The Aughrim Slopes Céilí Band began under the direction of musician Jack Fahy of Killaghbeg House, Kilconnel, Co. Galway (father of composer, fiddler Paddy Fahy).
As a trio, fiddlers Paddy Kelly, Jack Mulcaire, with accordionist Joe Mills auditioned in 1927 for 2RN radio as The Aughrim Slopes Trio, with the signature tune Lament after the Battle of Aughrim (in reference to the local battle site). This was hugely popular, broadcasts were noticed in the Co. Galway press and locally, those who had wirelesses, placed them on windowsills to share the music.
Records were made in 1928 and 1933 and the group also won first prize in 1934 Thomand Féis of Limerick. Joined by garda Jim Drury on fiddler they broadcast again and this time, it led to a contract to record three 78s with teacher Josie Halloran joining them on piano. A request by Fr. Cummins of Ballinasloe for the group to provide music for a céilí band led to the formation of the band. An engagement followed at the Old Ground Hotel in Ennis and thereafter they played all over Ireland from Kerry to Donegal, broadcasting weekly on Raidió Éireann, by 1940 having a full years engagement diary. In 1945 they toured England, Scotland and Wales, playing to emigrant audiences of up to 2,000. They won an All-Ireland in 1953 and in 1956 recorded for HMV.
Different personnel joined and left over the years, emigration broke the band up but its hallmark sound remains a nostalgic but vivid landmark in the music. They recorded an album Jigs and
Reels: The Aughrim Slopes Céilí Band.
Written and Edited by Fintan Valley The Companion To Irish Music