' so he met us at Tarbert on the Shannon and the three of us got into Seamus's van and got on the ferry to the Banner
We then drove towards the directions that Lawrence had given us (Pauline and Lawrence were busy that day otherwise they'd have been there) and got a bit lost, so we stopped a man at the side of the road to ask directions.

Seamus pulled up and said to him, 'I've two very famous men here from Dublin, Declan O'Rourke and Damien Dempsey, and were looking for the Pecker Dunnes house'.

The man looked at me and Declan and says, 'I've never heard of these two lads but you're Seamus Begley aren't you; me and my family are all huge fans, you're the best singer we've ever heard, and your box playing beats the band, the Peckers house is a right at the white cottage, and the second boreen you see, take that past the woods till you can go no further and he's on the right'.

We got to this white cottage with turf smoke curling out of it, and weren't sure we were where we needed to be, and we got out of the van and i hear a fiddle, i says to the lads, that's Pecker, no one ever played the fiddle like him , and we walked around the back of the cottage and sure enough, standing at the half door is the bould Pecker Dunne, playing the fiddle out into the ether, and we says howaya Pecker, and he's a bit wary, and we tell him who we are and we're all huge fans and just wanted to say hello, and were invited in for tea, with his lovely wife and beautiful family who arrive after a phonecalll, and we have an oul singsong.

Pecker couldn't sing because of a tracheotomy , but he played a little and told stories which was brilliant.

He knew Seamus and had a great chat about the old days and old players and fairs and the old ways, he didn't know me and Declan, but we sang a few of his songs to him and he had tears in his eyes, and his wife turned to us and told us that he hadn't picked up the fiddle in a year, and picked it up around thirty minutes before we arrived and went to the back half door and played it. He knew we were coming i reckon. And he passed over the great divide a few months later.
That was an example of the ancient draoicht of Seamus, his old soul and intuition and spontaneity.

Im pretty sure Seamus had some of the greatest gigs and nights and craic that any mortal has ever experienced, so a celebration of the magic he brought to the world is in order, an incredible force of musical nature on earth.

More power to you Seamus, you Laochra Gael, best of luck on your travels, and may the great spirit hold you in the hollow of her hand, see you along the Rocky Road

Grá mór
Slán go fóill mo chara
Damien Dempsey

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Subject: RE: 2023 Obit: Seamus O Beaglaioch aka Begley
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 12 Jan 23 - 10:44 AM

Thanks for the links above, Felipa. Seamus was one of the finest accordion players in Ireland and some would argue in the world. He was also a talented traditional singer. I have added his name to the "In Memoriam" thread and send my condolences to all those who know and love him.

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Subject: RE: 2023 Obit: Seamus O Beaglaioch aka Begley
From: Felipa
Date: 12 Jan 23 - 10:36 AM

repaired link

I'm listening to Bladhaire at present. So far, it's mostly music and song, not much speech.

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Subject: RE: 2023 Obit: Seamus O Beaglaioch aka Begley
From: Felipa
Date: 11 Jan 23 - 02:09 PM

The programme "Bladhaire" on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta on Thursday 12 Jan will feature music and songs of Séamus Ó Beaglaíoch. Bladhaire RTÉ RnaG

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Subject: RE: Obit: Seamus O Beaglaioch, box player & singer
From: Felipa
Date: 10 Jan 23 - 09:55 AM

more tributes>

older item:

Séamus singing (accompanied by Steve Cooney) Ban Chnoic na hÉireann

(recording with Oisín Mac Diarmada and Maebh Ní Bheaglaíoch) Eibhlín a Rún

playing the "button box" melodeon

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Subject: RE: 2023 Obit: Seamus O Beaglaioch aka Begley
From: Felipa
Date: 10 Jan 23 - 09:45 AM

I looked for a thread and somehow missed it, so I started another thread. My condolences also.

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Subject: Obit: Seamus O Beaglaioch, box player & singer
From: Felipa
Date: 10 Jan 23 - 09:42 AM

I turned on Raidió na Gaeltachta and fiddler Oisín Mac Diarmada was talking about Séamus Ó Beaglaíoch. As one person after another paid tribute to Séamus, I realised he must have died. Also known as Séamus Begley, he was probably the best known among a very musical family from County Kerry. He played for dances and did a lot to promote the polkas and slides , and he also sang mournful airs. I'm sure many Mudcatters are familiar with Séamus' music.

Tadhg Evans and Aoife Breslin

January 09 2023 09:47 PM

One of Ireland’s most highly regarded traditional musicians, Séamus Ó Beaglaoich, has died today.

Mr Ó Beaglaoich, from Baile na bPoc in the Corca Dhuibhne Gaeltacht, was 73 and leaves behind a musical legacy of the highest calibre. He was best known as an accordionist and singer. During a long career – he began playing in dance halls in his early teens – he collaborated with music stars as Mary Black, Steve Cooney, and his siblings, coming as he did from a family steeped in music and singing, a tradition handed down to them by their parents.

He recorded his first album – with sister, Máire – An Ciarraíoch Mallaithe just over 50 years ago. Many productions followed, including Ragairne, with guitarist Jim Murray, which in 2001 was named traditional album of the year by Hot Press.

Hailing from the heart of the West Kerry Gaeltacht, Mr Ó Beaglaoich was a native Irish speaker, and often sang through his ‘teanga dúchais’.[native tongue]

Musician Donal Lunny appeared on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today to pay his respects to his good friend Seamus, saying that he was a “mighty figure”.

“Seamus was larger than life and I think everybody I know is devastated by his passing, in fact it leaves a huge void on the traditional scene, he occupied a great space,” he said.

“He was a beloved man, he was always up for the craic, as well as being a musician, a native speaker and being a beautiful singer as well as player, he was almost like a court jester, like a joker, he was full of fun and satire.

“He would subvert many a solemn occasion with some ridiculous joke which would bring the house down, he was a mighty figure.”

Speaking about his talent, Lunny explained how Seamus was a natural and that he was central to the heritage of Irish music.

“He was a natural entertainer, and there was no real difference between his daily life and being on a stage, he performed all the time but in the most natural way. He never missed a bit of craic and he was beloved for that,” he said.

“I remember the first time I heard the album he made with Steve Cooney called Meitheall, and hearing him sing in this beautiful angelic voice, a really beautiful voice Seamus had, and that was an amazing album that kind of, I think, put him on the scene in a more general way.

“With regard to the heritage, he was central to that as well, I think everyone is suddenly aware of how much space Seamus occupied in the soul of the country.”

Sharon Shannon described him as a second father to her and told how she absolutely adored him.

“I have known him since I was 17, when I ended up in the Gaeltacht when I was studying Irish in UCC,” she said.

“I somehow ended up at his house playing tunes and he was so welcoming, always so welcoming to young musicians, and encouraging. We have been friends ever since.

“My God I just can’t believe it, he was like a second father to me, I absolutely adored him, I idolised him.

She described his music as having an “amazing power”.

His music had amazing power, he could lift the roof off any house or pub session, and made just a dynamite atmosphere anywhere he went,” she said.

Then when he would sing, it was the most beautiful, effortless singing that was really calm, you would hear a pin drop in even the most noisy pubs when he would start singing.

“As well as all that, he was absolutely brilliant craic, really hilarious, incredibly quick witted, he would make you cry laughing, you would belly laugh for hours when you were in his company.

“The most enjoyable times in my life that I could think of was always in his company, he was funnier than any comedian.”

tv programme re Séamus: 'S e Mo Laoch (2020, in Irish with English subtitles)

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Subject: Obit: Seamus Begley
From: GUEST,Jim Martin
Date: 10 Jan 23 - 04:01 AM
Very sad to learn of this. RIP Seamus and condolences to his family and so many friends.

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