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      1. The Richard Fitzgerald Ceili Band

CLICK HERE to turn the music on (lasts about 1 minute)
CLICK HERE to download a copy of "Evening in Mount Melleray" sung by Kathleen Fitzgerald — kindly lent to us by Tony Smyth.

The Richard Fitzgerald Ceili Band
(As remembered by Mike Mearns)

Mike wrote . . . "This prompted me to look through my music collection (it even includes vinyl LPs and 45s!). I came up with a tape of the Richard Fitzgerald Ceili Band that I picked up while on holiday in Ireland in 1993. It is a reunion of the old band.

Now, at Blacklion in 1960 Kevin O'Mahoney and some of the other Profs had befriended the band members. They were from Bundoran, Co. Donegal, which was about 30 miles from the College (just on the edge of the daily biking limit for a day off). Well the band came out to Blacklion and gave a performance. They played jigs, reels, waltzes and marches. Kathleen Fitzgerald, Richard's sister, sang with the band. Their big hit was a sentimental little ditty entitled "Beautiful Bundoran" ("by the silvery sea").

They came a number of times during my sojourn by the Lough, and it was always a terrific evening.

Anyway, back to the tape; I put it in the mail this morning, hoping it will reach you in time for the trip North* so that you can play it for the guys of my era. It will bring back memories and maybe the odd tear.

*The Dryburgh Reunion 2003

After I left the WFs, I saw the band in London a few times. they played at the Irish clubs in London eg The Galtymore in Tottenham Court Road and The Shamrock at Elephant & Castle. I even went to Richard's wedding in Cavan, he married Peggy who worked in London for PanAm but came from Kiltyclogher (and here the story comes full circle).

I arrived the day before the wedding in Dublin, where there was a national bus strike on. Nicky* saved the day by taking me on his motorbike to Navan, where I picked up another arranged ride on to the wedding. Nicky's bike was a ****** (pig) to start and I spent several strenuous minutes pushing it ( and him ) up and down the back alley until she fired and started."

*is this your Nicky Kendellen ?


Mike sent me a tape of the Richard Fitzgerald Ceili Band from the sixties, hoping that it would rejuvenate the brain-cells of those who were at Blacklion in the sixties. I was hoping to transcribe it so that we could hear a track on the website, but I haven’t cracked the technology yet. (Soon, I hope).

In the meantime I have found a mention of Richard’s band on the following site :

http://donegal.local.ie/general/newsletter/archives/issue91.shtml

Here is the extract :

DONEGAL DOMAIN Issue 91, January 15th 2001

ONE NIGHT STAND

Taking the bandstand in the home town of Bundoran on the 20th is the Fitzgerald Ceili Band. Richard, Barney and Kathleen with Noel Meehan are coming together for this one night of nostalgia.

The Fitzgerald Ceili Band was known throughout Ireland and the U.K in the 1950s, 60s and 70s and made several tours in the U.S also. They were frequent performers on both Radio Eireann and the B.B.C. It promises to be a great night of music, dancing and reminiscing.”


ALSO you can buy an LP of the Richard Fitzgerald Ceili Band (Marble Arch Label) for £6.00 from :
http://www.some-like-it-hotter.co.uk/results.phtml?artist=RICHARD%20FITZGERALD%20CEILI%20BAND

It’s in excellent condition, apparently— more than can be said of those of us who can remember the band.


Danny O'Hagan writes : "I've just read Mick's story about the Richard Fitzgerald Ceili Band and the Beautiful Bundoran track. I've been looking for this for years so if you can let me have a copy I'd be eternally grateful. There were a few of us went to Dublin to sing the backing track on that record. I remember Charlie Bingham, Larry Shine and Nick Kendellen (I think) and remember the mini bus stopping outside a pub in the middle of Ireland so the WF's could go in for a pint. They had the good grace to bring us out a bottle of beer if my memory serves me right. I've never heard the record though.

Good on you Mick. Can I have a copy too please! "

Eric Creaney writes : "I have a photo of one of the bass players with the Gallagher group in Blacklion. Big Mick did not mention the other song we did the backing for in Dublin: 'Evening in Mount Mellary'. I have been hunting for a copy of both these past ten years and have even visited shops in Bundoran and visited Mount Mellary Abbey but to no avail so I would very much appreciate a copy even by snail mail!"


Tony Smyth wrote (13th March 2004) :

Following the recent references to the Richard Fitzgerald Ceilhi Band I thought I'd dig out the attached. Included are the band's promo 'postcard' which in this case is signed by all members. The third photo is one that I took when the band were appearing in the Newcastle area in 1969/70. After Blacklion I went to see the band quite regularly when they played in the Newcastle area; about 2 or 3 times a year.



(source : Tony Smyth)

The band's promo postcard.
L - R : Barney Fitzgerald, Sean Gallagher, Richard Fitzgerald, George McKane, Noel Meehan.




(source : Tony Smyth)

The band member's signatures
(including those who joined later)




(source : Tony Smyth)

The band performing in the Newcastle area, 1969 /70


Links found 24/3/04 :

http://www.jivenaires.com/scrapbook/Mystics_of_Boyle.html

http://www.outlet-music.com/search/details.asp?info=Emm7021906


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Mike Mearns (January 23rd 2004)

My tale of the Richard Fitzgerald Ceili band seems to have stirred some memories, but are they accurate? My wife collapsed laughing uncontrollably when she read the postings from Jim and Chris about me playing tea-chest bass in a skiffle group! I have no sense of rhythm whatsoever ( think Steve Martin in The Jerk) having lost it in the war - the Heinkels wer trying for either the Brentford gas works or Kew Gardens. So the question remains - who did play bass? I recall Robin Griffin & Tony McCaffrey being in one skiffle group ( did the musicians change, leave and merge like rock groups in the seventies? Think The Cream.). But my bet is that Terry Petit was the bass player at the Priory. All I know for sure was that it never was me. God bless all out there. MIKE.


January 20th 2004 02:13:18 PM
What is your name?? Jim Connelly Where are you from?? Swanscombe Kent UK
Do you have any comments?? Further to Mike Mearns recollections of the Fitzgerald Ceili Band I seem to recall from the depths of my memory that after the Fitzgeralds had given their performance at St Augustines the student body skiffle group would take the stage and give a few renderings one of which was probably "Hang down your head Tom Dooley", Father Tom Dooley being Rector at that time. Am I right in thinking this was so and also in thinking that Mike Mearns played the bass? (tea chest).


January 17th 2004 06:38:27 PM
What is your name?? Danny O'Hagan
Do you have any comments?? Just read Mick's story about the Richard Fitzgerald Ceili Band and hte Beautiful Bundoran track. I've been looking for this for years so if you can let me have a copy I'd be eternally grateful. There were a few of us went to Dublin to sing the backing track on that record. I remmeber Charlie Bingham, Larry Shine and Nick Kendellen (I think) and remember the minibus stopping outside a pub in the middle of Ireland so the WF's could go in for a pint. They had the good grace to bring us out a bottle of beer if my memory serves me right. I've never heard the record though.

Good on you Mick. Can I have a copy too please!

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