'Great man' | 

Damien Dempsey pays tribute to ‘incredible’ late pal and musician Seamus Begley

The renowned trad musician and singer (73) passed away on Monday.

Damien Dempsey and Seamus Begley

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

Damien Dempsey has paid tribute to the “incredible” Séamus Begley following his death earlier this week.

The renowned trad musician and singer (73) passed away on Monday.

In an Instagram post, fellow singer Damien Dempsey remembered his late pal as “one of the greatest singers” to ever live, adding that his lilt “sounded like the sun lighting up the passage grave in Newgrange on the solstice” as if it were “steeped in Kerry honey”.

Beginning the lengthy tribute, he wrote: “An Ard Ri of mighty west Kerry has passed over the great divide my friends.

“Seamus O'Beaglaoich, one of the greatest singers to ever lift an audience towards the heavens with the sweetest most beautifully toned singing voice I ever heard on a man, and with his majestic soul filled ceol, and that box playing from the heavens, and the intuitive lightning-fast Kerry wit and his way with the English language you could tell was rooted in his wonderful Gaeilge.

“I can safely say, ni bheidh a leithead aris ann, we won’t see his likes again.”

Damien said he learned many lessons from Séamus during their sessions and singsongs and was honoured to collaborate with him on his “beautiful” album, The Bold Kerryman in 2015.

The Dubliner recalled meeting Séamus for the first time at producer and first husband of Sinead O’Connor John Reynold’s 50th birthday party.

He described him as a “mountain of a man” who threw a “massive piano accordion” at him before the pair became fast friends.

“It hit me square in the chest and I thankfully held onto it and didn't drop it,” Damien penned.

“I asked him later on that night, is that how folks say hello in West Kerry? Turf a large accordion at you? 'Only if they like the look of you' he says.”

Damien spoke of the Kerryman’s “draíocht” and raw musical talent as he shared a clip of the duo harmonising together.

“I’m pretty sure Séamus had some of the greatest gigs and nights and craic that any mortal has ever experienced, so a celebration of the magic he brought to the world is in order, an incredible force of musical nature on earth.

“More power to you Seamus you Laochra Gael, best of luck on your travels, and may the great spirit hold you in the hollow of her hand, see you along the Rocky Road.”

He signed off by writing: “Grá mór. Slán go foil mo chara”.

Séamus Begley is survived by his wife, Mary, his children Breandán, Eoin, Niall and Méabh, along with an extended musical family of sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews.

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