Sabine & Dick Glasgow
Causeway Wedding Music: causewaymusic.info
Two tunes I composed, as a tribute to the late, great Fiddle player, Sean McGlaughlin of Armoy, known locally as The Shadow.
Hornpipe: The Square Pint
Reel: The Shadow
Sean was from Armoy, and was known far and wide for his many recordings and even won the All-Ireland Senior Fiddle Competition in 1958.
When he was nine he acquired his first violin and was soon in demand for playing at local Ceilidhs. He learned much of his early music from Ballymoney Fiddler James Kealy. During the 2nd World War Sean fought with the 1st Battallion of Royal Ulster Rifles. After the war he came home to Armoy but had to head to England again, looking for work.
In 1958, back home, he won the All-Ireland Senior Fiddle competition, which was in Longford that year. His opponents that year were Sean Gallagher from Donegal and Sean O’Laughlin from Clare. He was last to play and after playing, was asked to stand at the back of the stage while the other two competitors were asked to play again. The audience assumed that Sean had been placed third and that the other two competitors were being asked to play again to decide first & second place, but in fact Sean McLaughlin was the Champion, much to the delight of the crowd.
Living by Armoy myself, I have heard a few stories about the bold Sean, of lost days spent doing nothing but drinking & Fiddle playing with his great friend Sean McGuire. He was a very fine painter too & I've heard stories of how he actually painted the walls of his home with landscapes and of the time when he even sold his Sofa for drink money & in its place, just painted a very realistic Sofa on the wall of his living room. However, my favourite tale must be of the time he borrowed a Fiddle.
You see, one of Sean's neighbours had a good Fiddle, but he wasn't actually able to play it himself and one time, when Sean was down on his luck, Sean asked to borrow the Fiddle to play in a competition. The competition over, Sean hung on to the Fiddle & weeks went by but the poor neighbour was never seeing his Fiddle being returned, so one day, thinking he might never see it again, he went up & banged on Sean's door & demanded the immediate return of his Fiddle. So Sean handed back the Fiddle to this non-musician with the immortal line ~
"You can ha'e yer Fiddle, but I ha'e the Tunes."
Sean was indeed a great friend of that other legendary Antrim fiddler Sean McGuire R. I. P. and as well as being an excellent Fiddler, he also composed a number of lovely tunes like McLaughlin’s Dream, Golden Shadows and McLaughlin’s Lament.
So young John grew up to be known as Sean, but most local folk around here simply remember him by his nickname ~ The Shadow.