Lives Remembered

Dominic McNabb: Glasses raised at fleadh to renowned Ballycastle fiddle player

Dominic McNabb was a renowned fiddle player

IT was fitting that at the time renowned traditional fiddle player Dominic McNabb was being laid to rest in Ballycastle, musicians from far and wide were gathering in Drogheda for the annual All Ireland Fleadh.

Until ill health prevented him from travelling, Dominic was a popular and ever present figure at the fleadh and other gatherings where people came together for a tune and to enjoy the craic.

Glasses were raised and stories recalled when news of his death filtered amongst fellow musicians in Drogheda.

Dominic passed away peacefully on Tuesday August 13 at the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine after a short illness.

The Ballycastle man was 87 years old and is survived by his six children.

He was well known across north Antrim and further afield.

He started his working life at the age of 15, serving his time as an apprentice joiner before establishing a building company with his Ballinlea neighbour and school pal Willie McFarland.

In the mid-1970s, he left the building trade and joined Moyle District Council as the works manager.

Dominic McNabb died aged 87 on August 13

Dominic was a son, brother, husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He loved being around his family and was delighted when a long-lost American cousin called at his home one summer’s afternoon and a connection with the Washington McNabbs was established.

His family were greatly comforted by the many friends who visited his Ballycastle home during the wake and appreciate their kind words and anecdotes.

Many were musicians who played alongside Dominic over the years.

During his retirement, he had indulged his love for traditional music and, with his fiddle, would go anywhere to entertain audiences both large and small.

A regular in the traditional sessions in first McCarroll’s and now O’Connor’s on a Thursday night in Ballycastle, he also played in the Skerries on a Wednesday and Johnny Joe’s in Cushendall on Fridays.

Weekends could take him anywhere and everywhere, and they often did.

Dominic was a familiar face at fleadhs and other gatherings of musicians

Like many musicians of his era, he couldn’t read music put picked up tunes with his ear and played from memory.

He also recorded a number of CDs, toured both across Ireland and in Scotland, penned songs for his family and, to his great amusement, appeared in a pop video, wrapped in rope while playing the fiddle at the Giant’s Causeway.

During his funeral Mass at St Patrick’s and St Brigid’s Church and at the adjoining graveside, traditional musicians played.

Dominic lost his beloved wife Nell in January 2016. They had been married for 61 years and together they raised seven children.

An active member of the Comhaltas, he was also a member of the Ballycastle Probus Club and a committee member of the Ballycastle chest heart & stroke society.

His month's mind Mass will be celebrated at St Patrick's and St Brigid's Church on Sunday September 15 at 10am.

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Lives Remembered