The History of the Cuslough Fife and Drum band

Origins of Cushlough Fife and Drum Band that led the parade hain Westport in 1916

The Cushlough Fife & Drum Band

The following is a short account of the Cushlough Fife & Drum Band mentioned by Broddy Malone in his article on the Westport Baton charge in 1918.

In 1913 Pat Tunney organized a branch of the Gaelic League in Cushlough. In those days it was customary to have a big parade in Westport on St. Pat’s Day. All Gaelic League Branches with bands and banners taking part. As Cushlough had no band, they asked the Croaghrim band to head the branch on the march.

The following night at a meeting, in Pat Tunney’s it was decided to organize our own Band. So a fund was started and a Bazaar set up and with help from friends in England and U.S.A. the instruments were bought.

Michael Cannon of Kilmeena was procured to teach the members. So on St. Patrick’s Day, 1915 the band was ready to take part in the parade. In those days St. Patrick’s Day was the big day of the year in Westport. In November of that year the band turned out to head a procession organized by the Westport B Company of the Fianna Boy Scouts in memory of the Manchester Martyrs, among those taking part were Tommy Kitterick, Johnny Derrig, Ned Gannon, etc.. Joe Walsh, Ned Sammon and many more whose I forget.

On St. Patrick’s Day, 1916 the band headed a procession from the Octagon to Westport Railway Station to meet the O’Rahilly who was coming to address a meeting in Westport that day (The O’Rahilly was killed in Dublin during Easter Week).

The next turnout was on St. Patrick’s Day, 1917. They also took part at the Feis in Westport that year, also a march from Louisburgh to Old Head. The band also traveled to neighboring parishes to meetings which were held to organize Sinn Fein Clubs, which were addressed by Ned Moane, Joe Ring, Tom Derrig, Charles Hughes, P. J. Doris, Joe McBride, Pat O’Donnell, etc. Then came the day of the Baton Charge in 1918. On that day as Broddie Malone has stated drums and fifes were smashed, some in self-defense, but the fifes were not as strong as the batons of the R.I.C. That was the end of the Cushlough Band.

The following people gave great help in forming the band: Fr. Patrick Malone, Thos, Hastings, Peter O’Malley, Paddy Hastings, Austin Walsh, James Tunney, P. J. Doris, and Editor of the “Mayo News”.
The following were the members of Band: John O’Malley, Patrick Heraty, Claddy, Patsy Reilly and Michael Flynn, Derryulra, Johnny Hastings and Thos Keane, Derryherbert, Patrick and John Hoban, Michael Tunney, Derrykillew, Willie McGovern, Derryeaun.

Michael Hastings, Jack Hastings, Owen O’Malley, Tommy and John O’Malley (Pat), Carrarevagh, John Scahill and Austin Walsh, Carramore, Michael O’Malley and Dick Grimes, Brockagh, Huby Sammon, Carrowkennedy.

The majority of the above have passed away, some in England and Scotland, some in Philadelphia and Chicago, U.S.A. May they rest in Peace.

Michael Tunney
64. Beneavin Rd.
Dublin 11