Mainistir na Búille

Town of Boyle
Seán 'ac Dhonncha (alternatively, Seán 'ac onna (1919–1996) was a traditional Irish singer. Born in Carna, Conamara, more...

Seán ‘ac Dhonncha (alternatively, Seán ‘ac onna (1919–1996) was a traditional Irish singer. Born in Carna, Conamara, Co. Galway, he won a scholarship to Coláiste Éinde and qualified as a primary teacher in 1940. He taught in Co. Cavan from 1947, and later spent twenty five years as principal of Ahascragh national school. He was the first traditional singer to record with Gael Linn; won a gold medal at the 1953 Oireachtas; and was awarded the Gradam Shean-Nós Cois Life in 1995. In 1971, Claddagh Records released An Aill Báin (The White Rock): Songs in Irish and English from Connemara. In 1994, Cló Iar-Chonnachta released a CD of his songs in Irish and English, entitled Seán ‘ac Dhonncha: An Spailpín Fánach.”

From Ómós do Sheán ‘Ac Dhonncha: His parents had a great commitment to education and, though they had little money, all the family went to school and college. Seán won a scholarship to Coláiste Caoimhín in Dublin and also to St. Patrick’s Training College in Drumcondra. While there, he studied the songs of Munster and Donegal in Irish and in English. He met the great musician Séamus Ennis when he was working as a collector with the Folklore Commission and they exchanged songs. They remained life-long friends.

Seán always continued with the singing and won the gold medal at the Oireachtas in 1953. He was the first to be recorded by Gael Linn on their series of 78rpm recordings in 1957. He made 6 other recordings for them which are now available in the Seoltaí Séide collection. Ceirníní an Chladaigh released “An Aill Bháin – The White Rock” of songs in Irish and English from Connemara in 1971. In 1987 Cló Iar-Chonnachta issued “An Spailpín Fánach” of Seán’s singing. He was awarded “Gradam Shean-Nóis Cois Life” in 1995.

Seán died after an illness on the 14th of December 1996 and is buried in Áth Eascrach. Bríd his good wife is still full of the love of her life, happily living in their home at the edge of the town and delighted that the life, singing and friendships of her life’s partner are being celebrated officially in 2011.

Boyle (Irish: Mainistir na Búille) is a town in County Roscommon, Ireland.

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I spent seven weeks
in the town of Boyle
lying on my bed,
but awake and not asleep.
I was expecting every half-hour
that you would bring the priest secretly with you,
but you were deceiving me
and í have lost my reputation because of you.
And isn't it fine for the cabin
that my love goes to drink in;
isn't it fine for the path
that he lays his shoe upon;
isn't it fine for the nice young girl
that will get him in marriage;
he is the guiding star of the morning
and the light of the evening.
May it not be long until
I get a letter with news from you;
may it not be long until
I get to open and read it;
may it not be long until
I see the priest in his surplice,
and we with yellow gold
in our pockets and we married to each other

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