- 01 Nov 21
"A truly soulful singer, musician and person," says Martin Hayes.
Tributes have been pouring in for renowned Irish singer and musician Seán Tyrrell, who died on Saturday evening. He's been described by President Michael D. Higgins as "one of our finest, most talented, original and creative troubadours."
According to a post on his Facebook page, he passed away peacefully, "surrounded by his loved ones."
A native of the West of Ireland, Seán emigrated to New York in 1968, and recorded an album with his band in 1974. He later moved to San Francisco and began a solo career, where he worked alongside with some of the greats of the folk scene.
He returned to Ireland in the late '70s, and began working for University College Galway (later changed to NUI Galway). Around this time he made guest appearances on two albums with renowned uilleann pipe player Davy Spillane, who he went on to tour with.
While living in Clare, he encountered the 18th-century poem 'Cúirt An Mheán Oíche', meaning 'The Midnight Court', by Brian Merriman, translated by David Marcus. He set it to music and approached the renowned Druid Theatre in Galway, with the idea of putting it on as a traditional opera, with a cast of ten musicians and singers. Druid staged it during the Galway Arts Festival in 1992, and it went on to tour Ireland with more than 100 performances. In 2008 Seán took a two-man version to the Edinburgh Fringe, where it was met with critical acclaim. In 2012 it was staged for the first time in San Francisco as a solo piece.
Cry of A Dreamer, his first solo project, was released in April 1994. In 1999 he released his second solo effort, The Orchard.
He went on to release several more albums, and collaborate with artists around the world.
Martin Hayes is one of many musicians to have paid tribute to Seán over the weekend – describing him as a "truly soulful singer, musician and person."
"Whenever I performed with him I always had a sense of his incorruptible integrity, he could never sell out and he never did," he added.
What a shock to hear of the passing of Sean Tyrrell. A truly soulful singer, musician and person. Whenever I performed with him I always had a sense of his incorruptible integrity, he could never sell out and he never did. My sincerest condolences to his wife Connie and family. pic.twitter.com/vlnldt8gx9
— Martin Hayes (@MHayesmusic) October 31, 2021
Mike Hanrahan of Stockton's Wing also remembered him as "one of our greatest troubadours."
Rest in peace one of our greatest troubadours. Sean Tyrrell. So sad. ❤️Our thoughts are with Connie Aine and Roisin. Beautiful man. 💚 pic.twitter.com/j8bDQ4WdwC
— mike hanrahan (@mikehanrahan58) October 30, 2021
He is survived by his family, including his wife Connie, his sons Benji and Cíarán, and his daughters Áine, Lilia and Róisín. His funeral is set to take place tomorrow in New Quay, Co. Clare.
Read President Michael D. Higgins' tribute below:
"It is with sadness that I have learned of the passing of Seán Tyrrell, one of our finest, most talented, original and creative troubadours. How can we ever forget that it was Seán who brought 18th century poet Brian Merriman’s 1,206 line poem Cúirt an Mheán-Oíche to music and an unforgettable performance by Druid Theatre, in which another great performer, and friend of music, whom we have lost recently, Mary McPartlan, played such an outstanding part.
"Seán Tyrrell will be remembered too for works such as Message of Peace, his work on the life of John Boyle O’Reilly, his collaboration with a number of international artists on Songs of Peace to commemorate the life and work of Francis Ledwidge, and his landmark album The Orchard amongst his many contributions to the world of folk music.
"Seán and I walked into UCG on the same day in Autumn 1962 and through the years to have had his friendship, as so many know, was a great gift.
"Sabina and I would like to send our deepest sympathies to Connie, Áine, Róisín, Benjamin, Ciaran and Lilia, and to all of Seán’s wider family and friends."
See more tributes to Seán Tyrrell:
Sorry to hear of the passing of Galway born musician Sean Tyrrell , a versatile and unique singer, may he rest in peace pic.twitter.com/AgwQ0XHfRV
— Jason Lambert (@jasonlambertSF) October 31, 2021
Sad news tonight of the passing of Seán Tyrrell. Have his CD ‘The Orchard’ beside the bed since buying it earlier this year but haven’t got round to listening to it in full. Will give ‘The ghost of Billy Mulvihill’ and more a spin in the morning. RIP. pic.twitter.com/O53zcPkISx
— John Dee (@Jaydeephe) October 31, 2021
I was so moved the first time I heard him perform, his deep poet’s soul, humble and heartfelt, a true troubadour. Suaimhneas síoraí dá anam dílis uasal.
My love and sympathy to all who cherished him.
“A dreamer he lives forever”https://t.co/ULNZ41eFqg pic.twitter.com/uM6TcSOlZ6
— Ruth Smith (@theruthsmith) October 31, 2021
🎶And when I'm gone, may I be one with the air, and the land and the foam
In an orchard 'neath the Comeraghs in my sweet Dungarvan home.🎶
Slán leis an Trúbadóir Seán Tyrell❤️ pic.twitter.com/WAkvlHEk0O
— TG4TV 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️ (@TG4TV) October 31, 2021
Very saddened to hear the news of another true
Irish Legend who has sadly past away singer / songwriter Seán Tyrrell.
It sure has been a bad month for the Irish trad music world.
You will be greatly missed Sean RIP pic.twitter.com/RUo5GPZTjV
— Both Sides The Tweed Folk Show (@BSTTFolkShow) October 31, 2021
The multi talented and truly gifted folk/trad legend and beloved seanchaí Séan Tyrrell has passed away. We loved working with Séan. We send our prayers and condolences to his family and our client, his beloved daughter Áine Tyrrell. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam#SeanTyrrell pic.twitter.com/4ZpNNJVePI
— Good Seed PR (@GoodSeedPR) October 31, 2021
Very sad to hear that Seán Tyrrell has died. One of the great troubadours of our time, a sweet and gentle man. May he rest in peace. Our condolences to Connie and family on their great loss.
— Kieran Hanrahan (@RTECeiliHouse) October 31, 2021
This shot was taken in The Burren pub in Boston a few years ago where I had the opportunity to see the wonderful Sean Tyrrell play a solo gig. He will be sorely missed both sides of the Atlantic. RIP#seantyrrell pic.twitter.com/TChRqdfRD8
— Irish Whiskey Stone Company (@WhiskeyStoneIrl) October 31, 2021