President leads tributes to musician Tony McMahon

The President said Mr McMahon was “one of Ireland’s iconic presences among musicians”.
President leads tributes to musician Tony McMahon

Tomas Doherty

President Michael D Higgins has paid tribute to broadcaster and musician Tony McMahon who died on Friday aged 82.

The President said Mr McMahon was “one of Ireland’s iconic presences among musicians”.

“It is with great sadness that the music community will have heard of the passing of Tony McMahon,” Mr Higgins said in a statement.

“Tony brought to performance in so many forms, places and venues the talent of a maestro. To hear him play 'Port Na bPúcai', for example, was to feel transported into another world,” he said.

Born in Clare in 1939, Tony McMahon began his musical career in the 1950s.

Though he released only a handful of albums over the course of his career, his influence on traditional music over the last 50 years has been far-reaching.

For nearly 30 years, he made music programmes for both RTÉ radio and television, including The Long Note, The Pure Drop, and The Green Linnet, where he championed the work of dozens of other influential trad performers.

He retired from RTÉ in 1998.

In 2019, a TG4 documentary film Slán leis an gCeol was produced about his life.

Mr Higgins added that Mr McMahon’s “commitment to traditional music and to the friendship of his fellow musicians was full of integrity”.

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