Traditional musician Sean Potts laid to rest after Dublin funeral

Family recall a champion of Irish culture, a proud GAA supporter and a man who ‘lived for music’

The Chieftains in September 1975. Sean Potts, Sean Keane, Michael Tubridy, Martin Fay, Paddy Moloney, Peadar Mercier and, seated in front, Derek Bell. Photograph: Dermot O’Shea/The Irish Times

The Chieftains in September 1975. Sean Potts, Sean Keane, Michael Tubridy, Martin Fay, Paddy Moloney, Peadar Mercier and, seated in front, Derek Bell. Photograph: Dermot O’Shea/The Irish Times

Fri, Feb 14, 2014, 17:26

The family of whistle player and founding member of The Chieftains Seán Potts paid tribute at his funeral to a passionate advocate of Irish culture and a man who “lived for music”.

Mr Potts, who was 83, died suddenly on Tuesday.

Addressing mourners at the funeral Mass today, Mr Potts’s son Seán Óg remembered his father as a “champion of our culture” who saw the music he played as an art form.

“That is the skill of the artist – he can go above the instrument – and, in the case of my father, the whistle was like a wand in his hand,” Mr Potts said in Irish.

He was a “musician’s musician” and idolised the practitioners and players of his formative years, including his uncle Tommie Potts. “He lived for music.”

He had been inspired by his grandfather, John Potts, a piper from Bannow in south Wexford, who settled in Dublin at the turn of the last century.

Born in Drimnagh, Dublin in 1930, Seán Potts became friends with fellow whistle player Paddy Moloney in the 1950s. He was a founder member of The Chieftains in 1962, briefly left the group in 1968 but rejoined and left finally in 1979. He was honorary life president of Na Piobairí Uilleann, the association of uilleann pipers and an original member of Seán Ó Riada’s group Ceoltóirí Chualann.

Sean Óg read the phrase printed on the plate on his father’s coffin: ‘Do chum glóire Dé agus honora na hÉireann’.

“For the glory of god and the honour of Ireland – the maxim by which he lived.”

President Michael D Higgins was represented by his aide de camp, Capt Sean Coffey. As well as a host of musicians, those in attendance included GAA commentator Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh and actor Sean McGinley.

Mr Potts is survived by his wife Bernie, children Cora, Seán Óg, Sorcha and Ultan, brothers, sisters and grandchildren.

The funeral Mass in Irish was accompanied by the traditional music he loved, played by friends. He was buried afterwards at Dardistown cemetery in Dublin.