KEVIN Sykes, owner of the Galway Violins workshop on High Street, Galway, will be featured in an upcoming episode of RTÉ’s Nationwide. Sykes has been making violins since 1985, and his reputation as a full-time master violinmaker has travelled far and wide.
In 1993, Syckes established another workshop near his home in the village of Ballyvary, just outside Castlebar. This has become his main workship, though he still maintains the Galway facility by appointment for the benefit of clients.
Sykes caters for the needs of the beginner to the professional musician, and his own instruments are highly sought-after. The violins and violas he sells are hand-made from selected tone woods and based on the design principles of the old Italian masters, such as Stradivarius, Guanarius and Amati.
An expert in all things violin, Sykes also repairs and restores instruments, improves their tone and offers general advice regarding their upkeep.
Mary Kennedy and the Nationwide crew visited and recorded at the fiddlemaker’s workshop before Christmas, and then travelled to the Lough Inn, Partry, to record a traditional music session featuring Sykes. A host of well-known musicians played on the night, including Jimmy Murphy from Swinford; Noel O’Grady, Westport; John McEvilly, Ballintubber; Marie McHugh, Foxford; Sheamus Heneghan, Louisburgh; and the South Sligo group of Harry McGowan, Michael Loftus, Gregory Daly. The proprietor of the Lough Inn, Rosaleen Ward – famed in traditional music circles for her concertina and accordion playing – also took part.