Many of you will know that Packie Byrne died on May 12th. He was 98 years old and had been in poor health for some time.
Born in Donegal in 1917, Packie worked on his family’s farm before expanding his horizons working at a variety of jobs as well as being a musician and actor. He was 58 when he came to wider attention in the UK with the release of his album Songs Of A Donegal Man and the beginning of his partnership with singer and harpist Bonnie Shaljean.
Those of us lucky enough to see and hear him perform or meet him knew what a character he was – an accomplished musician with a skill at telling a wild tale and a sense of fun second to none. I can do no better than to quote the announcement of his death posted by his musical partner and great friend, Bonnie Shaljean:
It is with the greatest sorrow that I have to tell you all that Packie Manus slipped away from us this evening at about half six (Greenwich time). He went peacefully, and I know in his last days, life had become a burden to him because he could no longer see or hear to any great extent, nor move about.
He told me often that his time in the folk scene were the best days of his life, and I need to pass this along to everyone who knew him, and who helped this to be so.
The wake will be held in his little house in Drumaghy Park (No. 12), and the funeral is on Friday May 15th at 11:00 a.m. in the Catholic church in Ardara (County Donegal), with interment to follow in the family plot at the church in Bruckless.
Dear, dear Packie – Rest In Peace
Read Derek Schofield’s obituary of Packie at: http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/may/13/packie-byrne