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The Liverpool Céilí Band Exhibition at Clare Museum

23 May 2024

The Liverpool Céilí Band originated in post-war Liverpool and became famous as a traditional Irish band, entering its first Fleadh Cheoil competition in Thurles in 1959 and subsequently becoming the first non-Irish band to be crowned All-Ireland Champions in 1963 at Mullingar, a feat they repeated in 1964 at Clones.

The Liverpool Céilí Band Exhibition at Clare Museum

They won the Oireachtas Céilí Band titles in 1962 and 1963 in the Mansion House in Dublin. The Band toured Ireland regularly and the United States in 1967. They also played on Sunday Night at the London Palladium and at the Albert Hall.  

The band were regular visitors to County Clare during the 1960s and 1970s, often competing against local bands such as the Tulla and Kilfenora Céilí bands. They had a strong Clare influence, with founder member Seán McNamara’s father hailing from near Kilmihil. The McNamara family were regular visitors to Clare and Seán was evacuated to Kilmilhil during World War Two. From his teenage years he was playing music in the ‘house dances’ of the area. Fellow founding member, Eamon Coyne, accompanied Seán on many of these occasions. Together they were picking up many local tunes and were influenced by the Clare style of fiddle playing. Because of these links the band became known as a ‘Clare band’ in Ireland and made regular appearances at the Ceol Kilmihil festival in the 1970s and at the Fleadh Nua in Ennis.

On this the 50th anniversary of the Fleadh Nua, the band is sharing its history in the form of an exhibition at Clare Museum, containing photographs and anecdotes from the band’s accomplished career and some of the musical instruments used by the band.

The exhibition will be officially launched in Clare Museum by the Mayor of Ennis Municipal District, Councillor Pat Daly, on Wednesday 29th May, 2024 at 12pm, with some of the band members in attendance. The launch fittingly takes place amid a rich programme of events running as part of the 2024 Fleadh Nua. Admission is free and all are welcome.

The Liverpool Céilí Band will also perform at the launch concert for this year’s Fleadh Nua in Cois na hAbhna on Sunday, 26th May.

For details of the full programme for Fleadh Nua 2024 visit

Page last reviewed: 23/05/24

Content managed by: Arts Office

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