The Arts Council has expressed its regret at the passing on Friday (7 November) of the Donegal fiddle player, James Byrne.
Speaking today, Mary Cloake, Director of the Arts Council said: "James Byrne was one of the great heroes of Irish traditional music, his technique and style of playing were exceptional and his death is a great loss. He embodied the values of his art, passing music and culture onto future generations and inspired many players. Our sympathy is extended to his wife Connie, their family and friends at this time".
James Byrne was one of the best known exponents of Glencolmcille’s longstanding fiddle tradition and was considered one of the leading fiddlers in Ireland today.
He was born in Meenacross, Glencolmcille, in South-West Donegal where he grew up surrounded by music - his father John and many neighbours played the fiddle, and both Mickey and John Doherty regularly called and spent time in Meenacross.
James had an unequalled store of old tunes and the stories that were attached to them. He was a much sought after performer and he also regularly taught at summer schools and festivals.