The Bridge Céilí Band have entered the Fleadh Cheoil Céilí Band competition twelve times and they have won it six times – 1970, 1973, 1974, 1992, 1996 and 1998; they came second in 1971 and 1995 and third in 1972, 1975, 1990 and 1991.
Over the years the personnel of the band have changed. The present line up consists of fiddles, Robert Gleeson, Mary O’Donnell, Eibhlin Healy, Karen Gavagan & Eoin Davey, flutes, Eugene Nolan and Niamh Furlong, drums Liam McCormack and piano Pat O’Mara.
The band was formed by Eugene Nolan on Thursday 7th May 1970 at the Girl’s Club on Foxcroft Street in Portarlington. Its members came from a twenty-four mile radius of the town.
The Bridge have been a very influential band over the years, with their influence continuing to extend to the last Laois senior band placed in Leinster -The Glenbarrow Céilí Band, based out of Spink Comhaltas. Eugene Nolan and Robert Gleeson in particular, continue to teach and inspire future generations of bands, and the strong history of underage céilí bands in Portarlington Comhaltas reflects the heritage of The Bridge.
This album is from 2018 and the favourite track for this reviewer is No 5 – Waltz: Tom Ahearne’s Waltz
This article is part of a series of articles on selected traditional Irish musicians and CD’s. At Spink Comhaltas, we believe it is critically important to support and promote our musicians, and never more so that at this time as the Covid-19 pandemic has ravaged the music industry.
Having role models and heroes is important in any walk of life, and this is true of musicians too. Some of our strongest musicians who have developed with Spink Comhaltas over the recent years have learned as much of their musidc from listening to these artists – both on CD and live – as they have learned in formal classes. We encourage our current generation of young musicians – and their parents – to consider building up their own collection of music. And while we live in a world of streaming, there is something special about being able to read the sleeve notes on an album that an artist has put a lot of energy and effort into that will always be much more meaningful than listening on a streaming service.
The musicians we have featured here are outstanding performers. Different music styles, instruments, and interpretations will appear – as well a mix of solo and group music. For most of the musicians featured, the CD featured is one of a number of works by that artist.
Spink Comhaltas promotes traditional Irish music across Laois, Carlow, Kilkenny, Kildare and further afield. With excellent teachers and resources, as well as one of the largest music instrument banks in the country, Spink Comhaltas is an excellent place to begin your journey in traditional Irish music.
In addition to teaching and promoting music, Spink Comhaltas also fosters connections – with musicians across different counties and counties, different genres of music, and other artistic and creative groups. Check out our website for more details.