Ceili Bands, 1955–1970: Oral-History Recordings

'The Golden Era of Ceili Music and Dance, 1955–1970' is the title of a large and unique oral-history audio project which was carried out by musician Brian Lawler, with the technical assistance of the Irish Traditional Music Archive.

Brian Lawler is founder of the Ardellis Ceili Band of Dublin, which was one of the most popular ceili bands in Ireland in its time. It took part in many national radio broadcasts and made several long-playing records. Brian was himself actively involved on the road with the band. In the late 1990s, believing that the ceili-band era had not been properly documented but that it was still possible to interview in depth those who had participated in it, he undertook an oral-history project of collection and preservation. The objective was to archive the special memories of the period and make them available for present and future generations.

Over the years 1999 to 2004, Brian Lawler voluntarily interviewed and recorded on DAT tape a cross-section of some 70 individuals who had been involved in ceili bands throughout Ireland. Included are band founders and members, promoters, singers, dancers, and radio personnel. As a practicing musician, he had personal memories of and insights into this unique period of Irish social history. That he had earlier met most of his interviewees and was remembered by them were major factors in winning their cooperation and support. A total of 42 hours of recordings were obtained and are presented here as some 300 audio tracks on over 60 playlists from the ITMA collections.

'The Golden Era of Ceili Music and Dance, 1955–1970' project has been the subject of many personal presentations by Brian Lawler in academic and other institutions and on radio.

With thanks to Brian Lawler for collection and preservation, and for depositing the original recordings in ITMA; to Glenn Cumiskey, ITMA Sound Engineer, 1993–2003, who recorded many of these interviews; and to the 70 interviewees who willingly shared their memories of the period.

Brian is also a composer and a collection of his compositions is available for reference in ITMA.

NC, PH & TH, 1 April 2015

Contents

Brian Lawler in conversation with Brendan Hogan
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Brian Lawler, founder of the Ardellis Céilí Band

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Angela O’Callaghan in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Angela O'Callaghan, enthusiast of everything Irish

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Anthony O’Sullivan in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Anthony O'Sullivan, céilí band member.

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Benignus McCusker in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Benignus McCusker, céilí band member.

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Betty Davis in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:

Betty Davis, céilí dancer.

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Billy Clifford in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Billy Clifford, Star of Munster Céilí Band.

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Billy Horan in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Billy Horan, dance teacher and céilí fan.

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Brendan Hogan in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Brendan Hogan, céilí band member and singer.

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Brendan McGlinchey in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Brendan McGlinchey, céilí musician

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Brendan Shine in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project
Brendan Shine, céilí band member and ballad singer

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Bridget Coughlan in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Bridget Coughlan, Séan Donohoe and His Five Sisters Céilí Band.

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Charlie Lennon in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Charlie Lennon, céilí band member and composer.

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Dan Cleary in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:

Dan Cleary, Ballinamere Céilí Band.

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Dan Coakley in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Dan Coakley, céilí band member.

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Denis and Mary Sheehan in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Denis and Mary Sheehan, An Tostal Céilí Band.

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Dermot O’Brien in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Dermot O'Brien, céilí band founder and solo musician.

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Des McShane in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Des McShane, céilí dance teacher and promoter.

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Donal Ring in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Donal Ring, céilí band founder.

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Donncha Ó Dulaing in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Donncha Ó Dulaing, broadcaster.

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Dónal Corbett in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:

Dónal Corbett, céilí fan and critic.

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Eddie Mongey in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Eddie Mongey, céilí band enthusiast.

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Elizabeth Sweeney in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Elizabeth Sweeney, Irish Music Librarian at Boston College.

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Eugene Leddy in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Eugene Leddy, The Eugene Leddy Céilí Band.

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Eugene Nolan in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:

Eugene Nolan, The Bridge Céilí Band.

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Fred Hanna in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Fred Hanna, céilí band founder.

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Gabriel Murphy and Maria O’Donovan Newman in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Gabriel Muphy, promoter.
Maria O'Donovan Newman, céilí dancer.

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Garry Shannon and John Lynch in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Garry Shannon, flute player with the Kilfenora Céili Band
John Lynch, leader, banjo and mandolin player with the Kilfenora Céili Band.

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Gerry Lynch in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Gerry Lynch, The Kilfenora Céilí Band.

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Henry Hayes in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Henry Hayes, céilí master of ceremonies and promoter.

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Jim Flood in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Jim Flood, céilí band enthusiast

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Joe Burke and Anne Conroy Burke in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Joe Burke, accordion player.
Anne Conroy Burke, accompanist.

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Joe Lynch in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Joe Lynch, broadcaster.

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Joe Derrane in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Joe Derrane, Boston accordionist.

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John Ryan in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
John Ryan, céilí enthusiast

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John Sheehan in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
John Sheehan, céilí band member.

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Kevin Roche in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Kevin Roche, RTÉ Music Department.

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Kevin Rohan and Benny O’Connor in conversation with Brian Lawler
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The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Kevin Rohan and Benny O'Connor, céili band members.

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Liam Gaul in conversation with Brian Lawler
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The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Liam Gaul, The Mayglass Céili Band.

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Maisie Conneran in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Maisie Conneran, céilí dance teacher.

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Michael Lynch in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Michael Lynch, promoter and Lynch Brothers Céilí Band member.

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Mick Foster in conversation with Brian Lawler
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The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:

Mick Foster, céilí accordionist.

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Mildred Beirne in conversation with Brian Lawler
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The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Mildred Beirne, The All Girls Céilí Band

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Moyra Fraser in conversation with Brian Lawler
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The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:

Moyra Fraser, accordionist.

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Neilus O’Connell in conversation with Brian Lawler. First part
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The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Neilus O'Connell, promoter.

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Neilus O’Connell in conversation with Brian Lawler. Second part
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The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Neilus O'Connell, promoter.

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PJ Hayes in conversation with Brian Lawler
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The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
PJ Hayes, Tulla Céilí Band leader.

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Paddy James in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Paddy James of Mitchelstown Creamery

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Paddy McBreen in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Paddy McBreen, sound engineer.

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Pat Daly in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:

Pat Daly, céilí band member and vocalist.

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Pat McGarr in conversation with Brian Lawler
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The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Pat McGarr, founder of the Gallowglass Céilí Band.

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Richard, Barney and Kathleen Fitzgerald in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Richard Fitzgerald, céilí band founder
Barney Fitzgerald, céilí band accordionist
Kathleen Fitzgerald, céilí band vocalist

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Seán Dunphy in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:

Séan Dunphy, céilí band founder.

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Seán Norman in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:

Seán Norman, céilí band founder.

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Seán Ó Dálaigh in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Seán Ó Dálaigh, Conradh na Gaeilge

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Seán Ó Sé in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Sean Ó Sé, singer.

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Syl Bell in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:

Syl Bell, céilí dancer.

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Séamus Connolly in conversation with Brian Lawler
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The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Séamus Connolly, Boston College.

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Tadhg Kearney in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Tadhg Kearney, céilí band founder

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Tom Brophy in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Tom Brophy, The Brophy Brothers Céilí Band.

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Tom Cullivan in conversation with Brian Lawler
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The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:

Tom Cullivan, céilí band member and cliassical composer.

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Tom Cussen in conversation with Brian Lawler
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The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Tom Cussen, céilí band founder.

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Tom Marry in conversation with Brian Lawler
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The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Tom Marry, céilí promoter and member of Cairde Rince na hÉireann.

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Tommy Boyle in conversation with Brian Lawler
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The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Tommy Boyle, Céilí band member and Garda Band conductor

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Tony Bowman in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Tony Bowman, the Emmett Céilí Band and the Dalcassian Céilí Band.

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Vincent Broderick in conversation with Brian Lawler
Playlists

The Golden Era of Céilí Music and Dance Archive Project:
Vincent Broderick, composer and céilí band member.

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