Tributes to top Irish musician Liam O’Flynn who dies at 72

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Liam O’Flynn played with such acclaimed musicians as Christy Moore, Kate Bush and Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler.

Liam O’Flynn in performance (Niall Carson/PA)

Tributes have been paid to giant of Irish music Liam O’Flynn, 72, following his death after a long illness.

Mr O’Flynn, who played the uilleann pipes, had been a member of the group Planxty alongside Christy Moore, Andy Irvine and Donal Lunny.

The master piper had also performed with Kate Bush, Emmylou Harris and Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler and worked with the poet Seamus Heaney and the composer Shaun Davey on The Brendan Voyage.

Speaking from Washington, he said: “I think (Mr O’Flynn) was a genius and great Irish man. In this most Irish of weeks I would like to express my condolences to his family, the music industry and the arts sector on their loss.”

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said Mr O’Flynn helped to revolutionise traditional Irish music.

“His immense legacy can be seen in the vitality of traditional Irish music across the globe today. From Kill, Co Kildare, to the far corners of the world he has bequeathed a mesmerising tapestry of music,” he added.

Musician Phil Coulter was among the first to pay tribute to Mr O’Flynn, a native of Co Kildare.


“Devastated to hear that the great Liam Og O Flynn has passed away. He was a king among pipers and a prince among men. A complete musician and a gentle soul”, Mr Coulter Tweeted.

The Arts Council of Ireland described Mr O’Flynn as a “virtuoso piper of international renown who brought uilleann piping and Irish music to the world stage”.

The singer Brian Kennedy tweeted: “I was only thinking about the great Liam O’Flynn about 30 mins ago when I was driving near Kilcullen. I knew he’d been ill for some time. We met many times over the years. What a gorgeous man and musician.
Rest in Pipes! BK x”.

Musician and songwriter Eleanor McEvoy, chairwoman of the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO), said it was a sad day for Irish music.

“Just landed in Amsterdam to hear the dreadfully sad news that Liam O’Flynn, legendary Irish piper has passed away. Sad day for Irish music RIP Liam”, she tweeted.

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