Roger Millington Publishing...
May 2015. With great regret we announce the passing of Packie Manus Byrne on 12 May 2015. He died peacefully, in Killybegs Community Hospital, surrounded by family and friends.
News - October 2014. Still lucid at 97, and with his trenchant sense of humour still as sharp as ever, Packie Manus is in poor physical health. In recent years he has spent some time in hospital and being cared for in the home of relatives. He now moves with the aid of a walker and goes out very seldom. His hearing is not good and he has trouble understanding radio or TV, and even telephone calls. Conversations involving more than one speaker are also very hard for him to decipher. But he has no trouble understanding direct conversations with a single speaker, and his ability to listen to music is unaffected.
September 2008. Packie is still living at home in Ardara, Co. Donegal. As always, and especially during the summer months, he has a steady flow of visitors, known and previously unknown, from all over the world. And as always, there is a creative project in the works: recently he has been collaborating with a young singer, Cliona Heena, who has been taking an interest in his songwriting output.
Recently Cliona recorded two of Packie's songs on a benefit CD, with proceeds to go to the Alzheimer's society. At the launch in Ardara in April 2008, sales brought in over €5,000! In the wake of this success, Cliona has decided to make a full-length CD of 14 of Packie's songs. Watch this space for details.
You can see some pictures of the launch on the official photographer's website. Scroll down to nos. 19-21 for some nice shots of Cliona and Packie.
September 2003. This year his home town of Ardara, Donegal (pronounced Ar-DRAH, by the way) made Packie the guest of honour at the "Cup of Tae" festival on the weekend of 4-6 May. The festival (the first edition was last year, in honour of the town's celebrated fiddler, John "The Tae" Gallagher) featured a delayed local launch of Packie's three books, and at a special Friday night concert dedicated to Packie, performers from the local area and from England sang Packie's songs and played Packie's tunes.
2002 was a very active year for Packie. After close to 10 years of more or less staying put, he decided it was time get out and about a little more and appeared at several festivals in Ireland and England, including the traditional song festival held in the Inishowen area of Donegal, England's National Folk Festival in April, and the Sidmouth International Festival (Devon) in August. He capped this year with and a mini-tour of folk clubs in the London area in September, in the company of the young Inishowen singer Breda McKinney. These appearances were a very welcome development from a man who had refused to sing or play in public for over 10 years, and who had not travelled to England in many years because of fragile health.