Marty Marrinan RIP

27 March 2011, 3:03 AM GMT

Music in the air at Marty Marrinan’s funeral


Written by Peter O’Connell

Wednesday, 16 March 2011 10:50

IN what was the biggest funeral in living memory in Cooraclare, thousands of people, including dozens of musicians and set dancers, attended the removal and burial of Marty Marrinan.

The 70-year-old Cooraclare native was renowned nationwide for his concert flute playing, set dancing and singing. He was best known for his regular renditions of The Chapel Gates of Cooraclare and other songs, including Nancy Hogan’s Goose.

Fifty-seven musicians played in Cooraclare parish church during the funeral service, taking up four rows of seats, while there was standing room only for another 35 musicians in the church.

An impromptu set started in the church at the end of the service.

More traditional music and set dancing was seen and heard in the old Kilmacduane Churchyard, as Marty was laid to rest. Following an oration from Joe O’Connor, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, set dancers from aged seven to 70, took to the specially erected stage in the rural graveyard.

Such was the crowd, a passing group of people from Roscommon stopped, believing that a concert was in full swing.

“It was only when they got in close that they realised they were inside in the middle of a graveyard. They got an awful land,” one mourner commented.

Mourners travelled from every corner of Clare and Munster and from as far away as Belfast to say farewell to one of Clare’s most admired traditional music exponents.


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