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Kilfenora Céilí Band honoured at civic reception

 The Kilfenora Céilí Band play a few tunes during their civic reception at council buildings. 	  Photograph by Declan MonaghanONE of the county’s best-known Irish traditional groups was granted a civic reception by Clare County Council on Monday.
It was a fitting honour for the Kilfenora Céilí band according to Mayor of Clare Tony Mulcahy.
“In hosting a civic reception in honour of the Kilfenora Céilí Band, the council is also recognising the contribution of traditional Irish music artists and groups throughout Clare over the years in 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.”
He traced some of the Kilfenora’s colourful history. “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 that later progressed to playing in local parochial halls and eventually venues far beyond the boundaries of the parish.
“The band’s 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 a very important milestone for the band and clear evidence of their growing reputation.”
Councillor Mulcahy noted that in more recent times, they have performed at Glastonbury and the Irishfest in Milwaukee.
The band has been partly responsible for a growth in the popularity of traditional music, he added.
“There has been a significant increase in the numbers picking up traditional instruments and that’s a testament to the band’s work.”
He made a presentation to bandleader John Lynch, who said he was honoured. “It’s a privilege as leader of the current band to accept this honour on behalf of present and past members going back to 1909.”
Mr Lynch also said that the band is proud to represent Clare when they perform around the country and internationally.
“I think that in granting the band a civic reception, Clare County Council is recognising Kilfenora’s unique style of music which has been nurture through the different manifestations of the band since the flame was lit in 1909,” he added.
Councillor Joe Arkins paid tribute to the band and said they’ve played a great role in preserving the music.
“In 100 years time none of us will be here but they will be celebrating another 100 years. It’s important that nurturing takes place and the Kilfenora goes on and on.”
Councillor Martin Conway said that he had been listening to the Kilfenora Céilí Band since before he could walk and that they had brought “absolute joy” to many.
Representing East Clare, Councillor Pat Hayes said there had been a great friendly rivalry between the Tulla and Kilfenora Céilí bands and he congratulated them on their successes.


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