0:00 - Mitchelstown roots

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Segment Synopsis: Sean describes his family's long roots in Mitchelstown, Co. Cork. He lives in the house they have occupied for six generations.

Keywords: Co Cork; Family

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1:02 - Mitchelstown Brass & Reed Band

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Segment Synopsis: Sean's family has a long history of participation in the local brass and reed band. He describes a competition they attended in 1980 under his leadership (see photograph linked).

Keywords: Bands; Co Cork; Music

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Hyperlink: Photograph of the Mitchelstown Brass & Reed Band on their way to a competition in 1980.

3:40 - Learning music

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Segment Synopsis: Sean's musical career started in the brass band. The local band master at the time, Jimmy Fitzgerald, taught him the accordion. He also took up the saxophone, which his mother wasn't too pleased about.

Keywords: Accordion; Learning music

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6:49 - Playing in dance bands in London

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Segment Synopsis: In London, Sean worked on the buses and played with a dance band attached to the Cricklewood bus garage, The Woodpeckers. He enthusiastically descries the newfound freedom in his London lifestyle.

Keywords: Dance bands; London

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Hyperlink: 'The Woodpeckers' dance band in London, c.1960

11:26 - Band agents and gigs

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Segment Synopsis: Sean describes one particular agent he worked with. The band got jobs with boxer Jack Doyle, who would go into pubs to shake people's hands, and with singer Margaret Barry. He describes the drinking habits associated with these gigs.

Keywords:

Subjects: Dance bands Drinking London

14:54 - Work in Ireland and migration to London

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Segment Synopsis: Sean completed his leaving certificate in Mitchelstown. He was a member of the FCA (An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil / Local Defense Force) and used his pay to emigrate to London. Instead of going home the first Christmas, he spent his money on a Teddy Boy suit, much to his mother's dismay.

Keywords: Emigration; Work

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17:11 - Social life in London

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Segment Synopsis: Sean describes the vibrancy of the Irish social scene in London and the many gigs he got with his band. They were offered a residency in a hotel in Mexico City for six months, but didn't go, which retrospectively was the right choice.

Keywords: Dance bands; London; Social life

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22:51 - Muvvers pub and the Kray brothers

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Segment Synopsis: Sean and his band played in a pub in the East End called Muvvers that he says was owned by the Kray brothers, two famous criminals. He describes the characters they encountered there.

Keywords: Dance bands; London; Pubs

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26:07 - Jobs in London

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Segment Synopsis: Sean held a variety of jobs in London: he spent several years working on buses, then worked in a radio and television shop, then in a factory, as a shoe repairer, and as a delivery man.

Keywords: London; Work

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28:46 - Return to Mitchelstown

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Segment Synopsis: Sean's brother Paddy had been asking him to return to Mitchelstown for some time because he wanted to buy premises and set up a bakery (their father had been a baker too). Sean resisted initially, but in a moment of inspiration in 1973 he decided to take up the offer and his wife agreed.

Keywords: Return migration

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30:27 - Returning to the Brass & Reed Band

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Segment Synopsis: As soon as he got back to Mitchelstown Sean was re-drafted into the local brass band. He took over the role of conductor and the band entered competitions.

Keywords: Bands; Co Cork

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34:51 - Conducting the band

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Segment Synopsis: Sean decided to take a proper course in conducting. He describes what he learned and his role as conductor.

Keywords: Bands; Co Cork

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40:42 - Playing for dances in London

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Segment Synopsis: The dance band Sean had in London played all sorts of music - whatever the occasion required. He describes the challenges of playing for Irish weddings.

Keywords: Dance bands; London; Music

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43:27 - Dance band in Mitchelstown in the 1950s

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Segment Synopsis: Before leaving Ireland, Sean played with the 'Popular Five' dance band in Mitchelstown. He would be out late at night and not get his school work done, which his mother was never pleased about.

Keywords: 1950s; Co Cork; Dance bands

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Hyperlink: Photograph of the Popular Five dance band, Mitchelstown, 1950s

44:58 - Changes in Ireland over the years

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Segment Synopsis: Sean describes the changes he noticed returning to Mitchelstown. The closure of the Dairygold premises badly affected the town. He also comments on how people's expectations of life and work have changed since he was young.

Keywords: Ireland; Work

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49:15 - The folk scene versus dance bands

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Segment Synopsis: Sean briefly comments on how his friend, Mick Treacy, was more into the folk scene. He compares that to his own experience.

Keywords: Dance bands; Folk clubs

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49:49 - Religion, race, and diversity in Ireland

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Segment Synopsis: Sean tells a couple stories that illuminate his perspective on religion and racism. He recalls a conversation with a unionist from Northern Ireland. He feels that his time in London broadened his mind, especially compared to people he encounters in Ireland. He describes trying to encourage diverse membership of the brass band and challenging other people's views.

Keywords: Ireland; Race; Religion

Subjects:

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