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Jarlath Macnamara

  • Co. Kildare

This project concentrates on the story of one of our Diaspora from the Famine, P S Gilmore 1829-1892, who fled in 1849 for the United States of America. It is a story like millions of others with details of the environment that Gilmore grew up in Ballygar, Co Galway, and his education in Music in Athlone, Co Westmeath. Gilmore would learn his wonderful skills as a musician over the Shannon, and become involved with the Young Irelanders Movement in 1848. A year later he would set sail for America and within a few years, he would be well known as both a musician and a Bandleader in Massachusetts. By 1856 he would lead the first of 8 Presidential inaugurations in Washington of President John A Buchanan. Within a few years he would indeed become the unofficial "Bandmaster General of the UNION ARMY " during the Civil War and compose the most popular of all War Airs, "When Johnny Comes Marching Home". The story of Gilmore is amazing not least for its range of topics and influences but equally for the fact that Gilmore today is mostly unknown throughout America and even more so in Ireland. And yet during his life, he was reported in the Irish newspapers regularly for his concerts and Peace Jubilees and his work for Charles Stewart Parnell and Michael Davitt. His music inaugurated the Statue of Liberty in 1886, and in 1891 he welcomed in the New Year publicly in NY.

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