Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Kitty Hayes, concertina player, passes away

Kitty Hayes on Youtube: click here

“Kitty grew up listening to her father and their next door neighbour, Willie Clancy's father Gilbert play together in the kitchen. As a teenager she worked her father's concertina when he wasn't looking, teaching herself the basics. At that time she was out to the house dances a lot, listening to and playing music. At some point hough her concertina broke and around the same time she married fluteplayer Josie Hayes. The night before her wedding, St Patrick's Day 1948, Packie Russell travelled to her father's house and played for a great farewell dance. There was another great dance when she moved into the Hayes' home in Shanaway the next day and I was just told again by a neighbour of her's what a great night it was.“ Read more at

“Born Kitty Smith during the earlier half of the last century in the townland of Fahanlunaghta between Miltown Malbay and Ennistymon in Co. Clare, Kitty grew up in a musical household. Her father Peter Smith played the concertina, together with their neighbour, flute player Gilbert (or 'Gillie') Clancy…” Read more at

“Peter purchased Kitty's first concertina for her and, subsequently, she played at house dances, at one of which she met Josie Hayes, her future husband, who played whistle and flute with the Laichtín Naofa Céilí Band. Music took a back seat during their life together as she first reared seven children and then nursed both her own mother and, later, her husband who had suffered a stroke and died in 1992…” Read more at

“Last November, Clare People journalist Andrew Hamilton interviewed Clare concertina legend, Kitty Hayes, who died at the weekend. The occasion was a tribute concert in her honour at Glór Irish Music Centre in Ennis. We reproduce that article in memory of a gentle woman whose unassuming nature belied her outstanding contribution to Clare’s musical legacy. May she rest in peace…” Read more at

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