Martin Francis McLean, known as 'Fred' to his friends and relatives, was born on 24 September 1913 in Lisbrin, Ballycastle, Co Mayo, Ireland. Fred was one of ten children born to Annie Connor and Martin McLean (senior) who was a farmer and fisherman.
Fred's father, Martin (senior), first met Annie Connor when she came back from America to see her parents in Ballycastle. In New York, Annie had become engaged to a chap called Conway from Galway and they had planned to marry on her return to New York. However, Martin (senior) fell in love with the beautiful 18-year-old Annie and, having won her heart, persuaded her to stay in Ballycastle and marry him instead. Fred's parents, Martin and Annie, lived long and happy lives together in Ballycastle, reaching the ripe old ages of 99 and 98.
Fred grew up on the farm in Lisbrin with his 6 sisters and 3 brothers. He went to school at Ballycastle National School and developed a passion for music. He loved to sing and dance and became skilled at playing the button accordion. Fred entertained the locals in the Ballycastle area at many a ceili (dance) with his traditional Irish songs and typical war time music of the era. Later, he formed a band named the 'Poverty Four' or 'Novelty Six' depending on the obvious. His playing and singing were renowned throughout the local parishes and it was said that “you would stand in snow listening to him”, such was the enchantment of his music.
Fred was also a great Gaelic footballer and played for the Ballycastle Football Club. In 1936 he helped his team to victory in the County Mayo Senior Championship, granting them "Famous Western Club Number 16", quite an accomplishment for the small town of Ballycastle.
Fred had no interest in the farm or farm life and made his living
as a carpenter. He married Annie Maughan, always known
as Nan, on 11 February 1945 in Ballycastle. They lived on
the farm in Lisbrin and raised seven sons. Fred, however,
spent a great deal of time working in Bristol, England and was
eventually joined by his family in 1963, after they sold the farm.
He lived a full life, bringing happiness to many people with his
witty sense of humour and his wonderful music, until his
untimely death in March 1965. Fred & Nan's house in Lisbrin
In 1969 Fred's widow, Nan, and her boys emigrated to Australia where they lived for 10 years. They finally settled in Los Angeles, California, USA where Nan and the boys: Patrick Joseph, Sean Raymond, Martin Albert, Thomas Gerard (Jerry), and the twins Kevin Michael and Desmond Paul, still reside. William Francis (Willy) passed away in December 1998 in Los Angeles and is buried with his father, Fred, in St Bridget's Cemetery in Ballycastle, Co Mayo, Ireland.
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