Artane Band

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Artane Band
SchoolArtane School of Music
LocationSt David's Park, Artane, Dublin, Ireland
FoundedApril 1871; 152 years ago (1871-04)
DirectorRonan O'Reilly

The Artane Band (Irish: Banna Ard Aidhin)[1][2] is a marching band for young musicians based at the Artane School of Music in Artane in Dublin, Ireland.


The band was originally called the Artane Boys Band, with members drawn from the pupils at Artane Industrial School, an industrial school which closed in 1969.[3] Its name changed to "Artane Band" in 2004 when girls were first admitted.[4]


Foundation and ethos[edit]

The band was formed in 1872 and first performed in public in 1874 for the visiting Prince of Wales, later Edward VII.[5] The band performed outside Ireland for the first time at the London Exhibition of 1884.[6] The band also played for Queen Victoria during her visit to the industrial school in 1900 and performed for King George V in 1911 during his visit to Maynooth College even playing "God Save the King".[7] The band has also played for US Presidents Kennedy, Nixon and Clinton during their state visits to Ireland.[8]

It became well known for playing at Croke Park at major matches of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), playing before the match and at the half time interval, and leading the All-Ireland final teams' pre-match procession around the pitch.[9][3][10] Its first GAA matches were on Whit Monday 1886,[10][3] and the association encouraged spectators to sing "Amhrán na bhFiann" and other Irish songs to the band's accompaniment; this reflected a commitment to cultural nationalism shared by the GAA and the Christian Brothers who ran the school.[citation needed]

The GAA invited the band to play at 1947 All Ireland Football Final at the Polo Grounds, New York, after which the went on to play in Boston.[11] The band also played at Wembley Stadium in London in 1957 when it hosted its first GAA matches.[12]

Artane Industrial School allegations[edit]

Allegations of historical child abuse at Artane Industrial School were publicised in the 1990s and confirmed by the 2009 report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse.[3] However, the commission's report said the band had been a positive experience for its members.[4] There were calls for the band to change its name to break the association with the discredited institution.[3] As of 2016, the band management regarded its name as relating to the Artane district and not the defunct industrial school.[3]

Later activities[edit]

The school moved to its the old refectory building following a fire in 1969, which also damaged uniforms, instruments, and music scripts. The band was helped resume with donations from the GAA, donations of music (and arrangements) from other bands including the US Navy and Marine Corps bands.[13]

In 1993, the band led the first Moscow St. Patrick's Day Parade.[8] The band has also performed with include Bing Crosby, Neil Diamond, Finbar Wright and Frank Patterson.[8]

1998 saw the GAA join the board of management of the school, with the foundation of the Artane School of Music Trust, and in 2002 girls join the bands for the first time.[14]

In 2009, the school was awarded the Dublin Lord Mayors award for its services to the community by Lord Mayor Eibhlin Byrne.[15] and also played at the Oxegen 2009 music festival.[4]

In 2011, the band performed during Queen Elizabeth II's visit to Croke Park.[16] 2015 saw the establishment of the Artane Youth Choir for secondary school students,[citation needed] and the adult Artane Community Choir.[17] In 2016 the organisation celebrated its "130 year partnership" with the GAA.[18] In 2018, following "extensive renovations", the hall was officially reopened by the Lord Mayor of Dublin Nial Ring.[19]

Other groups and activities[edit]

The Artane Senior Band was founded in 1988 to provide former youth members with the option to continue playing.[20] Since 2000, the band has also welcomed adults who had not previously been youth members of the Artane Band.[20]

Since 2003, the Artane School of Music has provided instrument and vocal tuition to students on the performance module of the undergraduate degree in music at the DCU Mater Dei Centre.[21]

The Artane School of Music Annual Showcase is a concert performed every year. In 2019, the annual showcase event was held in the National Concert Hall.[22]

In popular culture[edit]

The drummer and co-founder of U2, Larry Mullen Jr, played with the (then) Artane Boys Band.[23] The Hothouse Flowers saxophonist Leo Barnes and Robert Arkins of The Commitments, were also members of the band.[8]

Uniformed members of the band appear on the CD cover image of INXS's 1992 album Welcome to Wherever You Are,[24] and in the music video for U2's 1998 single, "Sweetest Thing".[25]


  • The Music of Ireland (7-inch EP), The Artane Boys Band, Conducted by J. W. Hickey, Connoisseur Records, 1975.[26]
  • Hold my hand / Amhran na bhFiann & The Sunday Game (7-inch EP), Artane Boys Band, Evergeen.[citation needed]
  • The Winds of Change (LP), The Artane Boys Band, Harmac, 1989.[citation needed]
  • Home of the Artane Boys Band (LP), The Artane Boys Band, Harp Records/Pickwick Recordings, 1982.[citation needed]
  • Ireland on the March (LP), The Artane Boys Band of Dublin / The Fintan Lalor Bagpipe Band of Dublin, Avoca Recordings Ltd. USA, 1968.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "19/11/2013 : Seolann an tAire Deenihan Plean Straitéiseach Cheolscoil Ard Aidhin 2013 - 2016 i bPáirc an Chrócaigh - An Roinn Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta".
  2. ^ "SEO LINN'S HALF TIME PERFORMANCE AT CROKER". 30 September 2016. Archived from the original on 2 April 2019. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Hilliard, Mark (5 September 2016). "Call to rebrand Artane Band due to 'trauma'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  4. ^ a b c McGreevy, Ronan (17 June 2009). "Artane Band set to take to the stage at Oxegen". The Irish Times. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  5. ^ Corless, Damian (27 November 2011). "Legendary Artane band boy". Irish Independent. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  6. ^ Artane Band, Traditional Irish Music Artists, Trad Ireland.
  7. ^ "Reconciliation likely to be keynote of resumed royal visits by Denis Fahey, Opinion". The Irish Times. 28 June 2010. Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  8. ^ a b c d "Artane Boys' Band director in tune with musical talent". Irish Times. 10 December 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  9. ^ Rouse, Paul (Spring–Summer 2008). "A Day Out in Dublin at the Hurling: The All-Ireland Hurling Final 2005, Cork vs. Galway". Éire-Ireland. 43 (1–2): 205–221. doi:10.1353/eir.0.0006.
  10. ^ a b "The Artane Band and GAA celebrate a 130 year partnership" (Press release). GAA. 15 June 2016. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  11. ^ The Artane Band History,, February 2002.
  12. ^ London 125: Wembley At Whit London GAA News, 25 March 2021.
  13. ^ Older than the GAA by Tony Keegan, Gaelic Sport, December 1980.
  14. ^ Artane Band typifies the sound of the summer by Eoghan Cormican, Irish Examiner, 31 December 2013.
  15. ^ 2009 - Lord Mayor - Eibhlin Byrne Previous recipients of the Lord Mayor (1989-2019),
  16. ^ Queen Elizabeth begins second day of state visit The Journal,, 18 May 2011.
  17. ^ "Artane Community Choir".
  18. ^ "Meet Emily McDonnell - the first-ever woman to lead the Artane Band onto the All-Ireland football final pitch". Irish Independent. 17 September 2016. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  19. ^ Power, Jack (16 October 2018). "Artane Band hall reopens following extensive renovation". Irish Times. Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  20. ^ a b "Artane Senior Band - Brass Bands".
  21. ^ Performance - BA Religious Education and Music Dublin City University
  22. ^ "Artane School of Music: Annual Showcase". Journal of Music. 15 April 2019. Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  23. ^ Sweeney, Eamon (8 November 2017). "Alice Cooper: 'Larry Mullen is the only drummer to ask me for my lyrics'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  24. ^ "Where are they now? INXS' Artane Boys Band Cover Stars". 8 November 2012.
  25. ^ "U2 - Sweetest Thing (Official Music Video)".
  26. ^ The Artane Boys' Band Of Dublin - Irish Military Marches

External links[edit]