Fergus O'Byrne

Fergus O'Byrne
Fergus O'Byrne
Born Dublin, Ireland
Nationality Irish-Canadian
Occupation folk musician

Fergus O'Byrne is an Irish-Canadian folk musician, best known as a member of the popular Irish-Newfoundland band trio Ryan's Fancy, and as a banjo, concertina and bodhrán player.


O'Byrne was born in Dublin, Ireland. In the late 1960s, he emigrated to Toronto, Canada, where he met Dermot O’Reilly, Ralph O'Brien and Gary Kavanagh and performed as a member of the The Sons of Erin band. When The Sons of Erin parted ways, O'Byrne, Kavanagh and O'Reilly completed their remaining tour commitments as O'Reilly's Men and later formed Sullivan's Gypsies with Don Sullivan.

In 1971, O'Byrne moved to St. John’s Newfoundland with the rest of the trio of Ryan's Fancy to begin what was to become a very recognizable music icon in the traditional Irish folk music for Newfoundland.

In 1983 the band broke up, and O'Byrne started a solo and freelance career, touring throughout Canada, the United States, Europe and Hong Kong.

In 1987 O'Byrne graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland with a degree in Education, then serving on the Board of Directors of the St. John's Folk Arts Council and the programming committee of the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival in St. John's.

He became a member of the band Tickle Harbour, which won three awards at the 1999 Newfoundland Music Industry Association Awards.

O'Byrne performed regularly with Dermot O'Reilly, one of his former Ryan's Fancy bandmates, until O'Reilly's death in February 2007.

O'Byrne currently performs as part of a duo with Jim Payne, as a member of the band A Crowd of Bold Sharemen, and with his son, Fergus Brown-O'Byrne. He also facilitates a program to encourage youth participation in music, under the auspices of the St. John's Folk Arts Council; this program features a yearly workshop and concert for young traditional musicians known as "Young Folk at the Hall."


Guest appearances


2004 - Dr. Helen Creighton Lifetime Achievement Award awarded to Ryan's Fancy by the East Coast Music Association [2]

See also


  1. "Make the Circle Wide". Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  2. "Crush smashes the competition at music awards". CBC News. 16 February 2004. Retrieved 27 April 2013.

External links

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