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Musician is hoping ‘irreplaceable’ violin can be fixed

Mairead N’ Mhaonaigh playing the fiddle.


DONEGAL musician Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh is hoping that her treasured violin, damaged at Dublin Airport on Wednesday, can be mended in the coming days.
The lead vocalist with Altan was on her way through security, bound for Edinburgh, when the incident took place. She has since written to the Dublin Airport Authority.
Speaking to the Donegal News earlier this afternoon Ms Ní Mhaonaigh explained that the instrument was an irreplaceable part of her life.
“It was bought for me by my dad. It’s an antique, 19th century fiddle that was made in Paris. It’s of huge value – both monetary and sentimental – and is irreplaceable. All these fiddles are hand-made and the finger board is special in that it has different dimensions for each musician.
“This is my livelihood and pays my bills. As a musician, your instrument is your voice and you need to protect it. If I was to play someone else’s violin, it wouldn’t sound like me and it would take me ages to learn to play another fiddle so, hopefully, I’ll find someone in Shetland who can help me out,” she said.
Ms Ní Mhaonaigh was on her way to the Scottish island to record an album.
“Usually, I open and close my own case going through security checks but on this occasion it was taken away from me.
“I questioned why but was told that it had to be put on a tray and put through the x-ray machine. When I lifted the case after it had come through the machine the fiddle fell out and bounced off the floor.
“I then noticed that the finger board was detached. I went back and spoke to a supervisor who apologised profusely and then I wrote to the DAA (Dublin Airport Authority) to complain and I’m still waiting for an answer. It’s a very unsatisfactory way to be treated.
“If you are taking something valuable through security, like a fiddle, you’re normally allowed to open and close it yourself but not on this occasion,” she said.
A valuable trinket that is kept inside the fiddle case was also lost.
“It was also of great value. It was a jewel in a little silver case. We looked all over the floor but couldn’t find it. I’m not happy with the way I was treated. I knew straight away that all was not right. I’m so annoyed,” she said.
Mairéad is now hoping that she can find a fiddle-maker on Shetland who can repair her instrument.
“Like Donegal, Shetland is renowned for its fiddlers and fiddle-makers and I’m hoping that there’s someone available who can help me out. I still can’t get over how this happened. I’m very annoyed and I want answers,” she said.

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