Barney and the Circle to reform in aid of Hospice

DONEGAL legends Barney and the Circle are to reunite for a concert in aid of Donegal Hospice.

The gig, taking place in the Amharclann, Gaoth Dobhair on August 26, is being organised ahead of Barney McDaid’s 80th birthday.

The Circle – Barney McDaid, Patrick Doherty, Noel Sweeney and Michael Hayes – played pubs, clubs and dancehalls during the heady days of the 1970s and early 1980s.


Helping organise the charity concert is Barney’s daughter, well known singer and Artist in Residence, Amharclann Ghaoth Dobhair, Bri Carr, Tina McLaughlin, and all the McDaid boys and families.

When I think of our childhood with Barney as our dad, the man who was always working for the community, playing music in all the nursing homes, the hospitals, the hospice, the children’s parties, the Letterkenny Reunion, the Lord Mayor of Letterkenny fundraisers, the GAA fundraisers, all over the county, yet still was our dad, playing football in the field beside our house, bringing us to climb trees and on adventures in and out of Arranmore, Gweedore and everywhere in between;  and our childhood with Kate as our Mum, strong, steady and always supportive behind him, as she brought up seven children, fielded all the phone calls, enquiries, made tea – and shared dinners –  for all the musicians and friends who passed through our kitchen for the last almost six decades, always with a smile on her face and a quip to keep us all laughing and on our toes, I think how very very fortunate we were – and are – to be the sons and daughters of Barney and Kathleen McDaid, we are the original Barney and the Circle.

“It is with great delight that as Dad approaches his 80th birthday at the end of the month, that he gets the opportunity not only to play for his own birthday, as he still plays for everyone else in day centres, homes and other charity events, but to reunite with the boys who have made Barney and the Circle band a household name on the lips of the older generation who adored the music, the craic and the sense of community created by these amazing men and their families down through the years.

“As my siblings and I grew up, and later the grandchildren, we also grew to appreciate the legacy Barney and the Circle has left behind in our community, everyone knew us as ‘Barney’s wains’, and had a story or two to tell about some occasion or another where dad and the boys in the Circle brightened someone’s life.

“Now we all look forward to celebrating that legacy with a concert ‘For Old time’s Sake’ in the Amharclann Ghaothdobhair on Friday, August 26 at 7pm, as all the old friends reunite on stage for a night of nostalgia and music, with Bean an Tí Áine Ní Churrain, and musicians from all eras of Barney and the Circle – Noel Sweeney, Patrick Doherty, Fergus Cleary, Michael Hayes, Martin Mullen, Anne Biddie, Sheila and John McElhinney, TJ McNamee, Johnny Haughey, myself and Tina McLaughlin and many more, in flesh and on screen, all for the Donegal Hospice, a cause close to Dad’s heart, and ours as a family.

An advert from the early 1980s for Barney and the Circle.

“Please help us help Dad celebrate his very special birthday,” they added.


Tickets are available in Clarkes Newsagents, Amharclann, Donegal Hospice and Roarty’s Filling Station, Dunlewey from Thursday, August 18 and a bus is available from Letterkenny to and from the event. All details and information are available on the Donegal Hospice website and idonate page.

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