Tribute to legendary Cork show band singer as he reaches 80

Art Supple from East Cork marked his 80th birthday this week
Tribute to legendary Cork show band singer as he reaches 80

Show band singer Art Supple. Picture Dan Linehan

THIS week marked a big milestone in the life of an Irish showband legend. Art Supple, from Gortroe in East Cork, reached the age of 80, writes John Arnold.

Born into a farming family in Gortroe, between Youghal and Killeagh, Art attended the local Clonpriest National School. A life of farming beckoned, but young Art always had a gra for singing and playing and listening to music. He also had a great love for the game of hurling – he was 55 when he played his last game for his beloved St Ita's Club.

His showbusiness life began with a local group, the Barony Aces, which played around East Cork. Then Art joined the famous Pat Irwin All Stars.

His life-long friend and neighbour Liam Gleeson grew up with Art and said: “At a young age, we could see he had an amazing talent. He had a the voice of an angel and still has after all these years. His ability to both sing, play and entertain is legendary.

“He was known in the business as Mr Personality and that’s a great name for a true superstar of East Cork and a great neighbour too,” adds Liam.

With the Victors Showband, Art Supple became a household name all over Ireland and toured in Europe, America and Canada with them. Drawing crowds of between 2,000 and 3,000 to Redbarn and other dance halls in the ’60s and ’70s became the norm for Art. As the Dance Hall scene faded, he went on the cabaret, concert and wedding circuit.

A life-long Pioneer, Art played senior hurling with Castlecomer in Kilkenny when his native parish had no club. With St Ita’s, he gave a lifetime of service - he is now Club President.

How he savoured the club’s very first East Cork Championship win this year, when the Jamesy Kelleher Cup came to Pilmore and Gortroe.

He continues to sing and entertain and his rendition of Noreen Bawn is incomparable.

Congratulations, Art, from generations of dancers and concert goers that you have entertained. Enjoy the big birthday and have a great Christmas. Long may you keep singing.

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