The news that Noel Duggan one of the original members of Clannad had suddenly died was announced on the band’s Twitter account. The statement simply read that he had died unexpectedly on October 15th going on to recall his masterly guitar playing, his love of music and his lifelong dedication to the band. He was 73.
Clannad was founded by twin Duggan brothers Noel and Padraig along with their nephews and niece Pol, Ciaran and Moya Brennan. Initially acoustic they championed Gaelic language song and melody with considerable flair and deft musicianship before moving into more commercial territory during the 1980s with television and film themes as well as hit singles proving their worth to the mainstream. They recorded with the likes of Bono from U2 and toured internationally taking their Donegal based sound far from Ireland’s shores.
Latterly there were far less recordings from Clannad, though archive releases kept their name in the spotlight. Padraig died in 2016 so the others planned one last set of gigs to say goodbye and see the band off on the right note. Such schemes fell victim to the arrival of Covid. A few dates were salvaged earlier this year, Clannad played a splendid set at Cropredy Festival in the summer to warm appreciation and enthusiastic applause. Tributes have been from across the spectrum in the music, arts and political fields which shows the respect in which Clannad and Noel Duggan in particular are held.