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Last Fiddle Master

Pádraig Ó Caoimh is largely regarded as the greatest fiddler of the Sliabh Luachra style, and one of the greatest fiddlers of all time. Generous with his extraordinary talents, his death marked the end of the travelling Fiddlemasters of Munster. (1980)

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Last Fiddle Master

Pádraig Ó Caoimh (O’ Keeffe) was born in 1887 at Gleantán, Co. Kerry, the eldest of a large family. Gleantáin is a remote place in the mountains about half-way between Castleisland and Ballydesmond. His father was the principal of the local national school and his mother, Margaret O'Callaghan, came from a well-known musical family, the O'Callaghan's of Doon, or Doonasleen, a district to the south of Kiskeam in County Cork.

The young Ó Caoimh spend many years of his childhood in O'Callaghans and it was here that he first learned to play the fiddle. Pádraig trained as a primary school teacher and when his father passed away he became the principal of the national school but later resigned due to a rift with the local inspector. 

After being removed from his post, Pádraig got a job with the Ministry of Labour in Tralee. However, he didn't stick this job very long and returned to his native place to become a travelling teacher of music. It was as a teacher of the fiddle that he made a living for the rest of his life. 

Pádraig never married and he called his fiddle, "The Wife". 

Produced and presented by Pat Feeley. (First Broadcast on the 8th of October 1980) 

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