Castlebar Song Contest

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Castlebar Song Contest was an annual international song contest that was first staged in 1966[1] in Castlebar, County Mayo, Ireland. The contest was initially organized by the Castlebar Chamber of Commerce as part of a drive to increase tourism to the town. It was hoped that the competition would produce a song that would make the town famous, just as songs such as "The Rose of Tralee", "Galway Bay", or "Mary from Dungloe" had done for their respective towns. The first winning song bore the Irish version of the town's name - Caisleán A' Bharraigh.


After the first contest, the emphasis changed from finding a song named after the town to one of promoting the town through attracting composers from all over the world to the town. This strategy was successful and the town (and some of the neighbouring towns) were thronged with contest participants for the first week of October for the remainder of the contest's life. From humble beginnings with a mere £50 in prizes, the event grew in status to a point where its prize money at £20,000 was bettered only by the Yamaha Song Contest in Japan.

In 1970, the contest was recorded for television by RTÉ (the national television station) and transmitted on the following Sunday. The 1971 and 1973 contests were similarly recorded and shown later. However, the 1974 contest was broadcast live from the Old Royal Ballroom and Theatre[2] and Travellers Friend Hotel[3] in Castlebar nationally on RTÉ. Apart from 1987, when there was no contest, the event enjoyed live television coverage from 1974 until the event finished in 1988.

In 1981, the future of the song contest became political when it was debated in Dáil Éireann.[4]


Year Section Composer Singer(s) Song Title Country
1966 Overall Sheila Fawsitt-Stewart Dragoons "Caisleán A' Bharraigh"  Ireland
1967 Folk/Ballad Peter McKenzie McLoughlin Folk Group "Where Did They Go"  Ireland
1967 Pop Vera Traynor Butch Moore "No One Else"  Ireland
1967 Straight Andy Galligan Joan Connolly "One and One"  Ireland
1968 Folk/Ballad Joe Burkett/Tony Hyland City Folk "Dividing Line"  Ireland
1968 Pop Eileen Coyle Tony Keeling "The World is Ours Today"  Ireland
1968 Straight Sean Sharkey/Eddie Masterson Pat Lynch & Airchords "Reflections of You"  Ireland
1969 Folk/Ballad Ruth Kiernan Tara Folk "Soldier Boy"  Ireland
1969 Pop Mai O'Higgins/John McBreen Gary Street & Fairways "Jodi"  Ireland
1969 Straight Pat Walsh Joe Doherty & Millionaires "A Country & Western Song"  Ireland
1970 Folk/Ballad Noel and Alan Connaughton Melody Fayre "Mary I'm Nay Leaving You"  Ireland
1970 Pop John Lavery Gerry & Ohio "One Step Away"  Ireland
1970 Straight Seamus McHugh/John Fahy Red Hurley "The World Is Such An Empty Place"[5]  Ireland
1971 Folk/Ballad Vic Dawton Joe Cuddy "Diana of the Roses"  England
1971 Pop Michael Murphy La Salle "Feeling I've Got It Made"[6]  Ireland
1971 Country Donal McGrath/K. Doohan Ian Corrigan "Slumbering Goldmine"  Ireland
1971 Overall Michael Murphy La Salle "Feeling I've Got It Made"[6]  Ireland
1972 Folk/Ballad Sheila Roberts Frank Holder "Song for Jenny"  Ireland
1972 Pop Dick Farrelly Mary Lou "That's What Love Is Made Of"  Ireland
1972 Country Teresa O'Donnell Gerry Cronin "He Travels Fastest"  Ireland
1972 Straight Pat Coyle Helen Jordan "Shall I Ride"  Ireland
1972 Overall Sheila Roberts Frank Holder "Song for Jenny"  Ireland
1973 Overall Vince Hill/Ernie Dunstall Joe Cuddy "I'm Gonna Make It"  England
1974 Overall Cathal Dunne Cathal Dunne "Shalom"[7]  Ireland
1974 Country Tibor Koncz/Iván Szenes Kati Kovács "Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue"[8]  Hungary
1975 Overall Joe Burkett/Andy Galligan Des Smyth "Roulette"  Ireland
1976 Joint Winners Ray Davies

Teresa O'Donnell/Joe Bollard

Tony Steven

T. O'Donnell/Joe Bollard

"My Woman"

"Let's Star All Over"



1977 Overall John Brown John Brown/Mary Clifford "You are My Destiny"  Ireland
1978 Overall Sarah Byron/Liam Hurley Sarah Bryan "Onion"  England
1979 Overall Zack Laurence/Paul Ferguson Kim Goody "Talkin' to a Stone"  England
1980 Overall Ed Welch/Barry Mason Linda Jardim "Don't Stay for the Sake of the Children"  England
1981 Overall Miki Antony/Robin Smith Carol Kenyon "I Wasn't Born Yesterday"  England
1982 Overall Barry Mason/Don Gould Barry Mason "Big Enough for Me & You"  England
1983 Overall Shay Healy Linda Martin "Edge of the Universe"  Ireland
1984 Overall Brian O'Reilly Brian O'Reilly "Spread Your Wings"  Ireland
1985 Overall Ulf Nordquist Sten & Stanley "Don't Play A Sad Song After Midnight"[9]  Sweden
1986 Overall Tim Norell & Ola Håkonsson KATZ "Oh, Johnny Dance With Me Tonight"  Sweden
1988 Overall Brendan Graham Linda Martin "If I Should Ever Lose Your Love"  Ireland


  1. ^ "The late Mr Michael McDermott, Spencer Street, Castlebar". The Connaught Telegraph. 1998-07-29. Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  2. ^ Commins, Michael (2008-02-26). "Big Tom for final TF show". The Mayo News. Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  3. ^ [1] Archived 19 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "Dáil Éireann - Volume 331 - 01 December, 1981 - Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Castlebar Song Contest". Office of the Houses of the Oireachtas. 1981-12-01. Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  5. ^ "Red Hurley". Irish Showbands. Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  6. ^ a b "Music in Castlebar". Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  7. ^ "DPTV Media". Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  8. ^ Billboard - Google Könyvek. Retrieved 2013-03-05. 
  9. ^ "Sten & Stanley". Retrieved 2009-05-06. 

External links[edit]