The year was 1957 and the very first Co. Clare Fleadh Cheoil had begun in Miltown Malbay just on the heels of the greatest All Ireland Fleadh that had been held the previous year down the road in Ennis.
By this time, my brother Seán was 11 years old and playing great, and I was making my own way, trying to figure out the box. The tiredness was beginning to have its toll on us from all the walking around town and navigating our way through the crowds. I remember Dad buying us comic books and we found ourselves a seat on the sidewalk under a street light outside the door of Friel's Bar. Angela Crehan Crotty has since mentioned to me many years later, that her father Junior remarked at the time about "how well the two Keane lads behaved as they read their comics." As usual there was music being played in Friel's kitchen and Dad managed to maneuver us right into the middle of it.
There was a large crowd gathered in the kitchen around the musicians who were some members of the Tulla Céilí Band--Paddy Canny and Martin Mulhaire. It was a significant moment, as it was shortly before the band was to leave for an American tour and recording session.
Besides the gentleman we all know Martin to be, we also know him for his great box playing and his composition of tunes such as "Land of Sunshine," "Mulhaires #9" and "Carmel Mahoney Mulhaire." The latter tune he wrote for Carmel Mahoney and I am sure that this great piece of music surely helped win her heart.
We seldom meet but when we do, it's always a great and worthwhile reunion and it brings me back to Miltown Malbay 1957.