Honored posthumously, February 23, 1996
Perhaps more than most, the late Jim Conway represented the heart of Irish music’s living tradition. For the famous Friday nights at the Conway home in the truest sense kept the wonderful Irish house music tradition alive.
Though a better fiddler than his reticence and modesty acknowledged, Jim’s greatest legacy is easily found in the his friends and the young people, his own children and others, to whom he was the spark igniting the love of Ireland’s musical heritage.
Jim Conway was born in Plumbridge, Tyrone, a country long renowned for the quality of its traditional music. Jim and his wife Rose, from nearby Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone, emigrated to New York, and their Bronx home was for years renowned for Friday night sessions that attracted the best of New York’s traditional musicians and produced many of today’s best new players. Among them was the great Sligo fiddler Martin Wynne. Jim’s son Brian became a student of Martin, himself taught by Michael Coleman’s brother Jim and Lad O’Beirne’s father Philip. Brian went on to capture two All-Ireland fiddle crowns, including the 1986 senior title. Jim’s daughter Rose played with the original Cherish the Ladies group and now teaches fiddle. Sons Paul, Sean and James have also kept alive their parents’ love for the music. Jim and Rose were among the founders of the Michael Coleman Branch and Rose still serves as Runnai. Brian kept that tradition, too, serving as Cathaopirleach and now as Leas Cathaoirleach.
With Jim Conway’s death on August 22, 1991, Comhaltas and Irish traditional music lost one of their truest and most passionate friends. Few are more worthy of election to the Comhaltas Hall of Fame.
Ar Deis Do Go Raibh A Anam.