Founding member of Irish Celtic music pioneers Clannad passes away in Dublin

Padraig Duggan (far left) pictured with Clannad in 1988 (Photo: Tim Jarvis)
Padraig Duggan (far left) pictured with Clannad in 1988 (Photo: Tim Jarvis)

Pádraig Duggan, musician, songwriter and founding member of Irish Celtic music pioneers, Clannad, died early today aged 67.

Pádraig, along with twin brother, Noel, was the youngest of six children of Aodh (Hugh) and Máire Duggan.

The brothers grew up in the Gaoth Dobhair Gaeltacht in northwest Donegal.

Clannad was formed in the early 1970s through regular performances in the family pub, Leo's Tavern.

After winning the Letterkenny Folk Festival in 1973, they embarked on a busy touring schedule - finding initial success in Europe, especially Germany.

Their music was a blend of Irish traditional songs from their native Donegal and contemporary influences of the day, such as the Beach Boys, The Beatles, the Mamas & Papas and Joni Mitchell.

Their breakthrough, and the beginning of worldwide acclaim, came in 1982 when their theme song for the TV mini-series, 'Harry's Game' became a UK hit.

Clannad became the first act to perform in the Irish language on BBC's Top of the Pops.

This success was followed by their scoring of two seasons of the highly successful 'Robin of Sherwood' TV series.

An international recording and touring career followed, spawning 25 albums and many awards, notably Ivor Novello (1982), BAFTA (1984) and a Grammy (1999) along with Irish Meteor and BBC Folk Lifetime Achievement Awards.

When Clannad took a break, Pádraig and Noel released their own album, Rubicon, in 2005 (which featured, among others, their close friend Finbar Furey) and spent much time touring Germany with traditional band Norland Wind before Clannad's reemergence in 2012.

Following a recurring illness, Pádraig passed away in Blanchardstown Hospital and is survived by his wife Jan.

The musician's wake will take place at his Dublin home from 6pm to 10pm today and 9am to 12pm tomorrow. 

Removal in Gweedore arriving at St Mary's Church Derrybeg at 7pm tomorrow and Funeral Mass at 1pm Thursday.

Tim Jarvis