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Leinster Leader 19 January 1963

Making Music For Over 100 Years

The reorganisation of St. Patrick’s Fife and Drum Band, Droichead Nua, may not be of more than passing interest to younger readers, but for many older people it will recall many memories. The history of the band stretches back to 1848 and over that century-plus of music making many members of well-known Droichead Nua families were associated with the band.
In recent years, Droichead Nua people have seldom heard their town band for it has been an up-hill fight by the few members to prevent total disintegration. Never once, however, have they failed to greet each New Year with a parade through the town on New Year’s Eve.
Over the past few years, they have been helped out by the few surviving members of the Bishopwood Band, who find themselves in the same position as St. Patrick’s.
Down through the years, St. Patrick’s Fife and Drum Band was closely associated with the independence movement - the staff in use now had its first outing at Parnell’s funeral and the bass drum was presented by the Volunteers in 1914. In 1918, the band played at Sinn Fein victory celebrations all over the county for many years played at the Wolfe Tone commemoration at Bodenstown.
At the close of the last century, when the population of Droichead Nua was little over 1,000, the town could boast of three bands – St. Conleth’s Brass and Reed Band, The Parnell Band, and St. Patrick’s Fife and Drum Band. On the death of Parnell, the Parnell Band joined with St. Patrick’s.
An amusing story is told of a tramp who came into the town on a Sunday when the St. Patrick’s Band and the resident British Army Band were playing at different junctions. The tramp refused help, stalked out of town, looking back at the bridge with a final farewell: “Bad luck to you, Newbridge – music and hunger.”

St. Patrick’s Fife and Drum Band, Droichead Nua, making music for over 100 years. Retyped by Dana-Maria Floarei

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