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Thanks My Ireland Tour!

Thanks My Ireland Tour!

Nice little mention here, g'wan the Bray!

Posted by The Harbour Bar on July 29 2015

Brand New Switcharoo

Brand New Switcharoo

There's nothing like a warm summer's evening at The Harbour Bar, when we can throw open the double doors of the main bar. A fresh, cool breeze swirling in, a refreshing pint in hand - the only thing needed to complete the picture is a bit of music...

Of a Wednesday, the music you'll catch spilling out into the beer garden is the sound of Brand New Switcharoo, one of our resident bands. We grabbed Brían and Diarmaid MacGloinn and Phil O'Gorman for a quick chat while they set up for the evening. 


They usually have Anthony Mannion on board too, and there's about six or seven other musicians who all switcharoo in for a session every now and then, with any combination of fiddle, guitar, banjo, ukulele, dobro, bouzouki, mandolin and harmonica between them. The founding members of the band - the MacGloinn brothers - tell me that originally, the 'Switcharoo' referred to their switching up of instruments while out busking in their hometown of Carlow.

Like a lot of trad and folk musicians, all three of the lads were self-taught, or picked it up at home without any formal lessons. They continue to develop their talents and broaden their musical horizons through sessions, like their weekly night in The Harbour Bar, which foster a spirit of friendly competitiveness between all players, and encourages individuals to teach, learn, and generally raise their game. 

Phil grew up listening to his dad's blues records, while Diarmaid and Brían's family had strong roots in Irish folk and trad. The MacGloinns never met their Grandfather - Barney Beg Gallagher of Aran Mór - but spent their childhood listening to their mother singing songs he'd passed down. Brían tells me that she always wished she'd recorded him singing before he died, particularly a song called 'Suín Ní Dhubhir'. 


As fate would have it, Brían happened upon such recording in a most serendipitous manner. As a teenager, he spent some time doing work experience in the Irish Traditional Music Archives and got chatting to a woman called Lisa Shields, whose husband Hugh Shields, had founded the Archives, as well as the Folk Music Society of Ireland. It transpired that not only did Lisa know his grandfather, but had actually made recordings of him and the lads' great-grandmother in the '70s, which she had logged in the archive! Brían said that, even though they'd never heard him in real life, there was a familiarity to the man's voice.

When the summer starts to wane, and a chill comes into the breeze, we'll bid a fond farewell to the sun's warmth and close over those double doors. But even in the cold of winter, we still have the music - and the fireplaces - to keep things warm and lively. Rain, hail or shine, come along and hear Brand New Switcharoo pass down the songs of their forebears, with a lightness and energy that is all their own.

Posted by The Harbour Bar on July 10 2015