Dermot Byrne, Button Accordion, Ceol na Coille Summer School, Letterkenny, Co.Donegal, Ireland, July 2019

Dermot Byrne

Dermot Byrne – Button Accordion

Huge announcement now as we welcome one of the most exceptional musicians in traditional music, Dermot Byrne as our box tutor this summer!

The winner of TG4’s Traditional Musician of the Year 2013 Byrne hails from Buncrana in the Inishowen peninsula, the most northerly part of Donegal, and has played accordion since a very young age, having learned from his father Tomás O’Beirn, who comes from Teileann area of South West Donegal.

Dermot had the good fortune to meet all the greats of Donegal music including Johnny Doherty, Con Cassidy, Tommy Peoples, Danny Meehan and many more, and they made a great impact on the young Dermot and helped him to develop a unique style. His seemingly effortless playing, combined with great subtlety, and a faultless ear, makes him one of the great accordion players of his generation.

Dermot guested on two Altan recordings, “The Red Crow” and “Island Angel” before joining the band in 1994, and was a member until 2013, during which time he recorded five further albums with them. He has played on collaborations with many great musicians including Seamus McGuire and Manus McGuire, Frankie Gavin, Pierre Schryer, Salsa Celtica and the late jazz violinist, Stephane Grappelli. His eponymous solo recording, which he has reissued recently, received great critical acclaim.


Catriona Gribben – Piano Accordion

Catriona is a piano accordionist and singer from Gaoth Dobhair. Having grown up among fantastic local musicians she has a distinctive Donegal influence in her playing. Catriona is an experienced performer having competed in Fleadh Ceoil competitions from a young age and touring Ireland Scotland Germany and New York State with An Crann Óg. Catriona now lives in Belfast where she has studied music and gigged for the past 5 years. Catriona has recently spent time collecting and documenting ‘at-risk’ repertoire from the northwest of Donegal during her Masters in Research at Queens University. She recently released an album on BandCamp containing some of this important song collection.