Peter 'Foxy' Carberry: 'His songs, his voice are with us always'
MUSICIANS are to gather to celebrate the life of “one of Ireland’s greatest folk singers” at a special event in his adopted home of Bangor.
Peter ‘Foxy’ Carberry performed across the island and further afield over the years, entertaining everywhere he went.
Such was his impact and generosity with his talents that the Ards branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann has commissioned a cup in his honour, which will be awarded annually to young musicians.
Born in 1966, Peter was the seventh in a family of 10 children reared in Cappamore, Co Limerick.
He discovered his love of music in his early teens and his first instrument was a saxophone, purchased by his mother from the late great Mick Delahunty. However, he quickly decided it wasn’t for him and chose the guitar instead.
He learned his trade the hard way, joining in pub sessions and learning from seasoned musicians up and down the country. In later years Foxy repaid the compliment by always being prepared to give his time to those eager to learn.
Like many other young Irish men, he moved to London for employment, where he performed in the pubs and clubs of Camden town, Kentish town, Cricklewood and many other Irish areas.
While in London Foxy studied to become a consultant for the removal of hazardous materials in buildings, a profession he continued until his death.
It was also during this time that he met his one true love, Helen Russell, and they married at Bangor Castle in Co Down in 1999.
Shortly after they moved to Donohill in Co Tipperary, where they had two children, Liam and Maeve, before moving to Helen’s home town, Bangor, in 2009.
As Liam and Maeve grew up, Foxy took them to all their sporting activities and loved watching them play football and hockey.
He took a great interest in reading and had a deep knowledge of history and politics.
However, the highlight of his week was to meet up with like-minded people in Fealty’s bar in Bangor.
It was there he met his great friend Geordie McAdam, who taught him how to make his own guitar.
Davy Lennon said Foxy became a mainstay of the Fealty’s Friday night sessions 20 years ago and was a friend to all.
“He was simply one of Ireland’s greatest folk singers and performers. We all knew it. He could mesmerise audiences; have them roar with laughter and in an instant have them weep,” he said.
“How we miss him. His music, his quiet modesty, his friendship, his huge personality, his uniqueness and his company when the glass goes round.
“His songs, his voice are with us always.”
Bangor fiddler Niall McClean recorded an album with Foxy entitled Long Runs the Fox, which included his favourite song, The Orchard.
“For many years we travelled throughout Ireland, particularly in his native Limerick and Tipperary where his community gathered to hear him sing and entertain when we would arrive,” he said.
“I cherish these and the friendship that we had over the years.”
Another friend, Murty Ryan, said: “I had the great pleasure to sit beside Foxy for many a year and share the tunes, songs, pints and unbelievable laughs.
“He simply was the best of company, welcoming to all, kind to a fault, too busy living to ever give off about any one or any situation.
“He had the ability to draw everyone into his company, I always thought of it as a gift.”
Peter ‘Foxy’ Carberry died after a short illness on February 3 2022, surrounded by his loving family.
Ards CCE will hold a night of entertainment to remember, reminisce and celebrate his life at The Imperial Bar in Bangor at 9pm on Saturday February 4. All musicians and vocalists are welcome to join in.