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Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh
Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh was born and raised in the Gaoth Dobhair Gaeltacht in northwest Donegal. She qualified as a primary school teacher, but became a professional musician in the late Eighties. She is best known for her vocals and fiddle playing with the internationally renowned group Altan. The name of the band comes from Loch Altan, a lake near her native Gaoth Dobhair.

Mairéad learnt to play the fiddle from her father Francie, a great musician with a wealth of unusual local tunes, many learnt in turn from his mother, Róise. Mairéad has always had an equal love of singing and learnt many of the songs in her repertoire from neighbours and friends in Gaoth Dobhair.

As well as her work with Altan, over the years Mairéad has presented traditional music programmes on radio and television, including the classic radio show, ‘The Long Note’ and the television series, ‘The Pure Drop’.

In this programme we meet Mairéad, her father Francie and her nephew Ciarán (winner of TG4’s Young Musician of the Year Award 2003), as they play a selection of lively Donegal tunes.


Rugadh agus tógadh Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh i nGaeltacht Ghaoth Dobhair i dTír Chonaill. Cáilíodh í mar mhúinteoir bunscoile, ach chuaigh sí leis an gceol go lánaimseartha ag deireadh na n-ochtóidí. Tá aithne uirthi mar amhránaí agus mar fhidléir le hAltan, an grúpa ceoil a bhfuil cáil idirnáisiúnta bainte amach aige. Ainmníodh an grúpa as Loch Altan, atá in aice le paróiste dúchais Mhairéad.

D’fhoghlaim Mairéad an fhidléireacht óna hathair Francie, ceoltóir den scoth a bhfuil stór mór port aige óna cheantar dúchais, ar fhoghlaim sé go leor acu óna mháthair Róise. Tá Mairéad an-tógtha leis an amhránaíocht ó bhí sí óg agus fuair sí go leor de na hamhráin atá aici ó chomharsana agus ó chairde dá cuid i nGaoth Dobhair.

Le cois a cuid oibre le hAltan, rinne Mairéad cláracha ceoil thraidisiúnta a chur i láthair ar an raidió agus ar an teilifís thar na blianta, ina measc ‘The Long Note’ ar an raidió agus an tsraith ‘The Pure Drop’ a craoladh ar RTÉ.

Sa chlár seo, seinneann Mairéad dreas port bríomhar as Dún na nGall, i gcuideachta lena hathair Francie agus a nia Ciarán (a bhuaigh Gradam TG4, Ceoltóir Óg na Bliana, in 2003).