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07 Jul 2022

Trip Through Time: Who were the Dundalk 'Woodpeckers'?

Trip Through Time: Who were the Dundalk 'Woodpeckers'?

Answers to last week's quesions:


What day of the week was 'Market Day' in old Dundalk?


For centuries Monday was the most important trading day in the town of Dundalk. The custom goes back to 1226 when a royal patent was granted to Nicholas de Verdon for the holding of fairs in the new town of Dundalk. In 1275, according to Duffy's 'Book of Dundalk', his grandson Theobald de Verdon was granted a 'Charter of the Staple' for Dundalk, which, probable, was about trading inside the walls, and in 1338 another Theobald de Verdon was granted a license to hold an annual fair and a 'Monday Market' in the Town. Those early markets were held around the Town Cross, a stone monument, which stood where the present day Church Street and Clanbrassil Street meet about the top of Yorke Street.

Who were the Dundalk 'Woodpeckers'?

The 'Woodpeckers' was one of the most popular of the locally formed showbands of the Dance Band period. Advertised as 'The Wonderful Woodpeckers', they played in halls all over Ireland and the U.K. The band included many excellent musicians and one of the most popular was Tommy 'Tuckser' Cahill from Chapel Street, who played trumpet, had a furniture business and kept racing greyhounds. Other musicians in the group were - Ray McDonnell, later a popular radio D.J.;Tom McCaffrey, Mick McGoona, Gerry Duffy, Lenny Mathews, Brendan Farrelly and Mick Connolly.

What was Dundalk oldest Brass Band?

Many bands were formed in Dundalk after the Famine period but the one which lasted the longest was the Emmet Brass Band. It was founded in 1863 by Peter and Tom McEvoy. Its principal financial backer was Felix P. Campbell who owned the Imperial Hotel and was the band's first Honourary Secretary. The Emmett Band had a Junior section where most of its musicians were trained. They marched and played through the town's streets on festive occasions for the most of a century in time.

Which Dundalk musician and song writer played with the famous 'Cotton Mill Boys'?

Des Wilson, who grew up at Demesne Terrace, Carrick Road and moved to Baltinglass, Wicklow, when he married, played keyboard with a number of local bands before he joined the 'Cotton Mill Boys', one of the top international musical ensembles of the last century. Des wrote a number of songs but is best remembered for 'Dear Dundalk', a song that was once very popular locally and is still performed. Sadly he died at the relatively young age of 47 in 1990.

Questions for next week:


Which important Dundalk commercial centenary will be recalled on June 1 next?

Where did the E.S.B. have their first showroom for the sale of electrical goods in Dundalk?
Where in Dundalk was the Carroll's Sports Grounds?

Who were the main dealers for Morris, M.G., and Jaguar cars in Dundalk 50 years ago?

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