Friday 20 April 2018

Murdered musician's own tune played at his funeral

Relatives and friends carry the coffin of Martin ‘Matt’ Kivlehan (left) from St Joseph’s Church in Sligo yesterday
Relatives and friends carry the coffin of Martin ‘Matt’ Kivlehan (left) from St Joseph’s Church in Sligo yesterday
Martin Kivlehan

Greg Harkin

Hundreds of mourners were played one last tune by murder victim Matt Kivlehan at his funeral.

The popular musician was stabbed to death at his home in Sligo on August 3.

At his funeral yesterday, heartfelt tributes were paid to him by his brother Christy who played a CD recording of his brother on his beloved banjo.

There was a round of applause when the complex traditional Irish piece was finished as Christy Kivlehan spoke of a brother who was gentle, kind and witty - and who loved music.

Christy revealed that while Matt didn't have children himself, he adored his nieces and nephews and in particular the youngest of them, seven-year-old Alan.

"He bought Alan a ukulele a few weeks ago and was looking forward to teaching him how to play it," said Christy.

He recalled getting a guitar lesson from his older brother when he was just 11.

Christy had tried to play the guitar before Matt took it off him and told him to tap his foot to his playing of the instrument.

"After a minute he said 'that's it, the lesson is over'. I asked him why and he looked at me and said 'you can't teach rhythm' and he walked off," he told mourners at St Joseph's Church in Ballytivnan in Sligo.

Traditional music friends played throughout the funeral Mass, which the family said they wanted to be a celebration of his life.

"He was gentle, good- humoured, sharp-witted and inspired and the only thing that he was ever short of was a bad word for anyone else," said Christy.

Father Hugh McGonagle told mourners that Matt had been a gifted individual from an early age, was a celebrated carpenter and had made his first guitar when he was just 11.

He said his funeral Mass spoke "volumes of the greatness and goodness and kindness of this decent, gentle, inoffensive person to show that we are all better than the tragic circumstances that surround Martin's death".

The priest told mourners that Matt's love was traditional music "which transcends the soul" and he had been looking forward to this week's Fleadh in Sligo.

Mr Kivlehan was laid to rest at Sligo Cemetery as friends played music.

Irish Independent

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