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Irish Country Bands

Currently listing 284* Country Bands

One of the biggest influences which took hold early in the showband era was that of country music, or as it is known in Ireland, Country and Western. In fact, Ireland's version of country has almost become its own style, quite different from the American Country Music on which it was originally patterned. Irish Country was designed for one purpose, jiving, a dance form which was a mainstay of the dancehalls throughout the era and down to this day.

Names like Big Tom, Philomena Begley, Margo, Larry Cunningham, and many others have gained international fame for their versions of country music classics. For many Irish country artists, a trip to Nashville to record an album represented the pinnacle of their career. The appeal of country music to rural audiences was also one of the key reasons it took such hold in Ireland. As the days of the showband waned, many country artists retreated to cabaret, and are still performing today in theatres which dot the countryside, in much the same way dance halls did years ago.

*Special Note: Listing the number of bands which existed during the era is always difficult because often the same name would be used by a multitude of bands. Additionally, when one singer would leave they would be replaced (as well as sometimes most of the band) yet the name would remain the same. We have numbered bands as being different when the lead singer changes, but not other members of the lineup. 

Acknowledgements: Special thanks to Patrick Hoye for his contributions to building this list - identified with (PH) after band name. Photos: Special thanks to Shaun Magee, Dick Lynott, David Dwane, Anthony Grace, Francis Kennedy, Teddie Palmer, Jan Lynch, Declan Colgan, Peter Kinsey, Joe Dodd, Brian "Shorty" O'Kane, Andy Monk, and Alan Carr for additional photos. All photos are identified with contributor's names.

Listed alphabetically by the band's name....or lead singer's first or last name.

Click here to see all the country and western band photos in our collection.    

Adam & The Big Apple [Limerick] (Debut of the band in 1980)
Allen, Denis Band [Limerick] (Member of Sean O'Dowd and Dingaling until his hit with "Limerick You're  Lady")
American Express (PH) [Larne] 
American Pie with Ronnie Griffiths (After leaving the Mighty Avons, Ronnie formed American Pie - still on the road)
Apaches [Unknown] (Derry Whitelaw left Indians in 1978 and formed band with Plattermen's Simon Scott)  
Argentina with Marti, Mari [Unknown]
Arkansas Travellers [Mullingar] (PH) (played late sixties through early seventies, Charlie Arkins was a member)
Auriol and her Band [Ballyclare] (70's country artist)
Bandwagon, The - feat. Johnny Johnson [Unknown] (early 70's country band)
Band of Gold feat. Frank McCaffrey (Frank hails from Westport, Co. Mayo and started out with Margo & Co. band in 1971)
Big Country feat. Des Wilson [Cavan] (band launched March 17, 1971 featuring future Cotton Mill Boys keyboard player)
Big Ivan and his Band/P2/P3 [Cavan?] (70 country outfit managed by Willie McCormick-Ivan was from Newry) 
Big Time [Galway] (Started in 1974, managed by Paddy Burns and Eamonn Keane of the Indians) 
Big Valley All Star Showband (After Frank Coll left and Shelly joined, used this name for awhile)
Big Valley, The - feat. Frank Coll (Brian Coll's brother who fronted Big Valley for about a year in 1973)
Big Valley, The - feat. Shelly (Shelley replaced Frank Coll in The Big Valley)
Bill Quinn/P2 [Unknown]
Billy Jo Superband [Armagh]
Blacks Dots with Frankie Carroll [Roscommon]
Blue Glows (DL) [Donegal] (feature Hugh McLean at one time)
Blue Mountain Boys [Wexford?]
Blue Ridge Mountain [Unknown]
Blue River feat. Dan O'Hara [Unknown]
Blues Boys (PH) [Unknown]
Bluebirds, The - feat. Brendan Quinn [Magherafelt]
Bogmen (PH) [Mullingar] (Comedy musical team that appeared on Terry Wogan's BBC 1 TV show).
Bonanza feat. Big Mat/P2 [Tyrone?]
Boys, The - feat. Dean Swift [Dublin] (Band launched in 1972 by Red Hurley, managed by Bill Ward)
Buckaroos feat. Brian Coll [Omagh] (Brian left Plattermen to form Buckaroos which featured Arty McGlynn)
Buckshot feat. Bill Ryan [Dublin] (Bill is Margo's cousin and hails from Burtonport, Co. Donegal formed in Fall, 1972)
Cades County feat. Brendan Quinn (formerly the Signs -changed April 1972 - and previously the Breakaways)
Cajun Sound feat. Tommy Fee/P2 (Formed in August 1970 around former Maurice Mulcahy lead vocvalist)
California Brakemen [Belfast] (Linda Mayne joined in early 1973 replacing Johnny Burke)
Canvas Wagon [Unknown]
Cascades with Gloria [Unknown]
Cathy and the Fugitives [Unknown] (Early 70's band)
Chad (featuring John Caine) [Enniskillen] (Early 70's band)
Charley Boy [Unknown] (70's band released an album produced by Basil Henriques)
Cheatin' Hearts [Unknown]
Chestnuts [Antrim] (Early 70's country band managed by Brian Malloy)
Coasters [Kilkeel] (Early 70's outfit from County Down)
Coolgreaney Jazz Band [Arklow]
Colorado Fever [Armagh] (6 piece country band)
Cotton Mill Boys [Dublin] (Country band known for quality that went through many lineups)
Cotton Pickers featuring Heather [Cookestown]
Country Blues Boys feat. Larry Cunngingham (One of Ireland's country legends after starting with The Mighty Avons)
Country Express feat. Eileen King (Eileen's first band based in Ballymena in the early 70's)
Country Flavour feat. Philomena Begley (Philomena's band in the early 70's)
Country Flavour feat. Eileen King (Eileen was replaced by Dan O'Hara when she left to form Country Gifts in 1978)
Country Flavour feat. Dan O'Hara [Unknown] (Dan sadly passed away)
Country Flavour feat. Marlena [Unknown] (advert for this band in Spotlight in April, 1974)
Country Folk, The - feat Frank McCaffrey (Frank is still on the road today)
Country Gifts feat. Eileen King [Unknown]
Country Hillsiders, The - feat. Billy Donegan/P2/P3 [Kerry]
Countrymen [Clara, Co. Offaly]
Countrymen/P2 [Ballymena]
Country People [Tyrone]
Country Pride [Unknown] (One of Margo's Country bands with Mattie Fox)
Country Style feat. Ian Corrigan [Dublin] (Ian left the Casino before they became the Indians)
Country Sunshine feat. Tracy (formed band after leaving Grassroots)
Cowboys [Carrick-On-Suir] (Formerly the Voxenaires...on the road in the early 1970's with Stephen Travers on bass)
Cronin Family/P2 [Tuam] (family band led by showband legend Gerry Cronin of the Ohio)
Cufflinks, The feat. Geraldine [Fintown] (included Cornelius Ward, who went on to become Magic of the Magic Band)
Dallas, T.R Band (aka Tom Allen) (former Mainliner's singer hit big with "Who Shot J.R. Ewing" and changed his name)
Delahunty, Mick Jr. Orchestra [Clonmel] (Steve Travers of the Miami started his showband career with Mick Jr.)
Down County/P2 [Downpatrick] (Co. Down based band that featured Sean Quinn on vocals)
Downtown Express feat. Connie/P2/P3 [Castleblaney?]
Danny Doyle and Maxi [Dublin] (Country-Pop hybrid later called the Music Box)
Danny Doyle & Music Box (Like Johnny McEvoy, Danny was mainly a folk artist, but also did the ballrooms)
Driftwood feat Ronnie Griffiths (Driftwood was Ronnie's band after American Pie-he went back to the name American Pie)
Duggie Jane & her Country Rock Band [Dungannon] (Originally called the Texans)
Enabarts Showband [Strabane] (Formed by ex-Clipper Carltons - our thanks to Declan Colgan)
Entertainers, The - feat. Dermot Henry & Sharon/P2 [Unknown]
Envoys, The - feat. Hugh McLean & Evelyn [Letterkenny]
Escorts featuring Betty Reilly [Sligo] (County Sligo based band)
Escorts featuring Har/P2/P3/P4 [Unknown] (Featured Harry "Har" Ramsbottom on vocals)
Evelyn & the Envoys/P2 [Letterkenny]
Everglades, The - feat. Sean Thompson [Castleblaney]
Executives, The [Downpatrick] (early 70's country band-our thanks to Noel Cunningham)
Jerry Fahy
Family Pride [Unknown]
Farmers feat. Dan/P2/P3  [Unknown]
Farmer's Sons [Unknown]
Firehouse Five (featuring Angela) [Castlepollard] (PH) (became Jim Tobin and the Firehouse)  
Flavin, Mick & His Band (major country artist that came to prominence in the mid 1980's)
Gallagher, Bridie [Donegal]
Gallowglass, The [Unknown] (former Ceili band gone country)
Gallowglass, The - feat. Tony O'Leary  [Unknown]
Gamblers, The - feat. Lorne Gibson  [Unknown] (on the road in late 1969)
Gamblers, The - feat. Phil Quinn (PH)  [Unknown]
Gaydons [Tyrone] (early seventies band)
Genevas [Unknown] (mid seventies band with Jean Jacques Genevas)
Geraldine [Derry] (country/folk/pop singer managed by Tony Johnston in the mid 70's)
Gerry & The Merryboys [Unknown]
Glen Country / P2 [Unknown]
Glensmen  [Ballymena] (country band featuring Leo McCaffrey)
Gloria [Navan]
Goldust [Limerick] (country band from 1972 managed by Nora Donegan)
Granada Sound/P2 [Unknown]
Mattie Fox & The Grassroots (Mattie took over the band after Tracy's departure we think)
Tracy & The Grassroots (Tracy - real name Yvonne Jennings -  is the mother of Laura Byrne-band formed in May, 1971)
Roly Daniels & Green County (Roly was with The Nevada before Red Hurley as well as Jim Farley's band)
Sharon & Green Forest  [Castleblaney]
Green Valley/P2 [Unknown] (featured Shelley)
Haggards [Mullingar] (PH) (the Arkansas Travelers without Charlie Arkins)
Harkin, Brian & his Band/P2/P3/P4
Harvest Showband [Tyrone] (Mid to late 70's country outfit that would later join with Mary Lou)
Dermot Hegarty Trio (mid 70's when Dermot went to cabaret)
Helen McCaffrey and Harvest [Unknown]
Hawaii Five-0/P2/P3 [Dublin] (early 70's band featured Basil Henriques)
Eamon Cannon & the Headlines/P2
Herdsmen/P2  [Wexford]  
High Chaparral (featuring Casey) (on the road from 1970)
Frankie McBride & the Highwaymen/P2/P3/P4 (on the road from at least 1971)
Ray Lynam & the Hillbillies (one of the era's most respected country bands with Ray, a very talented singer)
Hi-Landers - feat Heather [Unknown]
Hi-Lows, The  - feat Gerry & Margaret [Cavan] (turned country in 1971)
Hoedowners, The - feat. Sean Dunphy (Moved to cabaret in late 1973)
Homesteaders, The - feat. Gene Stuart (Made their debut Christmas Night, 1974)
Hoot'nannys, The  [Dublin] (Bill Ryan left to form Buckshot and was replaced by the Cotton Mills Boy's Mike Scott)
Hot Love feat. Billy Jo
Horizon feat Billy Jo [Armagh]
Huskeys, The - feat. Brendan Hughes /P2 [Dungannon] (formed in April, 1971)
Indians, The (In 1971, Casino showband changed their name and dressed as Indians-still going today)
Ivors, Liam Country Dance Band [Unknown] (on the road in 1972)
Jambylia featuring Billy Donegan & Tricia
Frank Jennings Syndicate [Unknown]
Jesse & the James Boys/P2 (came onto the scene in the early 80's)
Jim Tobin & Firehouse (previously know as the Firehouse Five)
Joan & the Silver Wings [Strabane] (released single "Old Country Church" in early 80's)
Joe Cuddy [Dublin] (major cabaret singer in the early 70's)
Joe E. Hamilton & Rail Express (late 70's country singer)
John Collier & the New Dimensions
John Glenn & the Wranglers/P2 (John formed the Wranglers in Sept, 1978 after leaving the Mainliners)
John Greer & his band (late 70's country singer)
John McGrenra & Choice (John formed Choice after stints with the Cotton Mill Boys & Farmers Sons, among others)
John McLaughlin & The Sundowners
Johnny Flynn Sound [Tuam] (Johnny's band in the 1970's after the showband folded)
Johnny McEvoy Band [Dublin] (top folk artist, Johnny, formed a country band in 1970 - later featured Gloria)
John Ross & The Jewels (Band managed by Des Kelly in the early 70's)
Joy Starr & the Opportunity Band (Winner of Opportunity Knocks that came and went pretty quickly)
Jubilee Big Band [Cork] (10 piece band launched in late 1970 by the Dixies' Honey organization)
Just Four [Kildare] (One of the top cabaret groups of the 70's)
Kangaroos feat. Eileen King [Newry]  (We think this was Eileen King's first band circa 1972)
Kangaroos [Dundalk]
Kelly, Sandy Band [Sligo] (Pop vocalist Sandy Dusky reverted to her married name and turned to country in mid 80's)
Killarney Swinging Jarveys /P2/P3/P4 [Killarney] (turned pro in 1974 managed by Nelius O'Connell)
Knowles, Sonny/P2 (after leaving the Pacific Showband, Sonny was mostly known as a Dublin based cabaret singer)
Lightning Express (featuring Brian Hutchinson)(DL) [Unknown]
Lightning Express with Big Ivan [Unknown] (early 70's artist whose name came from his portly stature)
Linesmen [Louth]
Lola and the Gypsies (DL) [Unknown]
Long Jim Long & Tuxedo Junction [Portadown]
Maurice Lynch Band [Castleblaney] (featured a young Gloria Smith)
Jim Lynn Ceili Bandshow with Deidre [Bellaghy] (mid 70's Ceili/country group)
Big Tom & the Mainliners [Castleblaney] (One of the most successful country bands in Ireland's history)
Mainliners (after Big Tom left the band, they played on with a series of lead singers)
Mainliners, The - feat. Jan (After the departure of John Glenn to form the Wranglers, Jan took over as lead vocalist)
Mainliners, The - feat. John Glenn (John replaced Tom Allen in the Mainliners)
Margo, Mattie Fox & Country Pride (Mattie's former "Grassroots" revamped as "Country Pride" in the mid-70's)
Margo & the Country Folk (aka Margo & Co.)
Margo & the Blue Ridge Boys ((Margo's band of the late 70's and early 80's)
Marines featuring Anne & Shelly [Newry] (Shelly and half of her band-with brother Barry-joined, dropped the "Swinging.")  
Marlena and Country Flavour [Unknown] (released single in Oct, 1974)
Martina and the Finnavons (DL) [Unknown]
Mary Duff (One of the later country singing sensations)
Mary Lou & Harvest (Made a hit as teenager, quit to get married and came back. Harvest were The Ventures)
Mary Lou & Music City (Mary Lou joined the band after parting company with Harvest in 1975)
Mash/P2 (short lived band formed by Cotton Mill Boy's Gerry Madigan and Rocky Top, George Kaye in the late 70's)
Mattie Fox & the Blue Boys (Mattie replaced Larry Cunningham in The Blue Boys, left them in late 1973)
Mattie Fox & the Grassroots/P2/P3 (Mattie formed a new band with Charlie Arkin and some Blue Boys - formed 10/73)
Maurice Mulcahy Band/P2/P3
Mean Tom and the Tree Tops [Dublin] (Parody of Big Tom from the early 1970's by newsman Derek Davis)
Mavericks (DL) [Unknown]
Frank McCaffrey/P2/P3/P4 (started as part of Margo's band)
Billy McFarland (former showband leader turned country artist)
Gene Stuart & the Mighty Avons [Cavan] (Gene fronted the band after Larry Cunningham left)
Mighty Avons [Cavan] (after Gene Stuart left to form the Homesteaders, the band continued on for a while)
Brendan Quinn & the Mighty Avons (took over from Gene Stuart in December, 1974)
Gloria & Mississippi (After years with Johnny McEvoy, Gloria Smith hit it big with "One Day At A Time" in 1978)
Pauric Browne & Misty (more of a cabaret act than a showband with several ex showband members involved)
Mornin Dew Showband [Unknown]
Nashville Ramblers/P2 [Unknown] (featured Maisie McDaniel who was replaced by Terry Mahon in 1970 when Maisie retired)
Nashville Showband [Ballyshannon] (featuring Seamus McGee)
New Cadets (formed from remnants of Marines Showband)
New Linesmen Showband
New Smokeys (After Pat Ely's departure the band name was re-launched in the early 70's)

Doc Carroll & the Nightrunners [Athlone] (former Royal Blues singer split in 1972 to form his own band)

Dermot O'Brien & his Band/P2
Daniel O'Donnell (Margo's brother Daniel didn't start his career until 1983 and has been knocking them dead ever since)
The Ohio
Paddy Hanrahan & The Oklahoma [Longford]
Overlanders (PH) [Unknown]
Paddy Day [Unknown]
Paddy Wagon [Unknown] (early 70's country band)
Paddy McDevitt and the Northern Lights (DL) [Donegal] (early 70's Donegal band managed by Charlie McCole)
Pat Christy & The Mountain Dew (late seventies band)
Pathfinders featuring Maureen [Westport] (1970's Mayo country band)
Pat Lynch & the Tree Tops/P2 (formed in 71 when Pat left the Airchords, disbanded in Oct, 1973 when Pat when into cabaret)
Pat McCaul & Premier Aces
Pat McCaul & Southbound
Patrice & Stage Five (Patrice is Gloria's sister)
Patrice & Stagecoach (Patrice's band changed it's name in the early 80's)
Patricia and the River Boys [Derry] (on the road in 1972)
Pat Max and the Specialists [Rathmore] (on the road in early 70's)
Paul Hanrahan and the Sahara (DL) [Unknown]
Philomena Begley & her Ramblin' Men/P2/P3 (One of the queens of Country n' Irish music)
Bloody Morgan and the Pirates [Limerick] (country band launched in March, 1974)
Brian Harkin & The Plainsmen
Dermot Hegarty & the Plainsmen (played his last gig with them in June 1973 went into cabaret)
Frankie McBride & the Polka Dots/P2
Poteen [Dublin] (band formed in 1973 by Roly Daniels and Jim Farley featured Charlie Arkins)
Dee Leydon & the Powermen/P2/P3 [Sligo]
Prairiemen featuring Anna [Ardglass]
Connie Lee & The Prairie Ramblers [Unknown] (Hit the road in June, 1974)
Siobhan & Pride [Derry]
Quarrymen feat. Sean Gallagher [Bundoran]
Lee & Quo (Lead singer Connie Lee sadly passed away)
Frankie Carroll & The Ranchers [Unknown] (hit the road Friday Oct 17, 1969)
Hugo Duncan & the Ranchers
Rawhide [Unknown] (formed in 1973)
Real Country (featuring George Kaye) (PH)  [Dundalk] (formed in 1971)
Red River Valley Boys [Unknown] (managed by Jimmy Higgins of Galway in 1972)
Rio Grande (featuring Frankie McBride) [Unknown] (Frankie's band in 1972)
Rib Ticklers  [Cork] (Jerry Daly, Tommy Duffy and Tommy McDonald)
River Boys feat Tanya [Unknown] (On the road in mid 1974)
Roadrunners, The-feat. Gerry & Margaret [Unknown] (Hit the road over Christmas, 1978 after Gerry & Margaret left the Hi-Lows)
Rockaways, The - feat. Brose Walsh  [Belcarra]  (Mayo based showband legend)
Rocky Tops, The - feat. Pat Ely & George Kaye)/P2/P3 (Pat was a 60's star with the Smokey Mountain Ramblers)
Royal, The - feat. Derrick [Unknown] (Derrick Mehaffey took over when Brendan Bowyer formed the Big 8)
Royal Blues feat. Doc Carroll  [Claremorris]
Sailors feat. Tom Allen  [Unknown]  (Tom "T.R. Dallas" Allen's second band)
San Bernadino [Cork] (formed in 1975)
Stampede feat. Sean Gallagher/P2 [Bundoran] (formed in July, 1974)
Sean Hegarty   [Unknown]
Sean Quinn & Down County  [Unknown]
Seasons, The - feat. Gerry Black [Monaghan]  (Gerry left the Seasons to join The Big Valley with Shelley)
Seasons [Monaghan]  (After Gerry Black joined the Big Valley, the band continued as the All Star Seasons)
Seasons [Cahir] (We think this was different band from the Seasons from Monaghan)
Second Sound, The with Eileen Reid  [Unknown]
Shelly & Startime (Shelley was actually Jan Lynch who later fronted the Mainliners after Tom Allen left)
Shine, Brendan & His Band [Athlone] (Athlone's favorite son was an accomplish accordionist as well)
Signs featuring Brendan Quinn/P2  [Unknown] (formerly the Breakaways)
Silver Stirrups/P2 ()  [Unknown]
Smokey Mountain Ramblers  [Unknown] (Pat Ely's band prior to forming the Rocky Tops from the late 60's)
Southbound with Patsy McCaul [Unknown]  ()
Southern Express feat. Gerry Boyle [Unknown]
Springfield [Larne] (featured Stewart Gillespie of the High Seas Showband)
Spurs with Catherine [Monaghan] (Billed as "Ireland's youngest showband" in 1972)
Stanley, Fintan & Maisie McDaniel (Sligo) (Two superstars toured as husband and wife)
Stevens, Tony  & His Band [Unknown]
Storytellers, The - feat Susan McCann  [Unknown] (Came on the scene later than some of the big stars, but made it very big)
Storytellers, The - feat Pat Ely (Pat's band in the early 70's)
Strangers, The - feat Grainne (Singer from England that came over for a period in the late 70's-early 80's)
Strangers, The - feat Teresa (DL) [Unknown]
Sundowners, The - feat. Colm [Portaferry] (Colm Gilmore sadly passed away in 1997)
Sun Valley Boys [Kerry] (Early 70's country band featuring Dennis Bowler, started by ex-Cadets Jas Fagan and Paddy Burns)
Swallows, The - feat. Murphy [Galway] (country band that became The Magic Band in 1974, featured Margaret Murphy)
Swinging Doors Showband [Rockcorry] (Early 70's country outfit)
Swinging Marines featuring Anne/P2/P3 [Newry] (Anne is sister of Jan Lynch, who was known as Shelly on stage)
Symbols, The [Naas] (Renamed Gallowglass Ceili Band in 1972 featured Bill Ryan)  
Tallmen, The - feat. Anne Lynch & Hugo Duncan [Omagh] (Hugo Duncan with Anne Lynch, sister of Shelly)  
Tallmen, The - feat. Hugo Duncan [Omagh] (Hugo's first showband after singing cabaret locally)
Tallmen, The - feat. Har [Omagh]
Tartans featuring Pat Roper (hit the road in early 1972)
Terry Troy and the Regency (Northern band of the early 70's)
Texas Bandshow
Tipperary Express (featuring Martha)
Tom Allen & the Mainliners [Castleblaney] (Tom Allen replaced John Glenn who replaced Big Tom in this legendary band)
Tommy Drennan & the Monarchs/P2 (Tommy also played with the Freshmen early in his career)
Tony Chambers
Topeca Spring [Omagh]
Topstars [Donegal] (country band launched in 1979 with Tracy Curran, also featured Jackie)
Transit Showband with John McLoughlin
Travellers, The - feat. Big Tom [Castleblaney] (band formed by Big Tom McBride after leaving the Mainliners)
Tribesmen, The - feat , Anne Lynch/P2 [Unknown] (One of the bands fronted by Anne Lynch, sister of Shelly)  
Two's Company/P2 (originally a folk duo of Eamonn McRory and Mary Darcy formed in 1967)
Tumbleweeds, feat. Johnny Regan/P2/P3 [Unknown]
Virginians, The - feat. Dermot Henry (Ballymote singer emigrated to Canada in the 70's)
Virginians, The - feat. Frank Kilbride (used name owned by Des and Johnny Kelly after the original band broke up)
Wandrin Stars featuring Paddy Day [Unknown] (Started in April, 1971)
Wells Fargo - featuring Connie Lyl (DL) [Unknown]
Garry and the Western Stars
Western Rockies  [Enniskillen]
Mell Tarner & Wildwood [Unknown]

(PH) Name contributed by Patrick Hoye
(DL) Name contributed by Dick Lynott


2002-2014 GMS Productions

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