Well-known traditional musician and singer Séamus Begley has died aged 73.
Tributes have been flooding in for the man who was known as “The Bold Kerryman”.
Begley was regarded as one of Ireland’s finest accordion players, having played the instrument since he was a boy.
During his long successful career he collaborated with artists including Australian guitarist Steve Cooney, as well as Irish singers Damien Dempsey and Mary Black.
A charismatic performer, Begley was renowned for his sharp wit and colourful turn of phrase.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, fellow musician and friend Donal Lunny described Begley as “a larger than life figure” and said that his death “leaves a huge void” in the world of traditional music.
He said: “He was a natural entertainer. There was no real division between his daily life and being on stage. He always performed in a most natural way… I think everyone is suddenly aware of the huge place Séamus occupied in the soul of the country.”
Sharon Shannon described the “amazing power” in Begley’s music.
“He had the ability to lift the roof of any pub or house in which he was playing. Then, he had the most beautiful singing voice – effortless and calm.
“He was also brilliant craic, he had a very quick wit. You’d be belly-laughing in his company he was good for your health.”
Mike Scott of the Waterboys said that Séamus Begley was “the finest of all Irish musicians, and perhaps the most beautiful singer I’ve ever heard… he was a friend, a king and a god.”
Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin described the west Kerry man as “a music icon for over 50 years”, adding that his music was “deeply rooted in his beloved home place of Corca Dhuibhne.”
Paddy Casey said he was “really sorry to hear about the passing of Seamus Begley. He is one of the funniest lunatics I was ever lucky enough to have had the honour of jamming/ hanging out with.. you’ll be missed. Thanks, Seamus.”
The Wolfe Tones offered their “sincere condolences” to Séamus’ family and friends.
Comedian Pat Shortt also commented through his Twitter page, stating, “So sad to hear Seamus Begley has passed. A great musician but an incredible character that brought so much joy to everyone through Irish music It was pure craic being in his company. Rip Seamus and condolences to his family and extended Trad family.”