Music, People

County Roscommon Remembers its Native Son

Tommy Moffit in Roscommon

The late Tommy Moffit (right), receiving his Hall of Fame award from Midwest Radio's Seamus Ó Dubhtaigh at the 2004 Ganley/Rushe Traditional Weekend.

The following appeared in the Roscommon Herald. It is reprinted here with the Herald’s kind permission.

Late Mr Tommy Moffit, musician

The death occurred last week, in Philadelphia, of well-known traditional musician Tommy Moffit. Tommy, a native of Errisaune, Gorthaganny, was aged 79 and passed away after a short illness.

He was a gifted musician, starting on the tin whistle before learning to play the accordion, on which he excelled. Tommy emigrated to the USA in the year of the Big Snow, 1947, when he was just 16 years of age. He first lived in Atlantic City, before eventually settling in Philadelphia. There he played with several céilí bands before setting up his own, the Tommy Moffit Band. They were very popular in the local Irish community and were in great demand for festivals, parties, dances and weddings.

In 1982 he brought the band home to Ireland and they played at several venues in the west to packed houses. Tommy hosted a Sunday morning radio show on Philadelphia radio station WTMR, The Tommy Moffit Irish Show, for over 30 years. He was the recipient of several prestigious awards for his endeavours with Irish music and culture. In 1999, he received the Philadelphia Comhaltas Person of the Year award and, in 2000, was inducted into the Comhaltas Hall of Fame.

In 2004 he was honoured in his native place when the Ganley/Rushe Traditional Weekend in Gorthaganny presented him with another Hall of Fame award. He was particularly pleased with this, saying that he felt it was a special honour to have been remembered in the home he had left so long ago.

Tommy was predeceased by his wife, Peggy, née Harrington, Bushfield, Charlestown; his brother Eugene, Errisaune; sisters, Mary Ellen Mahon, Dromod, and Kathleen Haverty, Philadelphia.

He is survived by his daughters, Cathy and Mary, both Philadelphia, and son, Thomas, California, as well as many grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Following requiem mass in St Joseph’s Church, his burial took place in Philadelphia on Saturday, May 15th.

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