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Grehan Sisters Recordings

01 May 05 - 07:00 AM (#1475561)
Subject: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: Mick O'Farrell

I'm a big fan of the Grehan Sisters and have tried (largely in vain) over the last few years to track down their entire recorded output which probably amounts to about 25 songs.
I've got all the obvious stuff which is readily available, but I know the sisters contributed to an album on the Gael-Linn label along with other artists in the early 60's and that they recorded about three singles for the Rex (decca) and Transatlantic labels in the late 60's
I also know that the youngest of the Grehans, Helen (Bernie) took part in several RTE productions and radio broadcasts in the 80's.
I've looked in all the obvious places like ebay, Gemm and Music Stack and even contacted Helen Grehan herself, who was very helpful, but I've made no real headway. If anyone knows of the whereabouts of any of these recordings or could suggest a good place to look, I would be eternally grateful.

Cheers Mick

01 May 05 - 01:53 PM (#1475837)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: GUEST,Bill Kennedy

I have a copy of the Gael Linn recording Flea Ceoil, recorded at the 1964 Fleadh in Clones, Co. Monaghan. Na deirfiuracha Grehan agus Fergus Cahill are represented on two cuts, the sisters sing 'the Nightingale' with Fergus' banjo accompaniment and they play the spoons (but do not sing) behind his version of the tune 'the High Reel'. I would love to have copies and/or information about what other recordings they have done. please make a list of what you know they have recorded. I'd be happy to burn you a copy of these cuts or the whole album if you like.

01 May 05 - 02:52 PM (#1475877)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: Arkie

Hopefully Dale will see this. He is pretty knowledgeable about the Grehan Sisters.

01 May 05 - 03:04 PM (#1475889)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: GUEST,Dale

Bill, various cuts from their album are scattered all over the place. One recording that I know of contains most of them. The person to get in touch with here is Snuffy. He is the resident expert on the Grehan Sisters. I have been meaning for some time to make a thread which brings together all the things we have talked about on here. Maybe this will stir me into action ~~ maybe not. :-)

In short, here are the ones I know of:

My Uncle's In The Dail
On the Galtymore Mountains
The Fairy Boy
The Lake Of Coolfin
The Orange And The Green
The Wexford Massacre
Tommy McDonagh
The Lonely Banna Strand
The Wexford Massacre
The Black Velvet Band
Henry Joy
Gallagher's Frolics/Leitram Jig (inst)
The Donegal Reel (inst)

Do a Mudcat search for each of those titles and you will find lyrics and discussions for most. Scattered about here and there in the threads are discussions of the Grehan Sisters.

Most if not all of the above are from their 1967 album. Hopefully Snuffy will be along before too long to straighten it out.

Heh, just before posting I saw Arkie's comment. I will still defer to Snuffy and a couple of other Mudcatters whose names I cannot recall as being better versed in their music. I know some do know them and their current whereabouts.

About where to find the recordings, I will make a list of sources later.

01 May 05 - 03:08 PM (#1475891)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: GUEST,Dale

I probably didn't address Mick's question adequately enough. As much as he has been researching, he likely has the ones I listed.

I too would be interested in "the rest" of their music.

01 May 05 - 04:29 PM (#1475946)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: Big Mick

It would be wonderful to have a complete listing in order to fill out a collection.


01 May 05 - 04:54 PM (#1475964)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: MartinRyan

If you guys collate your list of records/tapes/cd's etc. including compilations, I can check it against the Irish traditional Music Archive holdings.


01 May 05 - 07:01 PM (#1476032)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: MoorleyMan

There's a four-disc Castle Communications CD compilation set called Irish Folk Favourites, MBSCD. 404, contents of which are "licensed from Transatlantic". Disc 3 of this set starts off with 11 tracks by the Grehan Sisters:
Victoria, On the Gallymore Mountains, Jigs (Gallagher's Frolics/Leitram Jig, The Lake Of Coolfin, The Fairy Boy, The Black Velvet Band, Lonely Banna Strand, My Uncles In The Dail, Tommy McDonagh, The Donegal Reel and The Wexford Massacre.
It's stirring stuff, and I too would love to hear more of their recordings... now that's what I call real voices!

03 May 05 - 09:31 AM (#1476953)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: Snuffy

I'm at work now, so this is all from memory. I'll check it out tonight.

That Castle CD appears to be a straight reissue of 6 LPs from about 1965/70. The Grehan's part are the same tracks in the same order as their 1967 LP On The Galtymore Mountains. I have a copy of that autographed by Francie, Bernie and Marie (but not by Packy Byrne, who also plays on the album).

The other two tracks that Dale mentioned (The Orange And The Green and Henry Joy) are from a "best of Irish"-type compilation, but I don't think it gives any details of origin.

Those are all that I have. Like most posters to this thread, I'd love to know where to find more.

WassaiL! V

03 May 05 - 10:32 AM (#1477001)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: GUEST,Lighter at work

I like their style a lot. The delivery is so strong and unaffected. Crisp, too, and with a straightforward belief in the lyrics without apology or condescension. They balanced trad singing and modern professionalism just about perfectly. To my mind anyway.

03 May 05 - 10:55 AM (#1477036)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: GUEST,Dale

I couldn't get my math to work out. 11 + 2 = 13, but I saw that I had 14 on my list, looked (and overlooked) for the problem until I saw that I had listed The Wexford Massacre twice.

In the United States, the 11 are found on
Irish Folk Favourites Vol. 3 [St. Clair] available from Amazon for $6.98, well worth it. You might want to check with Dick first.

Audio CD (February 27, 2001)
Original Release Date: February 13, 2001
Label: St. Clair Records
Catalog: #72222

As Snuffy says, the other two are from some other source and are more frequently anthologized than the 11 from his LP.

Here's an inexpensive one: Best of Irish Folk, Vol. 1 [Passport] from Barnes & Noble, $5.98.

Release Date: Oct 1 1996
Total Running time: 33:57
Catalog No.: 1641
UPC: 777966164120

I agree with Lighter completely. You get the feeling that they meant every single word they sang with absolute conviction. That counts for a lot.

Snuffy (and others who might know): Given the interest in their old recordings, is there any chance at all that they might record again? They really are not old at all. Just a bit of wishful thinking there, I guess.

03 May 05 - 11:30 AM (#1477069)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: Mick O'Farrell

Thanks to everyone who replied to my original message. Firstly some background info - there were, and indeed still are three Grehan Sisters, in order of age Marie, Fracie and Helen (the record sleeves refer to Helen as Bernie, for reasons unknown!) Their parents owned a pub in Boyle, Co. Roscommon, called Grehan's bar which is where the girls started their folk career, entertaining the customers.(The pub still exists, but is now called 'The Moving Stairs' having been sold by the family in the late 1990's). Francie played the mandolin and ukelele banjo (she won the All Ireland Fleadth award on a number of occasions). Helen played the guitar and spoons and Marie played the spoons and was the main vocalist of the group, although all three sisters sang. For about two years in the mis 60's they lived/played around Dublin, often at O'Donaghue's. Early in 1967 they moved to Manchester and became well known on the English folk scene. I believe they finally split up in the early 1970's, with Marie settling in Manchester, Francie in Dublin and Helen returning to Boyle.

The following is what I believe to be a complete list of their studio recordings. Most of this information comes from Helen Grehan her goodself, so it's a pretty authoritive.

1964:- Two tracks on an LP called Flea Ceoil (Gael-Linn)

-THE NIGHTINGALE (with Fergal Cahill) -THE HIGH REEL (the sisters play spoons only (prob. Helen),on this Fergal Cahill track, but do not sing) (My thanks to Bill Kennedy for providing this info, as I knew the album existed but I did not know the details).

1966:- A single on the Rex (Decca) label - details unknown.

1966:- An four track EP on the Rex (Decca) label.



1968:- Two tracks listed as 'unreleased' appeared on the Transatlantic compilation -'Here's To The Irish', they have since been include on numerous compilations.


1967-1968:- Two singles were released on the Transatlantic label - TRASP-14 and TRASP-20.

-SAVE THE OLD HOME/VICTORIA -Details of the second single unknown.

1969:- At least one song, (perhaps more ?) appeared on Transatlantic TRA-SAM-11 (Does SAM stand for sampler ?)


That's the compete list as far as I'm aware. They also were filmed performing one song for the Irish Folk film 'O'Donoghue's Opera' in 1965.


As the sisters performed live, so many times, I can only imagine that a few live recordings/bootlegs do exist, gathering dust in somebodies loft, but I do not personally know of any. My knowledge of their subsequent (solo) careers is a bit more patchy, I know that Helen contributed tracks to an Lp called 'Sligo Ceili'. In the early 80's and 90's she recorded for national and local radio and a programme for RTE tv in Ireland that went out over three nights. Francie performs with two Dublin based groups, one a spiritual group which have released a number of tapes and also a folk group, which have also released a tape unfortunately I don't know the name of either group or any of their releases. I do not know if Marie still performs, although I know the three of them still occasionally perform an impromtu session at the 'Moving Stairs' pub, when they are all in Boyle for a family gathering.

So there we have it, what a pity all these songs haven't been gathered together - a Grehan Sister's box set, now there's a thought!

If anyone has any Grehan Sister's rarities, live recordigs, solo stuff etc. I'd love to hear from them, especially if anyone knows where I can get a copy of O'Donoghue's Opera. Also if anyone knows the name of Francie Grehan's two Dublin based groups and where I can get copies of there recordings, please let me know.

Bill I would definately love a copy of the Flea Ceoil LP, I can burn you a copy of the few rarities I do have in exchange. If you sign up to Mudcat you can drop me a personal message and we can exchange details.

Also Snuffy, if you're out there and can add to or correct my discography would love to hear from you.

Cheers Mick

03 May 05 - 11:31 AM (#1477071)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: GUEST,Bill Kennedy

so the two songs I have on Flea Ceoil mentioned above are not anthologized anywhere else. They do a lovely version of the nightingale and thier spoon playing is tasteful. It's probably as hard to find an lp of this as it is to find galtymore mountains. I can copy it for folks if you like.

03 May 05 - 12:18 PM (#1477110)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: GUEST,Bill Kennedy

I do an Irish music radio program in Cleveland, Ohio, but we webcast as well, so you can hear it anywhere in the world. This coming Saturday, May 7, I will play both Grehan sisters cuts.

The web address is

the show is called Sweeney Astray, it is broadcast live at 12-2 PM EDT and each show is archived for one week so you can listen to it at your convenience and/or download it and burn it to a cd or whatever you want to do with it. Just go to the program schedule, find Saturday, Sweeney Astray, and choose the stream your computer can handle to the right.

The following week, May 14, will be the first show of the summer schedule and my show will move to 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM, a half hour earlier.

I will get around to re-joining Mudcat, Mick, and we can e-mail, as I would love to have copies of what you have, and I will burn a copy of the lp and xerox or digitally photograph the album cover and liner notes (most of which are in Irish, as I alluded to in my original post) to send as well.

03 May 05 - 08:51 PM (#1477515)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: Snuffy


The LP is entitled On The Galtymore Mountains on Transatlantic TRA 160. Recorded by Nathan Joseph and Bill Leader 1967.

There is a dedication: We dedicate this LP with thanks to Jeff and Des; and,since, to the memory of Jeff.

As well as notes on the individual songs the sleeve notes also have this to say about the sisters:
The Grehan Sisters, Marie, Francie and Bernie come from Boyle in County Roscommon. Marie is 23 years old, Francie 22 and Bernie 18. Their parents own a pub 'Grehans Bar' in Boyle and the sisters started their folk singing career by entertaining the customers in the bar. Francie is the main instrumentalist and what an instrumentalist! At the age of 15 she came second in the miscellaneous instruments section of the All Ireland Fleadh, beaten by the winner by one mark and after that she was placed first or second in four other All Ireland Fleadhs. Bernie plays guitar and is also a phenomenal spoons player. Marie also plays the spoons and is the main vocal strength of the group.
For about two years The Grehans established a reputation singing and playing professionally around the Dublin area. Early in 1967 they came to stay in England and are now based in Manchester where they are building up a tremendous following, appearing at folk clubs and concerts and also on radio and television.
In both their material and their presentation, The Grehan Sisters are one hundred percent genuine.There is none of the false slickness of the city performer who adopts folk music second hand. The Grehans have lived and grown up with their material and they have too much respect for it to try and gloss it over with surplus trappings. They are natural singers, natural performers and natural musicians and their feeling and enthusiasm for their music is infectious. Under the circumstances we'll go so far as to say that they are also likely to be naturally successful-and we think that you'll agree when you've heard this record.

You say that the record sleeves refer to Helen as Bernie, for reasons unknown: on my copy "Helen" wrote Lots of love & lots of Good Wishes, Bernie x. And although the sleeve always says Francie, she signed herself Francey

-HENRY JOY -THE ORANGE & THE GREEN - I have these on a 1989 Castle Communications compilation Best of Irish Folk CCSCD221, which I see from the sticker cost 6.99 at Our Price. This includes tracks by such well-known Irish acts as Royston and Heather Wood (sic), Hamish Imlach, John Renbourn and Dave Swarbrick!

04 May 05 - 01:55 PM (#1478021)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: Mick O'Farrell

Hi Snuffy
Thanks for the info, with regards to the Helen/Bernie issue, I based my comment on a letter Helen Grehan kindly wrote to me some years ago, in which she said - 'you might remember me as 'Bernie', this is what the record sleeve calls me, but my proper name is Helen!!'
No doubt there's an interesting story behind that one.

04 May 05 - 03:12 PM (#1478090)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: Folkiedave

The Grehan's stayed at our house in Hull many years ago a couple of times after appearing at the Folk Union One at the Bluebell. They told us the second time that they barred the door with chairs etc. the first time they stayed. (We were four blokes)

Actually they were perfectly safe.

I remember calling at the house they stayed in Manchester somewhere along the Hyde Road area some years later which they shared (and I believed performed) with two brothers whose first names I seem to think were Larry and Terry but for the life of me cannot remember their second names (Matthews?).

Bernie was known as Bernie because that's what they told us here name was!!

Best regards,

Dave Eyre

04 May 05 - 03:53 PM (#1478121)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: Mary Humphreys

I remember the Grehan sisters when they first came to Manchester and played at the MSG on a Monday night. They nearly caused a riot they were so amazingly good.
They had their younger brother with them who used to sing unaccompanied songs, but who never quite matched their fantastic musicianship.

06 May 05 - 10:19 AM (#1479373)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings


09 May 05 - 10:03 AM (#1480635)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: GUEST,Bill Kennedy

I can send a cd of the Flea Ceoil recording to anyone who is interested.

09 May 05 - 01:00 PM (#1480844)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: GUEST,Bill Kennedy

to add to the info above, it does not credit musicians on the album but my guess is it is Francie playing mandolin on Fergus Cahill's song on side b, and maybe Bernie on a guitar.

09 May 05 - 07:51 PM (#1481183)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: Mick O'Farrell

Just a quick update on the Grehan Sisters discography. TRA-SAM-11 is actually the album 'Here's To The Irish Volume 2', released on the Transatlantic label in 1969.
It does indeed contain the rare Grehan Sisters track 'Cricklewood', as well as 'Victoria', which had already been released on their only full length LP, - 'On The Galtymore Mountains' (1967).
Cricklewood is one of the sides of the Sisters 1969 Transatlantic single TRASP-20, it's probably the 'A' side, the title of the 'B' side I still don't know.

Bill, thanks for the extra info, like I said, I'd love a copy of the Flea Ceoil LP, and I'll burn you a copy of the few rare tracks I do have in exchange. When you rejoin Mudcat drop me a personal message and we'll sort it out from there.

09 May 05 - 08:36 PM (#1481203)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: GUEST,Dale

Bill, I got the album from your radio station download. With my poor dial-up, it took about four hours for the two hour show. No big deal though, I just let the machine run to do its stuff when I was not right there watching it.

It came down as a 56K MP3, which I saved as a wave while working on splitting tracks, etc.

I have not listened to all, but I did listen to The Nightingale, a song which has been fairly commonly done here in Arkansas over the years. I found it very nice and a bit subdued, at least for the Grehans!

Thank You for making it available.

10 May 05 - 10:12 AM (#1481629)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: GUEST,Bill Kennedy

what I have done is download the program as an mp3 then convert it to a wave file, exported the album, 1 cut per side, then exported just the Grehan Sisters two songs from side a, and the Fergus Cahill song from side b that I believe features Francie on Mandolin at least, and perhaps Bernie on guitar as well. BTW I think there are two spoons players on side a, not just one. If anyone wants a cd of this PM me and I'll send it to you. I am a member, just an inactive one for a while now, Joe Offer has reconnected the links, I believe.

12 May 05 - 09:32 AM (#1483273)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: bill kennedy

two possible sources for additional recordings would be Brendan O'Duill and Peter Hunt who recorded the Gael-Linn Flea Cheoil album. There were 17 cuts on the album and three of them were the Grehan Sisters with Fergus Cahill. No Other artist was represented on more than one cut. If they made that much of an impression, it's possible more of their music (if there was any more) was recorded.

Also, at the same Flea in Clones in 1964, Peter Kennedy and Pete Seeger were recording for Folktrax, an album that was later released as FTX -172, "The Fox Chase" This info is from Folktrax' website: "Tracks #7-13 recorded by Peter Kennedy and Pete Seeger at the Fladh Cheoil, Clones, Co. Monaghan, 18th. May, 1964. For the last two tracks, #12 and #13, Felix is joined by all the other Uillean pipers who were performing at the Fladh: Leo Rowsome, Sean Seery, Pat McNulty, Dan Doherty & Seamus Dowling.

Edited by Peter Kennedy and first published by Folktrax 1975."

Sean Seery also appears on one cut of the Flea Cheoil recording and Felix Doran's cut is not one of those available on the Folktrax recording, so they may not have been recording at the same locations during the Fleadh, but it is remotely possible that Kennedy and Seeger recorded something by the Grehan SIsters, maybe Bernie's memory could be jogged about that, though getting the material from Peter Kennedy might be an impossible task. Folktrax never released any recordings of the Grehan sisters, but they may have recorded them.

12 May 05 - 10:21 AM (#1483295)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: bill kennedy

I can also send digital images of the front and back cover of the lp to anyone who wants it.

16 May 05 - 09:14 AM (#1485987)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: bill kennedy

it's also interesting that Peter Kennedy recorded John Reilly in Boyle, so he certainly should have been aware of the Grehan sisters one would think.

17 Jun 05 - 02:20 PM (#1503077)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: Mick O'Farrell

Just another quick update to the Grehan Sisters discography. The 1973 album 'Sligo Ceili', consists of 15 traditional jigs, reels and airs. Bernie (Helen) Grehan plays guitar alongside Seamus Tansey - flute; Joe Sheridan - accordian and Bernadette Sheridan - bodhran.

24 Jul 05 - 07:26 PM (#1527340)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: MartinRyan

Met Bernie at a singing session in Boyle, last night. Still dinging beautifully.


24 Jul 05 - 07:27 PM (#1527342)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: MartinRyan

Better correct that one quickly!

...still SINGING beautifully!


11 Sep 06 - 01:40 PM (#1831974)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: GUEST,des young

Could anyone please pass a message to Bernie to contact derek (des) young at - many thanks

13 Sep 06 - 01:41 PM (#1833654)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: Geoff Wallis

This is a great thread and a timely reminder about the talent of the Grehan sisters.

We should all be getting on to the Sanctuary Records Group (which owns the Transatlantic back catalogue) - - and putting pressure on the label to release a full-scale retrospective of the sisters.

29 Sep 06 - 02:13 PM (#1846182)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: Mick O'Farrell

Des, I'll try and get a message to Bernie.
Geoff, that's a great idea about Sanctuary records, I'll drop them a line.

11 Oct 06 - 06:11 AM (#1855645)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings

Thanks Mick!

11 Oct 06 - 10:05 PM (#1856427)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: GUEST,thurg

If you like the Grehans, you may (or may NOT) like these gals:

The Keenan Sisters. Try "If I Was an Apple" - if it doesn't put a smile on your face, you're one tough customer.

18 Jan 08 - 10:36 PM (#2239766)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: GUEST,Guest, Roberto Mera

Hi. I am a Grehan Sisters fan from Mendoza, Argentina. Since the first time I heard them, they captured me. Not easy to get the material here in Argentina, but I managed to get a few of their songs. Even though their recorded production is not very extensive, I think they capture the true spirit of Irish Music.
Well done, Grehans.

28 Jan 08 - 10:15 AM (#2246994)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: GUEST,c osullivan

Anyone who's in Ireland and wants to hear Bernie Grehan live can come along to the Boyle Singers' Circle on the 3rd Saturday of every month (including the Summer ones). Hele/Bernie is usually present and always in good voice when she is. See for updates on sessions and information on venue.

28 Jan 08 - 10:45 AM (#2247027)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: Dave Hunt

I was very pleased that two of them (Bernie and?) made it to Packie Byrne's 90th birthday party last Feb in Ardara. I hadn't seen them for a very long time - since we used to book them for the Giffard Folk Club in Wolverhampton - in the 70s I guess. - and they were still in fine voice! - and Packie was on wonderful form too - great man, great weekend.
Dave Hunt

28 Jan 08 - 11:42 AM (#2247077)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: Bonnie Shaljean

That was Marie and Francie - Bernie/Helen was ill and couldn't make it. They are all living back in Ireland now. Yep, fab weekend, super to see everyone. I spoke on the phone recently to Packie and asked him about the programme which was being filmed. He says it's not out yet but they're still working on it. When there's any news on this I'll start a new thread.

It was due to Mudcat that I was able to trace Marie and phone to tell them about the birthday bash (she's lovely) so thanks guys!

04 Feb 08 - 05:25 PM (#2253523)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: GUEST,Maurice

They had a small part in this film
...I hope I did that right, it's a film called "O'Donoghue's Opera" made in 1965, runs about 37 minutes and well worth a look if you approach it in the context of the time. If that url doesn't work look at a mudcat thread for "Ted McKenna" and you'll find a link.

04 Feb 08 - 08:07 PM (#2253646)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: Snuffy

Many thanks for that link, Maurice: the url worked just fine. Wonderful to be able to see them actually performing again.

29 May 08 - 06:48 AM (#2351788)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: GUEST,Maureen

The Grehan Sisters will get together for a one off concert during this years Boyle Arts Festival. They will perform a concert in their old home now the Moving Stairs on Friday July 25th at 10pm. Full details from

29 May 08 - 10:14 AM (#2351975)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: ard mhacha

Bill Kennedy I have that Clones Fleadh LP, the live recording is perfect for getting the feel of the Fleadh, when Barney McKenna starts up you can hear the man with the Dublin accent shouting out"good old Barney".
There is two very good Ceili band recordings, and the Grehan sisters were also regulars on Radio Eireann shows, a class act.

14 Aug 08 - 07:16 AM (#2413336)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: GUEST,Johan Sandberg, Sweden

Hi every one!

I must say that the Grehan Sisters are the best ever irish folk music band.

Since I am a professionall web developer, I have for some years thought of making a web site to honor them. If there is any one here who have something to contribute with - like stories, discography, biography, fotos and so on, I would be glad if you mail it to me at You will of course be mentioned in the site as contributers!

I hope the site will be up and running by christmas 2008.

20 Aug 08 - 04:44 PM (#2418910)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: GUEST,Martin Farrell

The DVD of O'Donoghues Opera can be bought from Wonderful stuff featuring THe Dubliners, Johnny Moynihan etc.

11 Oct 08 - 07:35 PM (#2463320)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: GUEST,Boltonian

I have only just discovered this site. Thanks.

I first came across the Grehans in the 1960s via a Transatlantic recording in (I think) 1967, which included 'Henry Joy' and the 'Orange and the Green.' I have heard nothing from them since.

I spent a couple of days in Boyle some years ago but hadn't realised it was the sisters' home town. We visit Ireland as often as we can, so next time we go we will try to make a detour via Co. Roscommon.

It was strange watching the film of 'O'Donoghue's Opera,' with a very young Ronnie Drew (alas no longer with us) - thanks Maurice. He might have made a half-decent actor if he had not worshipped the booze quite so much. But then he would not have been Ronnie Drew!

12 Oct 08 - 06:48 AM (#2463520)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: Colin Randall

Apart from the spoons, the thing that comes into my head whenever I think of the Grehans is the song Cricklewood.

Helen was definitely Bernie in the days I have in mind (1969-ish in the North-eastern folk clubs, where they were regarded as superstars) and the entertainment value was immense. Wasn't it her who'd take off round the room, playing the spoons on any available part of a member of the audience's anatomy? Great memories.

I located that YouTube video mentioned by Guest Maurice, and the Grehans' contribution is relatively short but since the clip runs to 37 minutes (dated but still fascinating, the remnants of an aborted Irish musical), it's still worth a look. Go direct to YouTube and look up O'Donoghue's Opera (there are other, shorter clips too by the look of it) or check it out at

19 Mar 09 - 12:28 PM (#2592668)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: GUEST,Orthodox celt

PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!!!
I'm not from Ireland,and for me is hard to understand the lyrics.
So,if someone could write down Henry Jou lyrics on this forum,I would be gratefull to him.

19 Mar 09 - 06:08 PM (#2592913)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: MartinRyan

Well, if its Henry Joy you seek, one song of that name is HERE


06 Jul 09 - 11:56 PM (#2673534)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: GUEST,great to see all these Grehan sisters fans

Hi. I am Roberto Mera, from Mendoza, Argentina. I am quite a fan of the Grehan sisters, i stumbled on a pair of songs interpreted by them in one of those "Best Irish Music" or something like that. I treasure the few songs i do have (not many a Grehan sister fan club here by the ANdes mountains!)
Best wishes to all

15 Aug 09 - 08:49 PM (#2701317)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: GUEST,Rose

Gidday from the Gold Coast Australia I would have to be a number one fan of the Aus. Grehan Sisters Fan Club (if we had one) Have really loved their music for about 15 yrs since finding it on"Irish Folk Favourites" Great to hear that they are back in the ole country and still singing occasionly. Has inspired me to return to Ireland again just on the chance of hearing them live ! God willing.

20 Sep 10 - 09:17 PM (#2990596)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: theballadeer

I would love to add the Grehan Sisters to my website ... Is there anyone out there that could send me covers scans of any recordings ... as I have no original recordings in my collection...

oxbownick1 AT

Thanks in advance ... Nick

10 Jan 13 - 01:04 PM (#3464038)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge

Helen is still involved with the Boyle Sungers Circle as advised by C O Sullivan a few years ago- try the back room of Dodds' pub, the Crescent in Boyle centre- every third Saturday night about 9.30 (Irish time!) she's still a grand and distinctive singer,
with a lot of her own material

22 Feb 14 - 05:17 PM (#3603890)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: GUEST,Deirdriu McQuaid


I have just came across this board. I am involved with a group who are organising a 50th aniversary celebration of the 1964 All Ireland Fleadh Cheoil in Clones. I am currently carrying out research for materials and information relating to the festival to form part of an exhibition. Would it be possible to get a copy of the recording Bill Kennedy refers to on the 5th May 2005 post.

Mt contact details are:
Deirdriu McQuaid

Senior Executive Librarian
Monaghan County Library
98 avenue

23 Feb 14 - 05:06 AM (#3603999)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge

you can get in touch with Helen indirectly via the boylesingers BlogSpot site

23 Feb 14 - 05:56 AM (#3604006)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: JHW

Glad to be reminded of another 'those were the days'. Still have 'On the Galtymore Mountains'. Mine signed Frances, Marie, Bernie

28 Jun 14 - 05:12 AM (#3637300)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge

think there's a poltergeist in my keyboard... was about to say that on 26 June 2014, a wonderful soldout concert was held in St Joseph's hall, Boyle, Co Roscommon, featuring the Grehan sisters Francie, Marie & Helen (formerly Bernie) who stormed the place in their own home town. Guest was Christy Moore who said that without the encouragement of the sisters, his life would have been totally different.
The concert was a tribute to John Reilly local traditional snger and frequenter of Mrs Grehan's pub in the town. The Grehans and Christy performed several of his songs, and moves are afoot to
set up a memorial plaque to John Reilly, and hopefully a release of some of the man's songs on CD sometime.

28 Jun 14 - 03:52 PM (#3637411)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: Steve Gardham

As Dave mentioned earlier the Grehans appeared at Folk Union One, Hull, several times. We are collecting together recordings from the club around that time and it's very likely we will have some of the Grehans. At the moment we are raising funds to have the recordings digitised to go into the Hull Folk Archive. When that happens if there are any Grehan recordings it will be easy to run off copies for people here. I'll keep this in mind and come back to this thread when I have further news.

29 Jun 14 - 03:44 PM (#3637717)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings


15 Oct 18 - 11:38 AM (#3956756)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings

Seamus Tansey album with Berndadette Grehan on 12 string guitar - 2 listings with different prices take your pick.

I met one of the Grehan Sisters in 1996 in Boyle and mentioned it to Dave Swarbrick (RIP) he was thrilled they were asking for him and Martin Carthy.
John O'Regan

16 Oct 18 - 10:09 AM (#3956888)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: Liberty Boy

Just to correct something that appeared in one of the earlier posts in this thread. Peter Kennedy DID NOT ever record from the traveller singer John (Jacko) Reilly. The recordings were made by Tom Munnelly who shared them with Kennedy who unscrupulously released them as his own!

12 Nov 18 - 03:52 PM (#3961406)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: Tony Rees

I reckoned that the Grehan Sisters deserved an entry on Wikipedia, so now there is one as of today:

I have drawn on information in this thread, especially in constructing the discography.

Regards to all - Tony

13 Nov 18 - 05:12 PM (#3961565)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: JHW

No help to the quest but I was amazed to hear them on a pub jukebox last year. (Britannia, Darlington) One of those jukeboxes that seem able to play any record ever.

13 Nov 18 - 08:45 PM (#3961573)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings

I remember reading somewhere that a 2nd recording was made for Transatlantic but never released,,,

13 Nov 18 - 09:22 PM (#3961574)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: Tony Rees

Maybe that would explain the 2 previously unreleased tracks on "Here's To The Irish". Just speculating...

On another mudcat thread, the poster says that s/he saw them play support to Simon and Garfunkel at the Manchester Free Trade Hall in '67; also it is stated that they performed with the Mathews brothers for a while. If I could find a published confirmation of either of these (forums such as mudcat are sub-optimal as Wikipedia sources) I could add them to the WP page.

Regards - Tony

14 Nov 18 - 04:37 PM (#3961671)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings
From: Tony Rees

I have added a bit more info and a photograph to the Grehan Sisters wikipedia page, all I can find in citable sources for now... interested parties might care to check it out in its "new, improved" version.

Regards - Tony

15 Nov 18 - 09:38 PM (#3961876)
Subject: RE: Grehan Sisters Recordings

I think Bill Leader is still could ask him