The late piper Tommy Kearney

The Late Tommy Kearney

The Late Tommy Kearney

Many of our younger readers will not be aware of the great uileann piper, Tommy Kearney who died recently. He was in his nineties, and decades had passed since he performed frequently in public. Tommy was born in Portlaw – a town the had at that time its own uileann pipe maker – John Heneberry. John had inherited old Edison cylinder from the U.S. of some of the great musicians from the turn of the twentieth century such as Patsy Touhey – and it is from these the Tommy derived some of his style. Also the piper Liam Walsh from Kill had a substantial influence on Tommy’s playing.

Tommy was a very active musician, who played and traveled widely, and during the 1960s played regularly on Saturday nights in Tinvane House, near Carrick-on-Suir that was owned by Liam Clancy. There was a lot of regular musical activity in the Waterford city area, with weekly Comhaltas meetings and regular trips to “Tigh an Cheóil” in Ring. Tigh and Cheoil was then owned by Tomás Ó Cellachair and his wife Ann Mulqueen, and was a great centre for music – the three Tóibín brothers were alive at the time.

Tommy was extremely generous in sharing his knowledge. He had a regular set of visitors to his house that were always made to feel welcome both by Tommy and by his daughter Maria.

Tommy the last of eight children born to Myles and Mary Kearney of Portlaw Co. Waterford. He is survived by his daughter Maria and the extended Kearney family.

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