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The Castle Ceilí Band

About

“The original band was formed in 1959 by pupils of Drimnagh Castle Christian Brothers School, hence the name. The band lapsed for a very short period. The Castle Céilí Band was revived when an opportunity arose for Seán Keane and Mick O’Connor to play with the Kincora Céilí Band in Conarchy’s Ballroom, Parnell Square, Dublin, c. 1962. Mick O’Connor invited other musicians to join the band.

The Band were winners of the All-Ireland Senior Céilí Band Competition at Thurles, 1965. They were also winners of the Oireachtas Céilí Band Competition on 4 occasions. The members included such notables as fiddle players as: Seán Keane, John Dwyer, John Kelly, Joe Ryan, and Liam Rowsome.

The remainder of the band consisted of flute players: Mick O’Connor (leader) and Michael Tubridy; Seán Keane’s younger brother James played the accordion, Benny Carey (drums) and Bridie Lafferty (piano).

Details: The Castle Ceilí Band. L-R: Joe Ryan, Benny Carey, Seán Keane, Paddy O’Brien, Bridie Lafferty, John Kelly Senior, Michael Tubridy, Mick O’Connor, John Dwyer. Date: 1962. Location: Francis Xavier Hall, Dublin. Credit: From Mick O’Connor’s personal collection. 

Over the years different personnel joined the band. Amongst them were: Donal Staunton (banjo), John Brennan (flute), Michael Hand (flute and piano), Tony Mac Mahon (accordion), Mícheál Ó hAlmhain (flute), Paddy O’Brien (accordion), Kathleen and John Nesbitt (fiddle and accordion), Charlie Lennon (fiddle and piano) and Rosemary O’Connor (Mick’s sister on fiddle). Other persons who have filled in latter years at special commemorative occasions included: John Kelly (junior) and Liam O’Connor on fiddles.

As céilí dancing declined in Dublin in the late 1960s, members of the band became involved with cabaret and pub music while Seán Keane, Michael Tubridy and John Kelly were playing with Ceoltóiri Chulann. At a latter stage, Seán Keane and Michael Tubridy became members of the Chieftains.”

With thanks to Mick O’Connor who wrote this in September 2019.

Photos

Details: Front cover of  “The Casle Ceilí Band” album. 

Details: Back cover of  “The Casle Ceilí Band” album. 

Video

John talking about the Castle Céilí Band

“I was going to ask you joe about the time you came back from London

You teams up with up with the castle band

It w

We had a great few years together

Clare Longford

Kerry

We won the oireachteas and the all Ireland and everything

Enniscorthy

Details: Cal O’Callaghan. 

Credit: The music of Sliabh Luachra website. Link.

Audio

Castle Céilí Band playing Reels, John Brennan's, Mrs. Crehan's, Mrs. Crotty's.

Details: Date: 1968. Location: Bridie Lafferty’s House, Homefarm Road, Glasnevin, Dublin.

Credit: Rebroadcast on “Sounds Traditional” programme  on RTÉ Radio 1.

Audio

Peter Browne interviewing Mick O'Connor about the Castle Ceilí Band

Detail: Peter Browne interviewing Mick O’Connor. Date: 1991.

Credit:  RTÉ Radio. 

Audio

Castle Céilí Band playing Reels, John Brennan's, Mrs. Crehan's, Mrs. Crotty's.

Details: Location: Bridie Lafferty’s house, Homefarm Road, Dublin. 

Credit: From Mick O’Connor’s personal collection. 

Musical Connections Musical Context

The Castle Ceilí Band