Musicians who toured Cork hospitals every Christmas Day

Holly Bough editor's pick: Catherine Mahon Buckley recalls how her father and other musicians used to cheer up children in Cork hospitals in the 1950s and 60s
Musicians who toured Cork hospitals every Christmas Day

The Irish Federation of Musicians on a visit to the children’s ward at St Finbarr’s Hospital

DURING the Covid pandemic, who did their best to keep our spirits up? Our artists, actors, singers and musicians. So many gave concerts on social media free of charge, or reached out — virtually and at a social distance — to staff and folk in hospitals and residential homes.

Chris Mahon, father of Catherine Mahon Buckley, with a baby and his trumpet - he was secretary of Irish Federation of Musicians
Chris Mahon, father of Catherine Mahon Buckley, with a baby and his trumpet - he was secretary of Irish Federation of Musicians

Artists are a unique quality of people — always prepared to entertain in vulnerable times.

In the 1950s and ’60s, The Irish Federation of Musicians would arrange with all their members to visit hospitals throughout Cork every Christmas Day to entertain the patients and staff - as these photos show.

They would give up time with their own families and spend the day entertaining free of charge.

The musicians would meet at their HQ on South Mall with their instruments and pressies and off they would go. I remember it well, as my dad Chris Mahon, the Federation Secretary, wouldn’t arrive home until 6pm. Therefore we never had dinner until after that time.

Nothing has changed — artists are still a superb group, who we should cherish and respect.

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