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Bobby Casey


Bobby Casey (1926 – 2000) was a renowned fiddle player from the Crosses of Annagh, a town not too far from Miltown Malbay in County Clare. He moved to Dublin in 1950 where he met John. He then moved to London in 1952 to find work and stayed there for the rest of his life while still visiting Ireland regularly. Bobby came from a musical family, his father being the well known musician John ‘Scully’ Casey who was a flute and concertina player.

Bobby was noted as an exceptional fiddle player and John very much admired his playing. In the audio recording on this page John states about Bobby’s playing: “What he has done there to my mind is a fulfilment of fiddle playing.”

I have very fond memories of Bobby when I was growing up. He was always a very funny man, always playing tricks and joking. Our family are still very friendly with Angela Casey, Bobby’s daughter to this day.

Details: Location: Willie Clancy Week, Miltown Malbay. Date: 1978 L-R: John Kelly Senior, Bobby Casey.

Credit: © John Coffey. Photo taken by John Coffey.


Credit: © Patty Bronson. Photo taken by Patty Bronson. Taken in Miltown Malbay. L-R: John Kelly Senior, Bobby Casey, John Kelly Junior. 

Credit: © Liam McNulty. Photo taken by Liam McNulty. 1977, taken in the Hall in Miltown Malbay. L-R: John Kelly Senior, Bobby Casey, Junior Crehan. 

Credit: © John Kelly Junior. Photo taken by John Kelly Junior. Circa 1987. Taken outside John Juniors house in Lickeen, Kilfenora. L-R: Bobby Casey, John Kelly Senior

Details: Location: Willie Clancy Week, Miltown Malbay. Date: 1978 L-R: Bobby Casey, John Kelly Senior.

Credit: © John Coffey. Photo taken by John Coffey.

Details: WIllie Clancy week. Miltown Malbay. Date unknown.

Credit: Neil Wayne. 


Bobby Casey, Roger Sherlock & Michael Doran playing Rakish Paddy.

Details:  Recorded in 1968. Location: Clones, Co Monaghan.

Credit: TV programme “Ceol ón Chartlann” le Paul Brady, 2012. Link.


Bobby Casey playing Gilbert Clancy's aka Sean Reid’s on the fiddle & John talking about Bobby after

Bobby Casey playing “Sean Reid’s” on the fiddle.

John Kelly:  “Now that is a throw back from… it goes back years and years the method of playing that tune. And it is…Willie Clancy was the one who introduced that reel. I remember a time when…Garrett Barretts, his father had it in Garrett Barrett’s style. You’ll find a lot of piping effects in the way Bobby plays it. And I think it is a beautiful type of fiddling. What he has done there to my mind is a fulfilment of fiddle playing.  Like it was wild, raucous…slightly out of tune, which was a mannerism in good fiddle players of Clare and I found traces of it in Kerry too. And even Coleman himself in order to give more interest to some passages he just went flat. I could mention a couple of tunes…Beautiful fiddle playing now.”

Recording Details: ‘Demonstration in hall by various artists in Fiddling’

Location: Willie Clancy Summer School, Central Hall, Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare. Date: July 5, 1976

Credit: Recorded by Barry Taylor,  part of his book “Music in a Breeze of Wind” about music in West Clare. Link. 

Some info about the tune from Tunearch (Link).

“Piper and fiddler Seán Reid was born in County Donegal, but lived most of his life in County Clare… He recorded with Clare piper Willie Clancy in 1957, and allowed the latter a prized set of concert pipes made by Leo Rowsome on an extended loan. Willie’s father is honored by the alternate title “Gilbert Clancy’s for whom this was a favorite tune. This melody is commonly referred to as “The West Wind,” say the Chieftains.”

Note below about Seán Reid with thanks to his son Seán Óg Reid in July 2020:

“Seán’s father was Joseph Reid, a farmer’s son from Drumquin in Co Tyrone and his mother, Maggie Reid, nee McGlynn was also from a farming background just a couple of miles east of Castlederg in Co Tyrone. Seán’s own father, Joseph and his uncles on both sides (2 McGlynn’s and 4 Reids) were all fine fiddle players as was his grandfather John Reid. Seán’s uncle John Reid who died aged 33 years in 1903 was supposed to have been by far the best fiddler in the county (Tyrone). Seán’s father died in 1911 at the age of 47 when Seán was only 3 years old from Cancer of the mouth.  The family had lived in Mullanboy, Castlefin, Co Donegal where Joseph was the school headmaster. Maggie and her two children returned to the farm at Crew where one of her unmarried brothers, Patrick, lived.”

Musical Connections Musical Context

Bobby Casey