All Ireland Melodeon Champion Remembered – Summer 2002

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Musicians, dancers and storytellers gather to pay tribute

Bill O’Toole, a native of Coldwood died on October 1st 2001 after a short illness.

The Athenry Branch of Comhaltas Ceóltóirí Eireann held a memorial concert for him on Friday, Apri| 12th, 2002. A large gathering of musicians, singers, dancers and storytellers met in the Castlegate Hotel, Athenry, to celebrate Bill’s life and music. Musicians came from as far away as the Dunderry and Tullamore Branches of Comhaltas Ceóltóirí Eireann in Meath and Offaly respectively.

We are grateful to all who attended for their commitment and support. Many tributes were paid to Bill and at the end of the night one of Bill’s sons. Sylvester, expressed his gratitude to all who attended this commemoration.

Well known musician

Having played the melodeon almost all his life, Bill was well know at musical sessions throughout County Galway. He won the All Ireland Melodeon Competition in 1991 at the age of 76.

lt was always a joy to be in Bill’s company – his genuine smile, warm handshake and his musical talent endeared him to young and old alike.

Open house

Bill and his wife Molly were legendary for their hospitality. Their home in Coldwood was the venue for many wonderful traditional sessions. Musicians gathered from far and wide to be at Bills to play tunes and sing songs in front of the blazing open turf fire. To his wife Molly. sons and daughters-in-law, we send our sincerest sympathy.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Mary Murray is a member of the well-known Murray musical family and is a Resource Teacher for Special Needs at Carnaun School.

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About this record

Written by Mary Murray

Published here 17 Jul 2023 and originally published Summer 2002

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