Ireland has produced many great musicians over the years. Some are internationally recognised. Most are not. There are a lot of musical entertainers on Erin’s Green Isle who are household names in Ireland and few other places. One of these is Dessie O’Halloran, a singer and musician from the tiny island of Inisbofin (Island of the White Cow) which has approximately 180 residents and is a popular tourist destination off the Galway coast.
O’Halloran was born on 29th August, 1940 and became a renowned practitioner of Irish traditional music in both singing and playing the fiddle. He won awards in both. His biggest break came in 2001 when he managed to get into the charts with his rendition of “Say You Love Me” which reached no.4 in the Irish charts. It was later successfully released as a remix. The song (I’ve waited as long as I can) was written by Hylo Brown, a US bluegrass and country music performer (1922-2003). Dessie’s voice is unique and lends a great earthy quality to all songs. His version of Say You Love Me has a Cajun rhythm to it and is all the better for it.
At his 70th birthday party in Fagan’s Bar in Galway City, a smorgasbord of musicians and Irish celebrities turned up to pay their respects to a living legend. It was a tribute to a life well-lived, and one which brought joy to many on the Emerald Isle and beyond.
Desmond “Dessie” O’Halloran passed on from this world on 28th September, 2019. His legacy, however, lives on. The following is his biggest hit.