Donal O’Connor (b.1935) was born in Carrigeen, Brosna and can trace his musical lineage back to the travelling fiddle master Graddy through his father Paddy Jerry O’Connor who learned from his mother, Ellen Guiney, from Knocknawinna, Brosna, who in turn had been Graddy’s pupil. Donal and his three older brothers were all taught fiddle from an early age and soon were playing with their father in dance-halls, house parties, and weddings in the Brosna area.
In the early 60s Donal and his late brother Patrick founded the popular and prize-winning Brosna Ceili Band. The original lineup of the Brosna Céilí Band included Patrick and Donal on fiddle, Neilus O’Connor, Aeneas O’Connell, ‘Big Pat’ Moriarty on mouthorgan, Nicky McAuliffe; Mick Mulcahy, and Micheal O hEidhin on piano, with vocals from Mary McQuinn (aka Maida Sugrue) and Séan Ahern. They won the All-Ireland in 1972.
Soon after the All-Ireland, Donal tried his hand as a publican at the Sliabh Luachra Bar in the heart of Listowel. For a while it was a popular spot for musicians from all over Kerry to meet and play. Today Donal lives in Limerick City and is a fixture of the music scene there.
Learned from: Paddy Jerry O’Connor
Played with: Nicky McAuliffe; Mick Mulcahy, Denis Doody