Traditional Artist in Residence

Danny O’Mahony

(Photo by Pat Donegan)

Danny O’Mahony is a traditional accordion player from Ballyduff in North County Kerry. He grew up immersed in the rich musical style of that region, playing with the older generation of musicians in his locality. His late father Mick, also a musician, nurtured his keen ear and interest in traditional Irish music. Imaginative and fearless in his interpretation, Danny’s musical style is expressive and deeply personal. His passionate engagement with the traditions of his native area is embodied in his own creative practice and style which has brought him national and international acclaim. 2011 saw the release of Danny’s long awaited and critically acclaimed debut solo recording In Retrospect accompanied by Patsy Broderick on piano, Cyril O’Donoghue on bouzouki and Johnny ‘Ringo’ McDonagh on percussion. This was soon followed by a musical collaboration with concertina maestro Mícheál Ó Raghallaigh in 2012 resulting in a highly acclaimed duet album entitled As it Happened, recorded unaccompanied in Ó Raghallaigh’s kitchen, and awarded Instrumental Album of the year by LiveIreland Music Awards. The Shannon Vale Céilí Band was revived by Danny in 2009, having been originally formed in Ballyduff by fiddler Dr. Mick Sweeney in 1959. Some of their achievements to date include winning the prestigious All-Ireland Senior Céilí Band title at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann (2011), performing at Áras an Uachtaráin for President Michael D. Higgins on St. Patrick’s Day (2014), and releasing their debut album Shannon’s Lovely Vale. O’Mahony has a keen interest in regional styles and historical accordion practices that is integral to his own performance practices and creative exploration of musical traditions, and he has immense experience in Traditional Irish Music tuition over a period of almost three decades. He is a guest tutor in various university Irish studies programmes both nationally and internationally and is a registered tutor with the Kerry Education and Training Board. Also an experienced broadcaster, Danny presents and produces a popular weekly radio programme on Radio Kerry featuring Irish Traditional Music and Song and entitled Trip to the Cottage, which began in 2004.

In 2019 Danny was the chosen musician to inherit Tony MacMahon’s iconic accordion. Tony is one of the greatest living exponents of the accordion and this responsibility is testament to Danny’s standing and reputation within the traditional arts community.

O’Mahony will be hosted by The School of Film, Music and Theatre at UCC where the study of Irish traditional music and dance has been pioneered for many decades. It is a vital part of music studies at the university, where it stands shoulder to shoulder with classical music, popular music, jazz and various world musics, including the highly acclaimed Javanese gamelan ensemble.  He will be warmly welcomed by a team of internationally recognized traditional artists including Bobby Gardiner, Máire Ní Chéilleachair, Connie O’Connell, Colm Murphy, Conal Ó Gráda, Niall Vallely, Oisín Morrison, Mary Mitchell-Ingoldsby and Tríona Ní Shíocháin.


‘His playing style is open-hearted, abundant in personality and shot through with a raw-boned honesty ...’ Siobhán Long, Irish Times 11 July 2011


Previous artists in residence:

2018/19 Jack Talty

2017/18 Colin Dunne

2016/17 Karen Casey


Department of Music

Roinn an Cheoil

T23 HF50