Belfast Telegraph

Veteran Dinny delighted to help All-Ireland Fleadh hit a high note


The beating heart of the All-Ireland Fleadh is made up of the 20,000 artists who have travelled from near and far to perform in Londonderry.

For some it will be the first time they have experienced a fleadh —or even been to Northern Ireland.

But others are seasoned hands in both fields — and none more so than Dinny McLaughlin. At 78 years of age he has earned a reputation as one of Ireland’s leading fiddle players, having played all over the world and passed on his knowledge to the generations following him.

The Buncrana man is a familiar face at the annual gathering wherever it is, but he is delighted to be at the first fleadh in Northern Ireland.

He said: “It is just great to see the fleadh come into the North and particularly into Derry.

“This year there is plenty to see and plenty of room for everyone to play.

“There are that many people about the place, you wouldn't believe it and they all come up and say ‘hello’ to you and they all seem very happy.”

Despite his advancing years, Dinny is as enthusiastic about Irish music as he ever was and has just launched his latest CD and DVD. In recognition of his immense contribution, a special event in his honour has been included in this year's fleadh programme.

Tomorrow at the Glassworks, he will be joined by friends and former students for a celebration of his work.

“I can't say how much I am looking forward to the concert at the Glassworks. I have been filmed for TnaG and for the BBC so I will need a rest to get ready but not too much of a rest,” he said.

“I'd like to keep going until the man upstairs decides he wants me and then I suppose I'll have to stop.”

By Dinny’s standards, Anglo-Irish traditional band Flook is a relative newcomer — although it has been around in various guises since 1995.

Flook — guitar and bouzouki player Ed Boyd, Brian Finnegan and Sarah Allen on flutes and John Joe Kelly on bodhran — whetted their appetite for the fleadh last year in Cavan.

“I play the acoustic guitar, which isn't your average traditional Irish instrument, but it blends in well,” said Ed.

“I have played in Derry before so I am familiar with the city and I love it so much, so I was really pleased that the fleadh has come here — and it is certainly going down well with the crowds.

“I was in the Craft Village on Wednesday night and the place was packed and I am playing with Cara Dillon (left) too before we take to the stage ourselves so it has been a busy week.

“It seems every where you go there are people enjoying the music or else playing themselves and it is just fantastic to see, there certainly is nothing quiet like the fleadh,” he added.

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