Donegal musician's cherished fiddle is to be repaired

DAA steps up after Mairéad's 19th-century fiddle damaged at airport

By Staff Reporter

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Donegal musician's cherished fiddle is to be repaired

Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh

Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh of Altan said the DAA has agreed to cover the cost of repairs to her cherished, 19th-century fiddle, after the instrument was seriously damaged while Mairéad was going through security at Dublin Airport.

The fiddle was a gift to Mairéad from her father, Francie Mooney, who passed away in 2006, and Mairéad said she had travelled thousands of times with the precious instrument, without incident, before last week.

Mairéad was leaving from Dublin Airport for the Shetland Islands in Scotland, where she is recording.

After Mairéad contacted DAA to inform them of the incident, she said she received an email later that evening from the head of DAA to apologise and say the authority would cover the cost of repair and of hiring a replacement in the meantime.

Speaking to Highland Radio, Mairéad called the outcome a good resolution, and said she had thanked DAA profusely for accepting responsibility.

She said she was “devastated” when the fiddle broke. 

Mairéad told Highland that when she was at security, the delicate instrument was taken from its case and examined by security staff, who replaced it in the case. However, the case was left unfastened, and the fiddle fell from the case as Mairéad went to pick it up.

She said normally she would be expected to take the fiddle from the case and hand it to security, but this was not done on this occasion. Instead, the fiddle was taken from her for examination.

Mairéad said after the case fell she also lost a personal trinket given to her by another fiddle player that she carried in the case for luck.

She said she was fortunate to have been heading to the Shetlands, an area known for fiddle music and its violin makers. Ewen Thompson, a world-renowned violin maker, is to repair her fiddle.

“I’m delighted,” she said.