Tony MacMahon, ‘giant’ of Irish traditional music, dies

President Higgins pays tribute to ‘one of Ireland’s iconic presences among musicians’

The accordion player Tony MacMahon has died aged 82.

President Michael D Higgins described MacMahon as "one of Ireland's iconic presences among musicians," whose death would be met with "great sadness" by the music community.

“Tony brought to performance in so many forms, places and venues the talent of a maestro,” he said.

“To hear him play Port Na bPúcai, for example, was to feel transported into another world. His commitment to traditional music and to the friendship of his fellow musicians was full of integrity,” President Higgins said.


“On behalf of Sabina and myself, agus mar Uachtarán na hÉireann on behalf of the people of Ireland, may I send my deepest condolences to Tony’s family and friends, and to the wider music community at home and abroad,” he said.

MacMahon, who was born in Ennis, Co Clare, was also a producer with RTÉ, known for programmes such as The Long Note, The Pure Drop, and The Green Linnet.

Martin Hayes, a fellow Irish traditional musician, described MacMahon as a “giant figure”, who he said was “one of the truly great musicians of all time”.

Séamus Dooley, secretary of the National Union of Journalists, said Ireland had lost a “national treasure”.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is a reporter with The Irish Times