Leo Brennan: Tributes paid to Irish musician, father of Enya and Clannad

Leo and his son Bartley Brennan at Leo's Tavern Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption Leo and his son Bartley Brennan at Leo's Tavern

Tributes have been paid to Leo Brennan, father of musicians Enya and Moya Brennan from Clannad, who has passed away at the age of 90.

He died on Wednesday at his home in Gweedore, County Donegal, surrounded by his family.

His daughter, Moya, tweeted: "We will miss him so much but what a wonderful life."

Mr Brennan spent much of his life playing accordion, saxophone and singing with the Slieve Foy Dance Band.

'Generous man'

In 1968 he set up 'Leo's Tavern'. It became synonymous with Irish traditional music attracting many star names.

Cathal Póirtéiron, a writer and presenter with RTÉ, knew Leo Brennan well.

"Anybody who knew Leo at all would have very fond memories of him because he was just a very decent man.

"You couldn't walk through the door of the pub but he'd have a quick look and if you'd ever been fortunate, or unfortunate enough, to have been called to sing a song or play a bit of music 10, 15 or 20 years before that, Leo would remember and the call would come and you really couldn't refuse him. He was really a very generous man.

"I would have started going up to west Donegal in the 70s and 80s and if you went in to Leo's he would be playing and if you went to the Errigal hotel in Gweedore his sister Anne-Marie would be playing."

Image copyright Warner Bros
Image caption Enya recorded her first, self-titled album in 1986

A statement on Enya Brennan's Facebook said: "It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Enya's father, Mr Leo Brennan.

"Enya had the opportunity to be with her father during his last days. Leo died peacefully this morning at home, surrounded by his family.

"Our thoughts are with Enya at his time. Enya and her family request privacy during this time, as you will understand."

Image copyright Moya Brennan

Five family members, including four of Leo Brennan's children, began their musical career forming the group Clannad.

They achieved worldwide fame with their distinctive brand of Celtic harmony.

Enya left the group and went on to pursue a successful solo career, selling more than 80 million albums around the world.

Moya Brennan has been nominated for two Grammys and won an Emmy Award as part of the team involved in a two-part American documentary on Irish music.

Leo Brennan's funeral will take place in Derrybeg, County Donegal on Friday.

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