Ned Coleman

    Ned Coleman, who hails from Kylebrack,Loughrea, is one of the best known and loved musicians from our area. Ned has played music with all the great musicians for the last fifty years. Ned started learning the melodeon and tin whistle at the age of seven from his mother who was an accomplished melodeon player. He remembers the first tune he learned to play on the melodeon was the jig "Trip to the Cottage". He started playing a Flute he got on loan from his neighbour Jack Downey at ten years of age. From a young age he remembers musicians from the local area coming to his home to play music. But it was at Downeys that Ned learnt most of his music in the early years. Downeys was an open house for music where musicians from far and near gathered for sessions, sometimes seven nights a week. Musicians such as Jack Coughlan,Tommy Whelan and a young Joe Burke came on a regular basis to play with the Downeys, Jack, Mick and Maurice. As a young man, Ned started travelling with Maurice Downey and others to play at dances in halls such as Ballinakill and Kilreekil.
Which one is Ned? Ned and twin sister Kitty with their father Tom.

     Ned, an All Ireland Senior Champion on the flute, competed at the first six Fleadh na hEireann including the 1955 Fleadh, which was held in Loughrea and included other locals including Paddy Carty and the eventual winner Peter Broderick. Ned was also a member of the Leitrim Ceili Band which went on to win the All Ireland Ceili Band competition. He also played with other Ceili Bands including the Tynagh, Pallas and Abbey Ceili Bands.


Pat McMahon, Ned with Helen and Paddy Collins

   Ned made two recordings with his great friend the late Pat McMahon. Ned and Pat produced and played on a tape called "LOUGHREA PAYS TRIBUTE TO THE LATE Dr BILL LOUGHNANE" which was a compilation of local musicians and was promoted and funded by Agnes O Donnell. They were accompanied by Helen Collins on Piano. Later Ned and Pat along with Sean Walsh and accompanied by Carl Hession on piano, made a tape called "MUSIC FROM GALWAY VOL 1" which is a fitting tribute to his unique style on the flute.

Pat McMahon

     Ned, who has had some medical problems recently, was in great form when some committee members visited his home and were made feel very welcome by Ned and his wife Nancy. When asked who was the best musician he ever played with, he said that it had to be Finbarr Dwyer with the late Jack Coughlan his favourite flute player. He is looking forward to getting back playing again and enjoying the crack wherever there is a tune. It won't be long before he will be back playing at his local "The Hill Bar" in his favourite corner every Tuesday and Saturday. In the last few years, he has been playing with some members of the branch every Monday night in Kellehers, Loughrea and will hopefully be joining us soon. He has always been a great supporter of our branch and loves to see all the young people playing music and enjoys nothing more than joining them for them for a tune.

Ned playing in Kellehers, Loughrea

Ned with Seamus Connolly in Highbury, London

Ned with branch Vice Chairman Vincent Costello.

Ned at home when branch officers visited.

Listen to Ned on the following tracks


A Tribute to Ned Coleman

  When we hear the word musician, one thing comes to mind
Loughrea has lost some noted ones, their equal hard to find
We are proud to have Ned Coleman, listening to him play
His winning the All-Ireland was a very special day.

His music made an impact at all the places he did play
For years he travelled widely, playing many miles away
Meeting players in his travels, many friends he'd make
Playing with the best of them was just a piece of cake.

The band was incomplete if Ned Coleman wasn't there
No one to replace him, one could sense it in the air
One is sure to have a pleasent time, when visiting his home
It was Irish music all the way,who could ask for more.

One can often hear him play in a pub they call "The Hill"
If one loves Irish music it's there you'll get your fill
No better place to go when the long day's work is done
Ned, we hope you'll go on playing for many years to come.

Composed by Agnes O' Donnell August 1998