1971 – Death of Seán Ó Riada, founder, composer, and arranger for the Chieftains.

Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland

A true Irish Gift to the world, Seán Ó Riada left the world at the terribly young age of 40.

One of Ireland’s finest composers and a major influence on traditional Irish music, Seán Ó Riada (John Reidy) was born in West Cork in 1931. Ó Riada’s love of music came from parents who were both competent traditional fiddlers.

“My father had a wonderful store of music. I remember him telling me that he would walk seven miles, and do a day’s work, to learn a tune.”

After travelling in Europe for a number of years, Ó Riada became musical director of Dublin’s famed Abbey Theatre for a number of years. His most famous composition is probably the score for the film Mise Éire (I am Ireland). Ó Riada started a traditional Irish “band” called Ceoltóirí Chualann whch morphed into the Chieftains following his death.

He composed Mná na hÉireann…

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