Civic Honour For Kilfenora Céilí Band

From: Dunphy Public Relations
Published: Tue Feb 09 2010

The Kilfenora Céilí Band, which celebrated its centenary year in 2009, was officially recognised by Clare County Council at a Civic Reception in Àras Contae an Chláir, Ennis, Co Clare.

Regarded as one of Ireland's most famous céilí bands, the Kilfenora Ceili Band continues to perform to large audiences at home and abroad, including the Glastonbury Festival in 2009. The ten-piece group features three fiddles (Anne Rynne, Pat Lynch and Annemarie McCormack), two flutes (Anthony Quigney and Garry Shannon), two sqeezeboxes Tim Collins and his wife, Claire Griffin), banjo and leader (John Lynch), drums (Sean Griffin) and piano (Fintan McMahon). The current line-up has been together by and large for 17 years under the leadership of John Lynch, who was named Clareman of the Year by the Dublin Association last week.

According to Mayor of Clare Councillor Tony Mulcahy: "In hosting a Civic Reception in honour of the Kilfenora Ceili Band, the Council also is recognising the contribution of traditional Irish music artists and groups throughout County Clare over the years to preserving a unique part of Irish culture and heritage. A Civic Reception is the highest accolade at the disposal of Clare County Council for any individual, group or organisation and one that is, for those in receipt of it this evening, thoroughly deserved".

Commenting on the history of the Band, Mayor Mulcahy said: "The founding of the Kilfenora Céilí Band has its origins in a fife and drum band which was based in the North Clare village of Kilfenora in the 1870s. In the early days the band’s engagements included house dances which later progressed to playing in local parochial halls and eventually venues far beyond the boundaries of the parish. The bands first broadcast on radio was from Athlone in 1932 and one can imagine the excitement in Kilfenora that this event generated with radios being so scarce and novel at the time. This broadcast was no doubt a very important milestone for the band and a clear evidence of their growing reputation."

The Mayor continued: "The All Ireland Fleadh Ceol victories in the Ceili Band Competition in 1954, ‘55 and ‘56 brought the bands reputation to a higher level throughout the country and beyond. This three in a row All Ireland Fleadh Ceol victories was repeated by the band with different personnel in 1993, ’94 and ’95. There have been many television performances by the band over the years as well as performances at Glastonbury Festival in Britain and the Milwaukee Irish Fest in the USA."

"The significant increase in the number of young people picking up traditional instruments is a testament of the Band’s work. The considerable involvement of local people of all ages in the many traditional music festivals that take place each year throughout Ireland and further afield is evidence of a flourishing Irish traditional music scene", concluded Mayor Mulcahy.

Speaking at the Civic Reception, Kilfenora Céilí Band leader John Lynch said: "It was a great honour being chosen as Clare Person of the Year by the wonderful charitable organisation in Dublin ‘Muintir an Chláir’ last week and now also being honoured again by your own home county and people, is the greatest accolade of all. It is a fitting conclusion to our centenary year celebrations."

"I think that in granting the band a civic reception Clare County Council is recognising Kilfenora’s unique style of music which has been nurtured through the different manifestations of the band since the flame was lit in 1909. On behalf of the Band members, both past and present, I would like to sincerely thank the Council for the honour they have bestowed on us", added Mr. Lynch.

The Kilfenora Ceili Band is the third Irish traditional music group or musician to be honoured by Clare County Council in as many years. In May 2008, Clare County Council bestowed Civic honours on Maghera fiddler Martin Hayes in recognition of his contribution to Irish traditional music. And again in September 2009, the Council celebrated the achievements of one of Clare’s finest Irish traditional musicians – Sharon Shannon.

For more on the Kilfenora Céilí Band see


Notes To Editor:
- High resolution images of the Civic Reception are available on request from Mark Dunphy on 086-8534900 or Images also will shortly be made available to download from
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