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Monarchs Story (1960-1972)

Photo Gallery - Band Lineups - Discography - Audio samples - Where Are They Now?

The Story

The origins of the Monarchs showband started innocently enough when Jim Connolly, Frank Hogan and Brian Meehan started playing local dances as the Monarchs Trio. Several of the members were also part of the Bob Madden Band, one of Limerick's most popular bands in the mid to late 1950's. We are unsure whether they left to form the Monarch Trio and then expanded into a showband, or had played as a trio before joining with the Madden Band.

One way or another, the band made its debut in May, 1960 in Abbeyfeale. We think the original lineup included: Jim Connolly (founder-keyboards and trumpet), Frank Hogan (drums), Brian Meehan (sax), along with Raymond Heraty (vocals), In 1960, the band added Dermot Heraty on bass and Terry Malone on trumpet. In 1961, Terry would be replaced by Joe Louis who proved popular with the fans, but left the band in late 1962 and was replaced by Brendan Moynihan, who would stay with the band until around 1969. 

In mid 1963, the band declared itself Limerick's first "professional" showband. Remember that in the early days, most bands were part timers, working day jobs and playing music more as a hobby than a profession. However, the band's biggest change would come as the year came to a close. Tommy Drennan, a boy singing sensation who had impressed audiences with his singing talent as a child winning numerous awards for vocal performances had decided to turn professional in early 1963 and joined the Freshmen, one of Ireland's best known showbands. However, by the end of the year, he had grown homesick and returned to Limerick where he joined the Monarchs and became the final piece to the puzzle that would catapult the band to national stardom.

The band released its first single, Boolavogue, in late 1964 and the record reached number 4 in the Irish charts, firmly establishing the Monarchs on the dance scene and Tommy Drennan as one of the era's foremost stars. The record's climb also provided the first TV exposure for the band as Tommy was featured on RTE's (then TE's) show "Pickin The Pops."

More to come...

In 1969, the band lineup included: Bryan Meehan (keyboards/sax), Dermot Heraty (bass), Frank Hogan (drums), John Frawley (vocals), Dave McCormack (trumpet), Tommy Drennan (vocals) and Ray Fitzgerald (guitar).

In August 1970, young vocalist/songwriter Denis Allen joined the band, replacing Ray Fitzgerald on guitar who left to study music in Germany. At the same time, Frankie Coughlan replaced Dermot Heraty on bass. Dermot left the band to take an executive post with a national company.  

In March, 1972, after 10 years together, the Monarchs split up with Tommy Drennan and Sean O'Dowd forming a new band, The Top League. Managed by Anna McGoldrick's husband, Michael Nolan, the new band made their debut in Easter Sunday, 1972.

More to come....

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full image

Monarchs Showband - 1969 (DD) Monarchs Showband (LR) Monarchs Showband (LR) Monarchs Showband (PB) Tommy Drennan - 1966 (LR)
Tommy Drennan (LR) Monarchs Showband Monarchs Showband Tommy Drennan - 1966

Monarchs - 1963

         

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Years Vocals Guitar Trmbn/Bass Drums Keys/Sax Piano/Trumpet Vocals/Gtr
1960       Frank
Hogan
Brian
Meehan
Jim
Connolly
 
1960   Terry
Malone
Dermot
Heraty
Frank
Hogan
Brian
Meehan
Jim
Connolly
 
1961   Joe
Louis
Dermot
Heraty
Frank
Hogan
Brian
Meehan
Jim
Connolly
 
1962 Raymond
Heraty
Brendan (Sept)
Moynihan
Dermot
Heraty
Frank
Hogan
Brian
Meehan
Jim
Connolly
John (Oct)
Frawley
1963 Tommy
Drennan
Brendan
Moynihan
Dermot
Heraty
Frank
Hogan
Brian
Meehan
Jim
Connolly
John
Frawley
1969 Tommy
Drennan
Ray
Fitzgerald
Dermot
Heraty
Frank
Hogan
Brian
Meehan
Michael
Guinnane
Gerry
Fitzgibbon
1969 Tommy
Drennan
Ray
Fitzgerald
Frankie
Coughlan
Frank
Hogan
Brian
Meehan
Dave
McCormack
Gerry
Fitzgibbon
Aug.
1970
Tommy
Drennan
Gerry
Fitzgibbon
Frankie
Coughlan
Frank
Hogan
Brian
Meehan
Dave
McCormack
Denis
Allen
               
               
               

Discography

Singles: (our thanks to Austin Powell for additional catalogue info)

Boolavogue / Blass This House - #4 Irish Charts 
Ember Records - EMB.S201 - November, 1964
Kevin Barry / Patriot Game
Ember Records - EMB.S213 - Early, 1965
Molly / My Prayer -
 #9 Irish Charts
Ember Records - EMB.S214 - April, 1965
I Really Don't Want To Know / Before This Day Ends
Ember Records - EMB.S226 - 1966
Connemara Cradle Song / The Holy Ground
- #16 Irish Charts
Ember Records - EMB.S238 - December, 1966
Pearly Shells (John Frawley) / Thou Shalt Not Steal
Ember Records - EMB.S248 - November, 1967
Sean South of Garryowen (Hughie Trainor) / A Nation Once Again
Ember Records - EMB.S251 - Early 1968
Rising Of The Moon / Maureen
Ember Records - EMBS.259 - November, 1968
Come Home Rollin' Stone
- #12 Irish Charts
HMV Records - IP.1323 - June, 1969
Where Were You When I Needed You
- #14 Irish Charts
HMV Records - Unknown - September, 1969
Little Boy Lost / Day Is Done
- #6 Irish Charts
Columbia Records - IDB.759 - July, 1970
Love Is A Beautiful Song / Lonely Road
- #12 Irish Charts
Columbia Records - IDB.765 - October, 1970
Share My World
Talisman/EMI Records - Unknown - 1970
Taxes By The Score / Mary Ann Regrets
- #8 Irish Charts
Talisman/EMI Records - 108 785 - June, 1971
O Holy Night
- #1 Irish Charts
Columbia Records - Unknown - November, 1971

Albums:

Fifty Years After
Ember Records - EMB.3373 - 1966
The Best Of The Irish
Ember Records - EMB.3387 - 1968?
Share My World

Talisman/EMI - Unknown - 1970
 

Audio Clips

Coming Soon

Where Are They Now?  

Jim Connolly (b. May, 1937):
Frank Hogan (b. 1937):
Brian Meehan (b. 1943):
Terry Malone:
Joe Louis:
Dermot Heraty (b. August, 1935):
Raymond Heraty:
Brendan Moynihan (b. 1944):
John Frawley (b. 1938):
Tommy Drennan (b. Aug 14, 1942):
Ray Fitzgerald:
Dave McCormack:
Gerry Fitzgibbon: Gerry replaced Ray Fitzgerald on lead guitar, moving from rhythm and stayed with the band until they broke up. He then joined Tina and the Real McCoy for a short time until their road accident. He then went to Danny Doyle, Maxi and the Music Box and later joined up with Tommy again in the All Stars. Today he plays the Uilleann Pipes at local venues around Limerick
Denis Allen:
Frankie Coughlan - RIP: We were told in early 2013 by Gerry Fitzgibbon that Frankie sadly passed away.

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In Loving Memory of Grant Gallagher: Sept. 21, 1990 - Nov. 18, 2006