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Martin Gaffney lives in Dublin. He comes originally from Killeshandra, Co. Cavan. At age six, Martin was taught the ‘flageolet’ in the Killeshandra Juvenile Marching Band by local ceilí band Piccolo player Tommy Curran. Later he learned the concert flute and played with Slogadh winners, The St. Patrick’s Ceili Band. Martin also plays piano and piano accordion and composes slow airs and traditional dance tunes. His early influences were from his parents musical heritage, the Fitzpatrick’s of Mountain lodge and the Gaffney’s of Leitrim and Roscommon. During his youth he learned his music from local Comhaltas musicians in Killeshandra including fiddlers, John P. O’Reilly, Pakie Fay, Ted Sweeney, Eugene Leddy and tin whistle player Bobby Hands.

Martin performed with All Ireland Wrenboy champions ‘The Killeshandra Wrenboys’. He won the Vincent Broderick trophy for ‘best flute player’ at the Galway Mummers festival and wrote and composed a stage show ‘The story of St. Patrick’ in music and song for the troupes Irish and American tours.

Martin moved to Sligo to study Art and Design in the late seventies where he played regularly with fiddler Joe O’Dowd and local Comhaltas musicians in ‘the Trades Club’. He was a regular visitor to Keadue and learned much of his flute music from Leitrim Flute players Packie Duignan and Josie McDermott. He has lived in Dublin since 1982 and has played with a number of traditional and contemporary music groups. One of the first ensembles included Vinnie Kilduff, Dick Hogan and Noreen O’Donohue. He has also performed with Leslie Dowdall and Paul Brennan. He was also a member of ‘Boo to a Goose’ with fiddler Phillip Duffy of Gurteen.

In the mid-nineties, Martin formed a ceili band with Leitrim Fiddler and concertina player Gene Anderson that included banjo player John Carlos of Roscommon. The band recorded and released a live album from the Polyball in Zurich in 1995. More recently Martin plays with the group Cuilcagh, with singer Art Duffy, box player Seamus Walshe and Kilfenora fiddler James Devitt. The group plays venues in Ireland including the Clifden Arts festival and Dublins St. Enda’s Club.

In October 2001, Martin recorded the low whistle instrumental on the ‘b side’ of the single "The Homes of Donegal’ music from the TV commericial released by composer John Walshe and singer Roisin O’Reilly,

Martin is well known as one of the founders of Designworks, an award winning design consultancy since 1983 in Dublin. His studio has built up a considerable portfolio of work in Traditional Irish Music circles with Music Network tour posters, numerous album covers including Sean Smith, Cormac Breathnach & Meristem, Finbar Wright and piper Martin Nolan. Designworks recently provided design support for the Cavan County Council Traditional music compilation ‘A Call from the Musical heart of Cavan’ on which Martin also performs a solo track.

He has achieved acclaim for his critical audio visual lectures on the design of traditional Irish music album covers, ‘Do judge a recording by its cover’ a retrospective review of the images that have adorned traditional Irish music sleeves from the era of the 78 to the present. The lectures have been presented at the Crossroads Traditional Music conference, Temple Bar and at the Cork Arts Fest.

Martin is currently recording a solo album due for release in 2002 and planning an Irish tour and album with the group Cuilcagh.



Polkas: The Dark Haired Girl Dressed In Blue/The Merry Girl


Nationwide (Ireland) with Cuilcagh

O’Donohues Pub, Merrion Row, Dublin with Shay Fogerty & Antoin MacGabhann, Fridays Lunchtime

The Shamrock Bar (‘The Tags’) Killeshandra, Co. Cavan, monthly

TV and Radio appearances:

Ceili House Radio Eireann, November 2001

The Enniscorty Sessions RTE, 2000

Apples in Winter, RTE 1, 1997

Lé Art O’Dufaigh, Radio na Gaeltacht.


Cavan County Council, all good Irish record shops

The Home of Donegal, all good Irish record shops


Various artists

A Call from the Musical Heart of Cavan. © Martin Donohue 2001. Cavan County Council. Track 1 CD 4.

July 2001

The Homes of Donegal

Single from the ‘Donegal Catch’ TV Commercial, © John Walshe., Low whistle track 3, The Homes of Donegal, TaraCD’s,

November 2001

Gene Anderson Martin Gaffney Ceili Band

Live at the Polyball, Zurich University,

November 1992.



Martin Gaffney
48 Eastmoreland Lane
Upper Baggot Street
Dublin 4

Tel:     ++353 1 6688235
Fax:    ++353 1 6600586


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Last Revised - August 28, 2012