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I am Niall, from Sandymount strand in Dublin (hear my accent here), but living in the East Bay now (after 3 years in Boston and 20 or so in New Hampshire). I am an unabashed grown up sixties man. My main avocation is playing the bodhran (pronounced bowrawn), a hand held frame drum used to accompany traditional Irish music and which is often called the heartbeat of Irish music. It is not a favorite instrument with a lot of musicians as too many who cannot play it think they can. I like to comment that the bodhran may be the heartbeat of Irish music but too often it needs a triple bypass. The picture below was taken at Tír na nÓg in Somerville, MA which was a magical place for me until a row between the owners destroyed the magic. I play most Sundays at the Star and the Plough in San Francisco. Here is a link with Information about the bodhran. Given an opportunity I am also given to spoken word performing .. the aforesaid recitations, serious poetry (much of it by my father, Donagh MacDonagh), stories and auld chat. You can hear me recite Lament for Thomas MacDonagh by Francis Ledwidge. To fully understand the poem you need to know that "The Dark Cow" is an allegorical name for Ireland. Thomas MacDonagh was my grandfather and you can read more about him at the link below. Needless to say I am fond of my pint .. a good pint of draught Guinness is mother's milk - but bottled Guinness is the devil's pee.

My most recent project was getting a major body of tradional Irish songs collected by my Dad in the 40s and 50s up onto a website so that they will be available to a wider audience of singers than now. If at all interested, you can check it out at: Donagh MacDonagh Song Collection

My father was a distinguished poet and playwright. For a link to some of his writing, go here:

The writings of Donagh MacDonagh

Some poetry by and about my grandfather, Thomas MacDonagh.

My grandaunt, Grace Gifford Plunkett, was also a remarkable woman. She married Joseph Mary Plunkett on May 3, 1916 knowing that he would be executed at dawn the next morning. I had thought of creating a website on her but found that it has already been done to great effect by Valery Mallin. Check out Grace Plunkett.

Please feel free to e-mail with any comments. Write to

East Bay, CA
United States