Tributes pour in for 'Spancil Hill' singer

THE world of traditional music is in mourning after the passing of one of the country's best known balladeers, Robbie McMahon (pictured), who helped popularise the Irish immigrant ballad, 'Spancil Hill', write Ken Sweeney and Gordon Deegan.

Mr McMahon (86) died yesterday at Ennis General Hospital after a short illness.

RTE radio presenter Kieran Hanrahan paid tribute to the man for not only being "a great singer and ballad maker" but for his entertaining stage presence. "That's what got him noticed. Robbie knew how to work a crowd emotionally with a sad song, or how to get them dancing around with a song about a donkey," he said.

Clare mayor Pat Daly said Mr McMahon was "a true icon of Irish folk culture".

"Robbie McMahon was one of the pioneering figures who reinvigorated Irish folk songs."

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