The death has taken place of the traditional singer Rita Keane. She was 86.

Ms Keane, who was an aunt of singers Delores and Sean Keane, died in hospital in Galway last night.

Rita Keane and her elder sister Sarah, who survives her, are regarded as two of the most significant collectors and performers of songs in Irish and English from the East Galway countryside.

The sisters began their careers in the 1930s, initially playing and singing with the Keane's Ceilí Band.

In the 1960s they recorded a highly acclaimed collection entitled 'Once I Loved'.

In 1985 they released a second album, 'At the Setting of the Sun'.

In 2006 Rita and Sarah Keane were awarded the TG4 Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of their outstanding contribution to traditional music and song.

Paddy Maloney of the Chieftains, who worked closely with the sisters, said that their unique style of unison singing brought an incomparable and haunting beauty to their work.

They also had a major impact on successive generations of traditional singers.