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Garech de Brún and Claddagh’s History

Claddagh Records was set up in 1959 by the Hon. Garech Browne (19) and his friend, Ivor Browne, both students of Leo Rowsome, one of Ireland’s leading uileann pipers.

Their efforts to interest the established international record companies in recording a long-playing record of his Rowsome’s music met with little enthusiasm. And so the two young men set about establishing a record company that would record traditional Irish music, poetry and the spoken word.

The following year Claddagh Records was born when Leo Rowsome’s Ri na bPiobairi (King of Pipers) was released.

Leading poets including Patrick Kavanagh, Austin Clarke, John Montague and Seamus Heaney recorded for Claddagh. The spoken word recordings also extended to Scottish poets, among them Hugh MacDiarmid, Sorley MacLean and George MacKay Browne. 

More albums by The Chieftains followed and other artists whose works were released on the Irish label included Liam O’Flynn, Tommy Potts, Seamus Ennis and Matt Molloy. 

Classical music was also to feature – notably Frederick May’s 1936 String Quartet in C Minor (1974), recordings of Brahms and Bach by Bernadette Greevy and an interpretation of John Field’s nocturnes by Veronica McSwiney.

In the mid-1960s Samuel Beckett presided over the recording of extracts of his work, read by the actor Jack McGowran.

Some years later Garech Browne inveigled composer Sean O’Riada  to record Irish airs and dance music at a his home in Luggala. O’Riada’s Farewell was recorded just months before the composer died and was posthumously released.

The Claddagh Records catalogue is a truly unique rich reservoir of Irish music and the spoken word.

The Hon. Garech Browne  June 25, 1939 – March 11, 2018