• September 17, 2023

Touring Western Ireland with my late wife Dee well over forty years ago we headed into Connemara. Late in the day and just fair enough past the bustle of Salthill we found a large but fairly quiet hotel called ‘Teach Furbo’ (if my memory serves me well). It’s at what I think is the site of The Connemara Coast Hotel now

Our solitary car in the car park looked quite lonely so we freshened up and went for a wander along the coast. Returning the car park was strangely coming to life and by early evening it seemed half of Ireland had arrived and was in a raucous voice.

I had noticed a poster for ‘The Wolfe Tones; but Irish balladeers were not on our agenda. In those days our ideal Irish music (rather sniffily) was Sean O Raida, The Chieftains or at a stretch Paddy Glackin.

However as they say; ‘When in Rome’ so we went to the gig. What an experience I don’t think you can say you’ve lived until you’ve been to a Wolfe Tones concert – it went on until the early hours. The stay ended with us at breakfast sharing an empty strangely quiet (again) hotel dining room with red eyed Wolfe Tones the following morning.

The memory came back when I noticed that four decades later The Wolfe Tones are still packing them in and a concert at 3Arena in Dublin on their 60th anniversary is a sell out. ‘The Boys of the Old Brigade’ indeed:


Footnote: Teach Furbo was also the site of the ‘Teach Furbo incident’ in the late sixties when language rights campaigners, including the poet Joe O Neachtain disrupted a film premiere about the area. They waved banners protesting against the lack of programmes in Irish on RTE and expressed their disgust that the film was made in English, with no reference to the language. Ironically some 20 years later at a reception in the same place Michael D Higgins launched Teilifis na Gaeilge. Poetic justice you could say.

Here’s a link to ’The Boys of the Old Brigade’:

Image: The Wolfe Tones suitably kitted out in the 1970s

Bernard Moffatt

AGS Celtic League (15th September 2023)

May be an image of 4 people and text that says 'THE WOLFE TONES IN THE 70S. THE ERA OF SIDEBURNS, BIG HAIR AND FLARES Wolre Tones'

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