The Aughrim Slopes Céilí
Band began under the direction of musician Jack Fahy of Killaghbeg
House, Kilconnell, Co. Galway (father of composer, fiddler Paddy
Fahy). As a trio, fiddlers Paddy Kelly, Jack Mulcaire, with
accordionist Joe Mills auditioned in 1927 for 2RN radio as The
Aughrim Slopes Trio, with the signature tune 'Lament after the
Battle of Aughrim' (in reference to the local battle site). This was
hugely popular, broadcasts were noticed in the Co. Galway press and
locally, those who had wirelesses, placed them on windowsills to
share the music.
Records were made in 1928
and 1933 and the group also won first prize in 1934 Thomand Féis of
Limerick. Joined by garda Jim Drury on fiddler they broadcast again
and this time, it led to a contract to record three 78s with teacher
Josie Halloran joining them on piano. A request by Fr. Cummins of
Ballinasloe for the group to provide music for a céilí band led to
the formation of the band. An engagement followed at the Old Ground
Hotel in Ennis and thereafter they played all over Ireland from
Kerry to Donegal, broadcasting weekly on Raidió Éireann, by 1940
having a full years engagement diary. In 1945 they toured England,
Scotland and Wales, playing to emigrant audiences of up to 2,000.
They won an All-Ireland in 1953 and in 1956 recorded for HMV.
Different personnel joined
and left over the years, emigration broke the band up but its
hallmark sound remains a nostalgic but vivid landmark in the music.
They recorded an album jigs and reels.
~ Fintan Vallely