Northern Ireland news

Musicians gather for funeral of renowned guitarist Arty McGlynn

Arty McGlynn's wife Nollaig Casey and other family members follow his coffin from the church. Picture by Justin Kernoghan.
Mairead Holland

HUNDREDS of mourners, including musicians from across Ireland, gathered in Omagh on Saturday for the funeral of renowned guitarist Arty McGlynn.

Mr McGlynn (75) was a well-known figure on the traditional and folk music circuit, and had played with some of Irish music's biggest names such as Christy Moore, Van Morrison and the late Liam O'Flynn.

He died at the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen following a short illness.

Mourners included fellow musicians Steve Cooney, formerly of Stockton's Wing, Altan's Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh, and Brian Coll who headed the showband, the Buckaroos.

Born into a musical family in 1944, Mr McGlynn was given a guitar by his mother at the age of 11.

A respected soloist, accompanist, composer and arranger, he spent most of the 60s and 70s touring with some of the country's most popular showbands before returning to Irish traditional music.

Among the Van Morrison albums he played on was the acclaimed 'Avalon Sunset'.

The guitarist and his wife, Nollaig Casey, who is acknowledged as one of Ireland's finest fiddle players, established a successful career and released two albums, Lead the Knave and Causeway.

Their music has also featured on film soundtracks, including Moondance and Hear My Song.

Following his death, Strabane singer Paul Brady and Derry composer Phil Coulter led tributes to Mr McGlynn.

Mr Brady said he was heartbroken to have said goodbye to his "dear friend and musical sparring partner".

Mr Coulter described McGlynn as a "monster musician and a real gent" who redefined the role of the guitar in Irish music.

In 2016, Mr McGlynn was honoured with a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to music by Irish language channel TG4.

His funeral was held at Sacred Heart Church followed by burial at St Mary's Cemetery in Drumragh.

He is survived by Nollaig, two daughters and three sons.

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