Irish Fiddle Makers (general questions and recomemdations)

Irish Fiddle Makers (general questions and recomemdations)

I’m looking to upgrade from my mid range fiddle and was considering buying from a luthier. All my previous fiddles were either bought from Crehans (which is where I usually go with all my fiddle queries), general music shops or from friends (or friends of friends) so I feel really out of my depth. My two main problems are that (one) I don’t know any Irish luthiers specialising in fiddles and (two) I don’t know what to expect (in terms of price, buying process, options, etc). I’ve been asking around but everyone I know either hasn’t bought from a luthier or doesn’t play fiddle. I’d really appreciate any recommendations or advice 🙂

[ A little bit of info that might help with anyone replying -> Realistically, I’ll be buying a new fiddle after lockdown. I’m from Dublin (and I am perfectly happy going anywhere in Ireland). I’ve been playing since I was a child and am committed to trad so money isn’t a huge issue as hopefully this fiddle will last me a long while (but I am looking for good value, I’d prefer not to pay mad money) ]

Re: Irish Fiddle Makers (general questions and recomemdations)

I believe this gentleman is a fourth generation violin maker, also a great player taught by the late Sean Maguire. In Ballymena, some way north of you : https://www.facebook.com/BraidRiverViolins/

Re: Irish Fiddle Makers (general questions and recommendations)

Hi Roisin,
Gerry O’Connor (the fiddle one, not the banjo one) in Dundalk, County Louth is making and selling fiddles. I asked him and he said he is open for business. I just posted an event that he is hosting on facebook live every Wednesday night 6.30pm Irish time. He is doing this half an hour session inside his fiddle workshop, so you can see a selection of his fiddles in the background.

Re: Irish Fiddle Makers (general questions and recomemdations)

Marin, Jerry and Elke, thank you so much for the recommendations! Now I can keep myself during lockdown by researching fiddles 🙂

Re: Irish Fiddle Makers (general questions and recomemdations)

I’m all about buying local, but I wouldn’t limit yourself just to Irish makers if you want a bench-made fiddle. I’ve owned or possessed 10 different fiddles and one of things I’ve learnedis find the luthier who makes instruments that work for you, as well as someone you can work with on matters of setup etc., which are just as important as the instrument build quality. Most good ones will probably have at least one instrument completed in the shop for you to try. You’re looking at a significant investment, so I would focus on finding the instrument that works best for you, even if you have to go further afield.