The Dwyers of Ardgroom

By Anne McAuliffe

The story of the Dwyers of Ardgroom is quite unique in any branch of the Arts –  four brothers, John, Finbarr, Michael and Richard – all equally gifted as musicians and composers.

John, the eldest, plays fiddle.   Spent most of his working life in Dublin and Wexford as a Garda.   In Dublin he played much of his music with the Castle Céilí Band.   He has composed many fine tunes which are absorbed into the tradition and widely played by musicians everywhere.   John has released a fine CD “The Dursey Sound”, featuring many of his compositions in recent times.

Michael (RIP) (1942 – 1997) played Tin Whistle.   He played much  of his music in London and on returning to Ireland played in Dublin. He was a regular member of the session in the Four Seasons which was hosted by John Kelly.  He won the All-Ireland whistle in Thurles in 1965 when aged 23.  Michael made many recordings on Cassettes and a CD was released after his death named “Na daoine atá imithe” on which he was accompanied by his sister Margaret on Guitar.   This is also the title of a Slow Air he composed.

Richard plays Accordeon, Guitar, Fiddle and sings.   He started in London where he played Accordeon with the Glenside Céilí Band.   He then emigrated to New York where he played for many years.   He now lives in Ennis and often travels to West Cork and South Kerry.   Richard is a profilic composer and has published a book of 90 of his compositions – “In a creative mood”.   These include “The Beara Waltz” which is in European style.   He has released at least two CDs “In Creative Mood” which is a companion to the Book and a CD of songs “With a Song in my life”.   The book also includes a nostalgic Poem composed by Richard “The Visit”.   A man of many parts!!

Finbarr (RIP)( 1946 – 2014)  played Accordeon, fiddle and Guitar.  He attended St. Brendan’s College, Killarney, for his secondary education.   Here he played hurling and foodball and it was here that he composed the reel “Holly Bush”.  He also spent much of his life in London.   His virtuosity on the Accordeon is legendary.   He had a special gift for improvisation and variation and probably never played a tune the same way twice!   His compositions are part of every accordion players’ repertoire. He played the fiddle left-handed!   Finbarr has released many recordings on Records which were later re-issued on CDs.

All in all a most remarkable family who have made a huge contribution to the body of traditional Irish music.

 Ni bheidh a leithéidí arís ann.

Here are examples of their compositions:

Road to Eyeries Hornpipe & Bluebells are blooming Jig.pdf

Finbarr Dwyer's Reel.pdf