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Seamus Healy Remembers Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin

A Farewell to Mícheál

It is with great sadness that I learned of the death of my friend Professor Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin.

Growing up together in Clonmel in the 1950's and 1960's we could never have known what a giant he would go on to become in the world of music.

A son of Clonmel, his influence spread far from the town where he was reared and although his time has been cut short, his legacy will live on in the music and the movement that he created.

As a composer, Mícheál was very much inspired by ancient traditions but not at all bound by them. He was a true pioneer in music fusing the new with the old and in the process creating something which was beautiful and unique. Mícheál distinguished himself, his family and our town by his pioneering work in the world of music which was outward looking while still acknowledging the wealth of the past.

It was my privilege to be present at the conferring of the Freedom of The Borough of Clonmel on Micheál in 2016 during the Mayoralty of my Colleague Cllr. Pat English. The highest honour his native town could bestow on him. There he joined ranks with Charles Steward Parnell, Constance Markievicz, Mary Robinson and others who also hold that distinction. He will rightly be remembered as one of our own who went out into the world and made a real difference.

In establishing the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in the University of Limerick, Mícheál elevated the status of Irish culture to the truly global and highlighted Ireland on the world map. A legend in Irish culture, he will be greatly missed.

I extend my sincere sympathies to his wife Professor Helen Phelan and their son Luke; sons Eoin and Mícheál (Moley) their mother Dr. Noirín Ni Rian and his brother John.