New Book Launched on Céilí Band Legends


On The Night

Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann – Musicians and Senior Céilí Band Winners 1951–2021

A new book (with 2 accompanying music CDs) which tells the story of some of Ireland’s greatest céilí bands is currently the subject of upcoming presentations around the country. Written by Sligo native and well-known fiddle player, Philip Duffy, ‘On The Night’ brings to the surface hundreds of musicians behind the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann Senior Céilí Band Competition over a seventy year period from 1951 to 2021.


The book with CDs (providing 39 tracks covering All Ireland winning céilí bands from 1953 to 2019) is available at a cost of €62 including postage within Ireland.


16th December

Cultúrlann na hÉireann, Belgrave Square, Monkstown on Saturday 16th December, at 7pm.

On The Night Book Launch and Talk by Philip Duffy - Cultúrlann na hÉireann, Belgrave Square, Monkstown on Saturday 16th December, at 7pm
25th November


Tuam Library on Saturday 25th November, at 2.30pm.

On The Night Book Launch and Talk by Philip Duffy - Tuam Library on Saturday 25th November at 2.30pm
24th November


Ballinasloe Library on Friday 24th November, at 2.30pm.

On The Night Book Launch and Talk by Philip Duffy - Ballinasloe Library on Saturday 24th November at 2.30pm
19th November


Oriel Centre, Dundalk Gaol on Sunday 19th November, at 4pm.

10th August


A launch of ‘On The Night’ - a presentation by Philip Duffy, takes place at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann on Thursday evening 10th August, at The Band Hall, Mullingar at 7.30pm.

About 'On The Night'

Over the years, the All-Ireland Senior Céilí Band Competition has become one of the most sought-after accolades in traditional music circles, the winning bands featuring many of the most talented musicians of their generation. And while the names of the successful céilí bands have lived on and are remembered, many of the individual musicians that made up these ensembles have faded from memory, a situation which 'On The Night' author Philip Duffy sought to address when he began his research for the book in 2016.

“Traditional music lovers would be very familiar with the names of the more famous All Ireland winning céilí bands such as, The Kilfenora, The Tulla, The Liverpool, The Bridge etc, but not so many can recall the individual members of these bands, or indeed the many other remarkable bands around Ireland and the UK who attained the same highest level in terms of perfecting their craft and musicianship by winning the title.”

“I was very fortunate to be able to meet and interview some of the older musicians who would have competed in the earlier All-Ireland Senior Céilí Band Competitions, and who have since sadly passed away. So, there was a sense with some of my research that this was a last-ditch attempt to capture an oral history and record the collective thoughts and memories of a whole generation who had lived through a time when gathering for a céilí dance was the mainstay of our country’s entertainment. And so, to honour them, their lives and their talent, I set out to contact and speak with every living member of every All-Ireland winning céilí band at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann between 1951 and 2021, and for the deceased musicians, each of their families were contacted in order to receive, as far as is possible, a first-hand account of that relevant band and the musician themselves.

From there, the research grew wider to include many other sources including fellow musicians, libraries, parish records, genealogists and newspaper archives resulting in a hard back book of almost 1,000 pages with hundreds of photographs some donated by the musicians and/or their families, together with many provided by Ena Doocey CCÉ and from the archives of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.”

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