The Beginnings of Concertina Playing in Ireland
Although the Irish are known for their long folk memory, the story of how concertina playing began there has been
largely lost; it is often tagged to a threadbare tale of mariners bringing them up the Shannon estuary to Clare. This
paper reconstructs its early history in Ireland by using period accounts from newspapers, books and family histories
to document its origins, growth, decline and rebirth amongst the varied corners of Irish society.
This article originally appeared in 2007 in online html form at www.concertina.com, and is available here as a free
downloadable and printable PDF file, for individual use. Further distribution and commercial use are prohibited
without the written permission of the author.
© Dan Worrall, 2007
Note: This 2007 research material is now obsolete, as it was extensively expanded and updated in 2009 for The
Anglo-German Concertina: A Social History. The revised version of the article (now a chapter in this book) can be
read online for free at Google Books (see Home Page for information on how to access it).
Bellharbour Ceili Band, 1946. From Joseph
Green, ‘A Conversation with Chris Droney’,
Concertina and Squeezebox, 1995