Willie Dunne

Willie Dunne Travelling Musician

  In the 1940s there was a dance hall where John Brennan garage is now called “The Allow Ballroom” There was a weekly “practice” dancing here with admission fee of six old pence. People came from all directions on bicycles on foot and horseback. The music was provided by the “Southern Star Dance Band” which consisted of the only musicians in the area. The leader was Michael Fitzpatrick who played a piano accordion he was also owner of the Ballroom. He was accompanied by John Fehin, Violin, Patrick Horgan, Accordion, Sean O’ Mullane, Saxophone, Denis O’ Flatherty Accordion and Micheal McAuliffe (Mackie) on Drums. Michael Nagle also played the Accordion at times with them. Around the late 1940’s a travelling fiddle player called Willie Dunne played at fairs markets and matches around North Cork and West Limerick. One day at a fair in Dromcollogher where he was playing on the street. A man called Dan Brudair danced on the footpath to Willie’s Music. Dan Brudair would be Frank Brudair Grandfather of (Brudairs Bakery) when Dan finished his dance he asked Willie would teach his son to play. He agreed and this started fiddle lessons around our area of North Cork and West Limerick. Willie got a house form a local farmer in Knawhill where he lived until his death in 1954. His house which has since been renovated is near the entrance to Knawhill cemetery Willie cycled around the area with his fiddle on the carrier. He called to the houses where children wanted to learn the fiddle. He spent a half an hour. The charge was one shilling. Two children one shilling and six pence at that time a Tadhg O Sé from Ballagh, Tullylease was teaching Irish and Irish Dancing in the school in Freemount one night a week.

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