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Statement by President Higgins on the death of Séamus Begley

Date: Tue 10th Jan, 2023 | 14:36

It is with sadness that lovers of Irish music across the world will have heard of the death of Séamus Begley.

Séamus will be remembered as one of Ireland’s finest accordion players as well as a beautiful singer. Growing up in a family rich in traditional Irish music in Baile na bPoc in the west Kerry Gaeltacht, his recordings and performances captured not only the music of his upbringing but also a knowledge of music far beyond these shores.

From his early albums with his sister Máire starting 50 years ago, to his landmark collaboration with Steve Cooney on the album ‘Meitheal’, and in so many more works besides, including with Jim Murray and Tim Edey, Séamus has left us a lasting musical legacy.

Sabina and I had the pleasure of hosting Séamus for performances in Áras an Uachtaráin, including at the State dinner held in honour of their Majesties, the King and Queen of the Netherlands in June 2019, on which occasion he was accompanied on vocals by his daughter Méabh and on guitar by Donogh Hennessy.

As with all those who knew Séamus, we will remember him for his talent, his warmth and his sense of fun, that lasting impression which he left on all those who he met. He will be deeply missed.

May I express my deepest condolences to his wife Mary, to his children Breandán, Eoin, Niall and Méabh, to his extended family and to his wide circle of friends and musical colleagues.