Honored February 3, 1995
Martin Mulhaire was born in Eyrecourt County Galway, into a family steeped in traditional music. His father Tommy played accordian, fiddle, flute, whistle and piano accordian. Eyrecourt, in East Galway is a great stronghold of traditional music. Martin started playing the accordian at the age of twelve and won the All-Ireland at age seventeen. At about this time, he started composing tunes, many of which are standard tunes today. "The Golden Keyboard" and "Carmel Mahoney Mulhaire’s," to name a few, have shown up on many records and tapes over the years.
Martin became known as an accordian player by his early records made for Gael-Linn (now out of print) and broadcast over Radio Eireann. Martin also played with the Aughrim Slopes and Killimor Ceili bands. In 1957 he was asked by Paddy Canney and P.J. Hayes to join the famous Tulla Ceili Band for a tour of England. Later that year, they won the All Ireland Ceili Band Competition in Dungarven, Co Waterford. The next stop for Martin and the Tulla Ceili Bank was New York City for St Patrick’s Day 1958. They performed a concert in the world renown Carnegie Hall and released the first long play ceili record titled Echoes of Erin, featuring Martin playing The Yellow Tinker and the Sally Gardens.
After the band returned to Ireland Martin, and his wife Carmel, stayed in the USA and raised their family. He learned to play the guitar as a hobby and for the next 20 years played lead guitar and accordian in one of the top show bands in New York. Two of his daughters, Laura on piano and Sheila on the flute, were not sitting in and playing traditional music with him. All three can be heard on Fathers and Daughters, an album released under the Shanachie Label and produced by Mick Maloney for the Ethnic Arts Center.
In 1993 Martin along with fiddler and good friend Seamus Connelly, released a new CD titled Warming Up under Green Linnet records. Also recording with Martin and Seamus is fellow Galway man Jack Coen on flute and native New Yorker Felix Dolan on piano. Warming Up features seven solos of Martin’s own compositions and has been regarded as one of the purest traditional releases for some time. It has been very well received both here in the United States and in Ireland.
Martin has long been a Comhaltas member and supporter. In the mid fifties, along with his father, they founded the first Comhaltas branch in East Galway. In 1958 while here with the Tulla Ceili Band, he was made an honorary member for life of the Paddy Killoran branch. Both Martin and his wife Carmel are also members of the Mulligan Quinn branch. The Mulhaires make their home in Flushing, Queens and are the proud parents of Brendan, Theresa Quinn, Joanie Dever, Laura, Sheila and four grandchildren.
Martin, we salute you as our 1995 honoree to the Comhaltas music Hall of Fame.