1850 - 1875
The Boherbuoy Band was formed in 1850, in a stable in Hifle's Row, between 15 and 16 Parnell Street, right in the middle of the 1848 movement. Even though the band a number of ex-British Army Band musicians, it played a part in this and in many of the other Nationalistic movements. On this subject, many of the names associated with the Band are of British origin. These include Stembridge, Leslie, Prendergast, Ditchburne and Godsell. Many of these names have gone, but some still are involved in the band.
The '67 movement was next on the stage and the Band continued in its work, in the cause of Ireland. At this stage it was situated in The Castle of Comforts(see bandrooms). Most of its members were tradesmen and the name Clohessy dominated the Band.
An account of the time tells how a proclamation was issued forbidding bands to play in the streets. Ned Bushe, euphonium, to show his contempt played a march, from the bandhall to the railway station and back.
On Sunday evening last the members of what is know as the Boherbuoy Temperance Band proceeded from their rooms in Edward Street, followed by a large crowd of idlers, male and female, and played through the streets in defiance of police regulations.
As they reached the head of the Crescent, gaining an accession of strength on the way, they were followed by a strong force of Constabulary who - in obedience to a recent proclamation of the Magistrates against such processions - put an end to the tuneful display by seizing the instruments, which they carried off to William Street barrack, followed by the crowd, who, not content with groaning the Sub-Inspector and his men, resorted to stone throwing.
The Head Constable's shako was cut by a blow of a stone, another constable received a blow of one over the eye which cut him, and several others received them on the back and other parts of the body, happily without injury to their persons.
The Constabulary retaliated by charging the mob, several of whom were arrested and conveyed to the barracks.
From The Limerick Chronicle, 22 March 1870
reproduced in The Limerick Compendium, edited by Jim Kemmy
1875 - 1885
On Easter Monday 1877 Isaac Butt convened a meeting at the O' Connell Monument. The Boherbuoy Band led from Bank Place, all the trade bodies in favour of Butt's policies. As on many of these meetings there was present the opposing side and a melee ensured in which some of the band were injured and instruments broken. Fr. O' Dwyer, C.C., St. Michael's, afterwards Lord Bishop of Limerick was noted for his part in breaking apart of the two sides.
1879 saw the Land League emerge and Parnell and Davitt, when in Limerick, were played to and from the Limerick terminus.
From 1892 on, the band took part in all the Parnell Anniversaries.
1885 - 1890
From the end of 1889, the band ceased to practice. Even though it was not practising, it never died completely. Thomas O' Gorman, better known as Tom Gorman, with John Crowe and a few others, revived the band for the Amnesty Movement. About 13 young men, all living in the locality if the bandroom, were brought into the band and added to the existing 19 members, brought the number up to 32.
At this stage, however, the instruments were in a bad state and the band organised to buy the St. Munchin's Band. Tom Gorman, from his own purse, gave the money, which was repaid in due course.
Tom Gorman was a great advocate of the Amnesty Movement. He owned premises in Gerald Griffen St. and was in business as a butter buyer. He died at the age of 45 in Thomas St., in 1894.
In 1885 an All-Ireland Contest for bands was opened in Dublin. Thirteen bands competed, and the first prize - a silver-plated five-valve euphonium - went to the Boherbuoy. Ambrose Hall presented the band with inscribed silver medals, and a gold one to the bandmaster and celebrated cornet player, Thomas O' Brien. The conductor at the time was Harry Stewart, a fitter. He was also a cornet player in the Mechanics Band.
In 1886 a contest was held in Limerick. The competitors were: Boherbuoy, Limerick; Barrack St., Cork; Francis Meagher, Waterford; Newcastle West, Co. Limerick; Pork Butchers, Limerick. Again the Boherbuoy Band won first prize and Tom O' Brien, Bandmaster, won a silver plated cornet, which was presented by Most Rev. Dr. O' Dwyer, Bishop of Limerick. Again Harry Stewart conducted.
In 1887, in Dublin they again took the first prize, with William Tronsdell conducting. He was a stone cutter, and a euphonium player in the Foresters' Band, and also a member of the old Corporation.
The autumn of 1889 saw the Band at the Crystal Palace, London. There for a week, they represented the Irish exhibition, and although numerically small, they were commended for the manner in which they played a piece called Pot Pourri.
A new look
1890 - 1900
In 1894 Bryan O' Donnell, Mayor and Patrick McDonnell, together with dentist Joseph McDonnell, presented the band with a new uniform, made at Cannock's. The first time this uniform was worn in public, an incident occurred. The following appeared in the Limerick Leader in November 1963, of an account of the band.
The date was St. Patrick's Eve 1894, with the 32 member band, resplendent in their new attire, marched through the streets. The route was: Boherbuoy, Nelson (now Parnell) Street, Wickham Street, High Street, Mungret Street, Broad St., Assembly Mall, Rutland Street, Patrick Street, George (now O' Connell) Street, Collooney (now Wolfe Tone Street) Street and Lord Edward Street. Then as they rounded Clohessy's Corner, they were met with a fusillade of stones from Barrington's Mall. The attackers were supporters of the Healyite Party. The Parnellites attempted to rush Baal's Bridge, but they were stopped by the police. They made a further attempt to rush Matthew Bridge, and again were repulsed. Eventually the Band reached the safety of their headquarters.
From The Limerick Leader, November 1963
At the Parnell anniversaries, in Dublin, the new uniform was much admired. During the Parnellitte split the band continued to play. They led from Cruises Hotel to the O' Connell Monument, where speeches were made to dense crowds.
Coming up to 1899, the band did its part in the canvass which established the Corporation, headed by John Daly, Mayor.
the band drives on
1900 - PRESENT
The Boherbuoy Band was situated in the Castle of Comforts until 1903, when the building was demolished to make way for the new St. Joseph's St. which connects O' Connell Avenue and Edward Street.
Next they moved to a small lane off Boherbuoy, King's Lane and then to site occupied later by the Rangers' Club.
The next shift was to Carey's Road and then to Browne's Place, off Edward Street.
These were some of the earlier places the Band met before moving to their present location. While in this location for some 60 years, the actual hall has changed. The old Bandhall was demolished in 1973 and the present Bandroom was opened in late 1973 by the late Alderman Jim Kemmy, T.D. Indeed Jim Kemmy was to remain Hon. Vice-President of the Band until his death in 1997.
The following is a story recalled by Mr. Michael Kennedy, reproduced in The Limerick Leader, in the late 80s
I can remember, as a young lad I was following the Band for the annual Allen, Larkin and O' Brien parade. When one of the drummers got tired, he gave the drum to me to hold for a few minutes. Just then the parade was attacked by the Black and Tans and the drum I had been holding wound up rolling down Mulgrave Street in the panic that followed!
He also remembers when the Band played in the Mansion house in Dublin in 1924, and when the Band paraded with the Young Munster Rugby team that won the Bateman Cup in 1928. He played with the Band with Mick Mackey around Croke Park in 1936.
The Boherbuoy Band used the bandstand on Sundays, and the Chronicle printed their selections in advance.
Popular as ever was Franz von Suppé's Light Cavalry Overture and Rossoni's William Tell Overture. Two hours, from 4 to 6pm, was the duration of the concert, which was received with considerable acclaim.
From The Limerick Chronicle, 8-6-1993,
reproducing an article first printed in 1953
45 Years Ago
The Boherbuoy Brass and Reed Band was awarded first prize in the Hawk's Shield Competition for Bands at the Feis Maitiu, Cork. The test piece for the occasion was the ballet music from Rosamunde.
From The Limerick Chronicle, 27-10-1992,
on the year 1947
the band on tape
The Boherbuoy Band, in 1989 released a stereo tape of a number of a selection of their music. This was the Band's first, and only to date, official tape.
The Boherbuoy in 1989 had reached a peak of musical talent. All the conditions were right. The Band made a day of it and travelled to Dublin where they were recorded in the RTE studios.
The tape shows the different sorts of music the band plays, for the enjoyment of its audiences and players.
The tape includes: The March and Procession of Bacchus, by Delibes; The Rhythm of the Winds, Erickson; Broadway Showstoppers Overture; March form Aida, Verdi and A Caribbean Cameo, by Sharpe.
The tape, which lasts about three quarters of an hour, has a cross-section of many of the types of music available and written for Brass and Reed Band.