HUGE crowds attended the removal and burial of one of Limerick’s best-known and best-loved country music stars, Murt Downes, who died last Friday aged 60 and was buried in his native Knockaderry.
His death stirred up man memories among his thousands of fans, for during a life full of music, Murt played and sang at dances, socials, weddings, anniversaries, fund-raisers and get-togethers. In so many ways, Murt’s music was inextricably linked with the social and community life of West Limerick and further afield.
Murt was born in Aghalin, in the parish of Knockaderry, but contracted the polio virus at a young age. However he did not allow himself to be defined by it. At the age of six, he first took to the stage and later established his name with the band he set up, the Rotation showband. This brought him into every major dance hall through Munster, playing on the same bill as some of the biggest names on the showband scene.
Murt travelled to Nashville, Tennesse where he recorded a three-track record. Murt always regarded as the highlight of his life.
Musicians paid their own tribute to him at his funeral Mass and graveside and his nephew Ger Downes spoke of his good humour, his independent spirit and his commitment to music. He is mourned by his sisters, brothers, nieces and newphews and a great many friends and other relatives.