Conor started playing the 4 string tenor banjo at age 8, however his musical journey started long before this. Ever since Conor can remember, he has been influenced by music whether it be listening to his dad (Noel) playing banjo or the many greats of Irish music including The Dubliner’s, the Saw Doctors, The Pogues and many more. Following in his father’s footsteps, Conor was taught the banjo by world renowned button accordion player, Bobby Gardner. Conor’s first musical performances included a version of ‘Silent Night’ in a school Christmas play and a rendition of ‘Slievnamon’ played for the Tipperary senior hurling team after their 2010 All-Ireland win.
By age 11, Conor had progressed quickly and he bought his first mandolin whilst on holiday in the UK. This opened a whole new world of different techniques and playing styles that Conor could enjoy to explore. On the same visit, he was invited on stage with Donnybrook fair to join them for a couple of numbers.
Not only was Conor honoured to be invited to play with DBF at such a young age but he is also extremely grateful to Joe for giving him the opportunity to begin his musical career at the tender age of 12. Conor relocated to the UK with his family later that year and was then offered to join Donnybrook on a full time basis; an offer impossible for him to refuse.
Joining DBF provided Conor with the added motivation and a desire to progress as a mandolin player to more advanced levels such as the styles of bluegrass and the mandolin within popular music. It also gave Conor the opportunity to learn guitar, of which he also advanced at a quick pace.
By learning the guitar, Conor pursued his academic studies in music, impressing his examiners with performances of pieces in the styles of Andy McKee and Sungha Jung. These were advancements in Conor’s musical journey that he could only have dreamed of when he first became a musician and with exceptional support and guidance from DBF, he has pursued his ambitions and continues to perform at the highest levels of Irish music, touring the UK, Ireland and Europe.
“Joe McMahon told me; "Sit down there on that spare PA speaker and play away". That's where my journey with Donnybrook began”
Conor has shared some amazing experiences with DBF and has met some amazing people on the road; all of which have shaped him into the musician he is today.
“We are constantly changing and improving; it keeps us on our toes but it’s what I like best about DBF. Long may our success continue!”