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Friday 29 August 2014

Traditional music provides apt farewell to Sean Potts

Louise Hogan

Published 14/02/2014 | 14:33

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TRADITIONAL Irish music filled the church as hundreds turned out to celebrate the life and legacy of the co-founder of The Chieftains.

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Renowned whistle player Sean Potts passed away at the age of 83 on Tuesday.

Musicians the length and breadth of the country turned out to mark the long life of the multi-talented player who helped make Irish traditional music popular around the world.

Among the familiar faces was bodhran Kevin Cunniffe from The Chieftains, Peadar and Cathal O Riada, sons of the late Sean O Riada, well-known Cork singer Sean O Se and John Sheahan from The Dubliners.

Other figures from Mr Potts beloved GAA included broadcaster Micheal O Muircheartaigh and Dessie Farrell from the Gaelic Players Association.

"It  has been a hard few months for the Potts family but we have carried our music through three centuries and with Sean's powerful spirit in our hearts we'll carry it into the future," his son Sean Og told the mourners who thronged the Church of Our Lady Help of Christians on the Navan Road, Dublin.

He told how the plate on Sean's coffin read, 'The Glory of God and the Honour of Ireland', "a maxim by which he lived".

The remains of founding member of the Chieftains Sean Potts leaving the Church of Our Lady Help of Christians, Navan Road after his funeral mass.
Pic:Mark Condren
14.2.2014
The remains of founding member of the Chieftains Sean Potts leaving the Church of Our Lady Help of Christians, Navan Road after his funeral mass. Pic: Mark Condren
Family hug as the remains of founding member of the Chieftains Sean Potts leaves the Church of Our Lady Help of Christians, Navan Road after his funeral mass.
Pic:Mark Condren
14.2.2014
Family hug as the remains of founding member of the Chieftains Sean Potts leaves the Church of Our Lady Help of Christians, Navan Road after his funeral mass. Pic: Mark Condren
Ronnie McShane founding member of Ceoltoiri Chualann at the mass of founding member of the Chieftains Sean Potts at the Church of Our Lady Help of Christians, Navan Road.
Pic:Mark Condren
14.2.2014
Ronnie McShane founding member of Ceoltoiri Chualann at the mass of founding member of the Chieftains Sean Potts at the Church of Our Lady Help of Christians, Navan Road. Pic: Mark Condren

Mr Potts, originally from Dublin’s Drimnagh, is mourned by his wife Bernie, daughters and sons, Cora, Sean Og, Sorcha and Ultan, and a wide circle of siblings, relatives and friends.

 It was in 1962 that the master tin whistle player, alongside his friend Paddy Moloney, set up the group in Dublin that inspired generations of traditional musicians and made Irish traditional music popular around the world.

His talents also extended to a variety of instruments including the bones and the bodhran.

From first playing in Paddy’s home the group went on to tour extensively and play famous stages throughout the world.

After leaving The Chieftains in 1979, he had went on to become the honorary president of Na Piobairi Uilleann (The Associaiton of Uilleann Pipers).

According to the band’s website it was pressures from the extensive touring that led to his departure, including a “particularly hair raising episode when flying through a storm in 1979 during their North American tour”.

Mr Potts, who had originally started out with Irish traditional band, Ceoltoiri Chualann, founded by Sean O Riada, later went on to found Bakerswell which toured successfully in the US.

Moloney, who is the US, still leads The Chieftains, with 58 albums recorded and six Grammy awards.

The funeral cortege was travelling to Dardistown Cemetery after Mass for his burial.

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