Saturday, December 9, 2023

Tributes paid to Sharon Shannon’s manager and ‘great friend’ John Dunford

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Tributes have been paid to John Dunford, the long-time manager of musician Sharon Shannon, who passed away over the weekend.

The Mayo native was well known in the music industry, having worked alongside the likes of Shannon and The Waterboys frontman, Mike Scott.

Originally from Castlebar, Dunford worked with Scott on The Waterboys’ Fisherman’s Blues album.

He later managed Irish musician Sharon Shannon for 35 years. Posting a tribute to Facebook, Shannon said she had lost a “great friend”.

“I have some sad news in case some of you hadn’t heard yet,” she said.

“Our great friend (my friend and manager for the last 35 years) John Dunford was diagnosed with lung cancer only [two] months ago and it advanced really quickly. He went into Hospice last Monday and he slipped away peaceful Saturday morning surrounded by his loving family.”

She added: “We are all heartbroken.” 

While performing at TF Royal Theatre in Castlebar over the weekend, singer Mary Black dedicated a song to Dunford.

Meanwhile, Mike Scott also paid tribute by posting an image to social media.

“Travel onward well John Dunford, mighty sound man, crew boss, travel companion, counsellor, fixer, co-producer, Irish trad music guide, partner-in-mischief, head, magic-seer and friend. You will be missed,” he wrote alongside the picture.

According to, Dunford “lived every minute of his life to the full and was a generous, loving man” and will be “deeply missed by his wife Hilly, daughters Becky, Hannah, Katy and Emily, sons-in-law Niall and Craig, grandchildren Shay, Jude and Sid, brother Chuck, sister Derval, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, his entire extended family and many close friends”.

It added that his career was “varied and successful, including playing a leading role in the Irish music scene, teaching and lecturing, and a stretch as a salty sea captain”.

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