|Birth name||Mary Josephine McNally|
July 26, 1930 |
Coalisland, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland
Eileen Donaghy (16 July 1930 – 26 October 2008) was an Irish traditional singer. Donaghy was well known for her recordings of ballads such as The Oul Lammas Fair and My Lagan Love and was known as the "First Lady of the Moy".
Eileen Donaghy was born Mary Josephine McNally in Brackaville, Coalisland, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Her family always called her Maisie. She was the second of three children and the elder daughter of Hugh Pat McNally and Brigid (née Corey).
Donaghy left school at 14 and worked as a darner in Derryvale weaving factory. She was one of a variety group that performed in local halls.
Donaghy married Tyrone footballer Pat Donaghy. The couple lived for a while in Coalisland, before moving to Pat's home town of Moy. Her big breakthrough was the 1958 Ulster Football Final at Clones where she sang The Boys From the County Armagh to a packed stadium. She had an instantly recognizable voice, with a clear and cheerful quality, which won her legions of fans around the world in the dozens of LPs and EPs she recorded.
She toured the world as part of the traditional folk scene in the early 1960s and was successful in Ireland, the UK, New Zealand, Australia, the US and Canada. One of her albums, "Let's Sing With The Irish" was issued on Fontona (Philips) Records in the UK and Epic Records in the US simultaneously.
She also recorded an album of rebel songs, during the times of "the troubles" in Northern Ireland. However, to avoid any problems or controversy she recorded this one album under the name of her granny, Brigid Corey. This rebel songs album was reissued on CD by Outlet Recording Company before they went defunct in the 1990s.
Her husband Pat died in 1991. They had nine children.
Donaghy's recording of My Lagan Love was included in the BBC Programme The One Hundred Best Tunes.
- Obituary, Irish Times
- Irish Times (last modified November 8, 2008). "Obituary". IT Online. Retrieved 2009-02-02.