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Éamon de Buitléar & Ceoltóirí Laighean


Éamon de Buitléar (1930 – 2013) was a well know writer,  film-maker & musician. He and John met in 1956 in Dublin when Éamon had a pet shop on Capel Street which was on the same road as John’s shop. John’s wife Francis went into the shop one day and got chatting to Éamon and connected the two men.

Éamon worked alongside Seán Ó Riada in getting some of the musicians for the play “The Song of the Anvil” which was staged in the Abbey Theatre in 1960 which John took part in.

Éamon was an important member of the pioneering and enourmously influential group Ceoltóirí Chualann alongside John until the untimely passing of it’s founder, Seán Ó Riada in 1971. Wanting to continue the legacy of Ceoltóirí Chualann, Éamon formed Ceoltóirí Laighean in the early 1970’s.

John stated that he enjoyed being a member of the band immensely. James his son later joined the group after attending numerous practises with his father.

Ceoltóirí Laighean line-up consisted of: Éamon de Buitléar, John Kelly, James Kelly, Mary Bergin, Paddy Glackin, Paddy O’Brien, Michael Crehan, Michael Gavin, Micheál Ó hAlmhain, Peter Phelan, and Aibhlín McCrann. Diarmuid Ó Súilleabháin and Seán Ó Liatháin were the singers.

Details: “The Crooked Road” album by Ceoltóirí Laighean. Date: 1973. 


John talking about Ceoltóirí Laighean

Details: Date: Nov 1985. Location: Cultúrlann na hÉireann, Monkstown, Dublin.

Credit: Recorded by Mick O’Connor as part of the Coiste Ceoil of Comhaltas Ceoltoirí Eireann.


Ceoltóirí Laighean playing in 1974

Details: Date: 25 December 1974. Location: RTÉ Dublin Studio. Ceoltóirí Laighean: Michael Crehan, Éamon de Buitléar, Paddy Glackin, James Kelly, Aibhlín McCrann, Paddy O’Brien, Mícheál Ó hAlmhain.

Credit: RTÉ. Pedro Fernández García Youtube account. Link. 


Ceoltóirí Laighean as it was then (1979)

“…I’m playin’ with Ceoltóiri Laighean now and then. But since our numbers are disbanded, they’ve gone over … a couple of them gone to the ‘States and Aileen McCrann got married and she’s out in County Meath. Eamonn is very busy with programmes; Éamon De Buitléir, so we haven’t been playin’ much though we’ll be playin’, I think, St. Patrick’s Eve at some function here in Dublin. But it was great to fall in after Ceoltóiri Cualann (into C. Laighean) it nearly went along the same lines and I was delighted to make a fresh start after poor Seán dyin’. But we had some great times with Ceoltari Laighean too and played some very good music that went down well. And I think we could have done a lot more. We missed a tour in Germany. Fourteen concerts we were billed to do and something happened, some foolish little thing and we didn’t go. We’d have made two or three records there as well, so that would put us on the road to fame.

But for my part I was nearly tired of it. I didn’t like the travellin’. I could have done better ten years before that, I’d be more eager, but ’tis more for young aids, I think you know, that kind of a game.”

Details: John Junior interview with his father at 1979,

Musical Connections Musical Context

Éamon de Buitléar & Ceoltóirí Laighean