Swinford Comhaltas

Swinford Comhaltas Michael Davitt Branch

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Swinford Comhaltas Michael Davitt Branch History

In September 1959, John Nestor (barber) hosted a meeting to form a Swinford Comhaltas Branch, (now known as the Michael Davitt Branch), but the seeds of this branch had been set many years earlier. A group of young men began Céilí Dancing classes in the Town Hall in Swinford in 1951. These men, Brian Rowley, Caoimhin Campbell and John Durkan, were later joined by Seamus O’Mongain. Large crowds attended these classes and learned traditional dances such as ‘The Siege of Carrick’, ‘The Walls of Limerick’ and ‘The Haymakers Jig’. Musicians included Andy Price and ‘Greenwood’ Convey on flute and Joe Peyton on Fiddle.

The classes lapsed for a year or so, but were revived in 1958 and were run by Sean MacNioclais, Colm Cartuir and Seamus Ó Mongain. Musicians playing for these classes included Tommy Rowley and Michael O’Boyle. Monthly Céilí’s with big name bands, e.g. Leitrim Céilí Band Kilfenora and Johnny Pickering were held in the Town Hall. This group of enthusiastic young men together with Padraig Gavin, John Nestor, Paddy Forde (Kiltimagh), Tom Kavanagh and Ray Lambe organised Sessions in houses and schools all around the Swinford area. Their sessions included music singing traditional céilí and some sets.

Pub sessions were held regularly, e.g. in Padraig Horkans. Musicians like Jim Moran Michael Horkan and Jimmy Murphy met to play, joined by Fred Finn and Peter Horan.

All of this activity led to the decision to formally set up a Comhaltas Branch and attract a Fleadh to Swinford. Those present at that first meeting included Ray Lambe (chairman), Sean MacNioclais, Padraig Gavin, Seamus Ó Mongain (Secretary), John Nestor (treasurer) and Colm Cartuir.

The Branch which began that night is still active today! Source


The Swinford Comhaltas branch had the privilage of hosting the Mhaigh Eo Fleadh Ceoil in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Below are some video I have recorded of Swinford Comhaltas performing. I will be adding more video to this collection as time goes on, hopefully! Please do check back again.

Swinford Comhaltas Performance Swinford Cultural Center 2015

Swinford Comhaltas students perform in Swinford Cultural Center on Sunday 13th December. (Apologies for video & sound quality, recorded on mobile)

Fleadh Mhaigh Eo 2015

Swinford Comhaltas hosted the Mhaigh Eo Fleadh Ceoil for the third successive time over the weekend of 8th 9th and 10th of May 2015. Here’s some video from one of the many traditional Irish music session’s held in Swinford, these were videoed in Boland’s pub Bridge St Swinford.

St Patrick’s Day 2015

Swinford Comhaltas performed for the large crowds gathered on the streets of Swinford before the 2015 parade began. Unfortunatley I only got to record one or 2 tunes before the parade started. Some members from Swinford Comhaltas playing before the 2015 St Patrick’s day parade in Swinford Co Mayo. The Swinford Comhaltas members playing are L-R, Avril Kneafsey, Sarah Toner, Breege Gleeson, Katie O’Brien, Stephen Mc Donnell, Allanah Thornburgh, Rob Thornburgh, Jimmy Murphy, Margaret Waters, Terry Coleman and Paddy Mc Donnell.

Fleadh Mhaigh Eo 2013

Swinford Comhaltas branch held the Fleadh Mhaigh Eó (Mayo Fleadh Ceóil) in 2013. The event took place over the weekend of 10th 11th and 12th of May 2013. Below is some of the video that I recorded.

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