Damien Dempsey and Sharon Shannon led the tributes to fiddle player and songwriter Dessie O’Halloran, who passed away last weekend after a short illness.
O’Halloran, from Inishbofin island off the coast of Connemara, achieved wider fame for his collaboration in 2001 with Sharon Shannon and the Diamond Mountain Sessions – which also gave birth to Galway Girl by Steve Earle.
His self-penned song Say You Love Me went to number four in the Irish singles chart and showcased O’Hallaron’s distinctive singing style.
He later wrote and recorded Courtin’ In The Kitchen with Shannon, Munday and Damien Dempsey. Dempsey wrote a tribute to O’Halloran on his Facebook page.
“He possessed a magic when he played and sang”, wrote Dempsey.
“He’d a rough oul haggard voice from decades on building sites through the London winters and heavy drinking with very little sustenance, but I watched audiences from the wings when he sang and played his fiddle…he had a great gift of putting people on a good vibration, which is a great gift to the world.” Dempsey’s facebook page.
O’Halloran released his first album The Men of the Island in 1975. His brother Vincent, who features on the albumn, was a well known accordion player in south London before his passing in 2014. Sharon Shannon posted that she will “miss him sorely.” Irish President Michael D Higgins paid tribute, writing in an official statement “his special voice will always be recalled when his name is invoked at the sessions.”