Boys of the Lough

Welcome to the Official Band Website

"One of the finest bands in Celtic traditional music..." - The New York Times


The first of the full-time professional Celtic bands to arise on the international scene, BOYS OF THE LOUGH now occupy a unique position of respect in the world of traditional music. They have completed over seventy tours of the USA and their performances and recordings are spread over five decades.

True originals, the Boys have been uniquely respected on both sides of the Atlantic since the 1960s and continue to act as role models for countless younger musicians. Their concerts, recordings and compositions were crucial in bringing about the current explosion of interest in all facets of Celtic music.

The Boys have established a reputation for technical brilliance and integrity in their performance of Irish and Scottish music. A ready wit and sense of fun enliven their onstage performance while their original arrangements and dynamic interactions between the two major strands of the Celtic tradition keep the music always bright and fresh.

A great strength of the Boys is the diversity of their musical origins: the distinctly individual traditions come together to create exciting stage performances which feature individual strengths and spirited ensemble playing.

A hallmark of the band’s approach has been their refusal to dilute their music with the addition of inappropriate vocalists or electric instruments or percussion. They prefer the natural tone colours of their acoustic instruments, traditionally played. Almost alone among Celtic groups they truly play “music that tastes of itself”.

Since the first tour in 1967 the Boys have travelled extensively in their mission to gain traditional music a wider audience and respect. Their warm and vital performances have won them friends from the village halls of Scotland to international concert and festival stages, establishing a precedent that many others have followed.

The music of the Boys of the Lough ranges widely through the fiddle, flute, piping and vocal traditions of Ireland and encompasses the fiddle music of Shetland and also Scotland and North America. Although sometimes melodically complex and difficult to play, the music remains at all times easily accessible to the listener through the compelling dance rhythms, which give it such life. Contrast this with evocative slow airs and beautifully structured songs, some in the Irish language. Add the range of tone colours available from the band’s acoustic instruments and it is easy to see the great appeal of their lively performances!


December 27th 2015 – Kilticlogher Community Centre, Co Letrim, Ireland

December 28th 2015 – McGrory’s, Culdaff, Co Donegal, Ireland

January 16th 2016 – Celtic Connections. Glasgow, Scotland



The Band

Cathal McConnell

Cathal McConnell is a world-renowned musician, singer and founder member of premier traditional group, The Boys of the Lough. His relaxed stage presence and ability to communicate his songs and music has endeared him to audiences for decades. The redoubtable Cathal, who is known worldwide for his musical charm and wit, has recorded over 20 albums of music and song with “ the boys”, and fellow member, Dave Richardson, paid tribute saying “He sings to you rather than at you. He wants you to focus on the message of the song rather than on him as a performer. He’s passing on the music, not using it to impress.” For his contribution to traditional singing, Cathal was awarded the Gaelic Language Television (TG4) Award as Singer of the Year in 2010.

Brendan Begley

Brendan Begley is bursting with the wild and beautiful music of West Kerry. As a singer he is a gentle giant. On the accordion, he is a force of nature. His is music that could not exist were it not for the mountains, seas and storms of his native “Corca Dhuibhne” more commonly known as the Dingle Peninsula.

He has three acclaimed solo albums to his name, as well as numerous recordings with the groups Boys of the Lough and Beginish. With the Boys of the Lough, he has toured extensively throughout the United States, and has been featured repeatedly on the Garrison Keilor radio program “A Prairie Home Companion”. He also does work with TG4 researching and presenting programmes and also is involved in the organising of Scoil Cheoil an Earraigh which is held in west Kerry each February.

Kevin Henderson

Kevin Henderson is one of the most exciting young fiddlers on the world stage, and is in hot demand as he performs around the globe with five musical groups. He has been a member of Shetland group, Fiddlers’ Bid, since 1991; Celtic group, Boys of the Lough, since 2002; Scottish group, Session A9, since 2004; Nordic trio, The Nordic Fiddlers Bloc, since 2009 and Shetland/Norway trio, Aamos since 2009. Henderson has been featured on 15 albums. He has appeared on television and radio programs worldwide, including the BBC and many appearances on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” on National Public Radio in America.

Garry O’Briain

Garry O’Briain has been a member of a number of Irish ensembles, including Aengus, Buttons and Bows, Skylark, and The Brothers, and appeared on an extensive list of recordings as a session player. He has written music for stage, film and television, as well as over a hundred songs.

Garry’s solo album, “Cat Won’t Fly,” features some of his original works. His recording of the music of Ireland’s best-known composer, Turlough O’Carolan, Called “Carolan’s Dream,” is considered one of the finest interpretations of this 18th century composer.

Garry is also known for his studio production skills. He has helped produce albums for many musicians and groups including the Clancy Brothers, Danu, Mairtin O’Connor, Dordan, and Seamus and Manus McGuire. He also makes fine violins and mandocellos in his workshop.


Click the images and links below to download press files.

Download Tech Spec
Download Full Bio
Download Short Bio
Download A3 Poster
Download A4 Poster

Hi-Res Band Photo

Hi-Res Band Photo

Hi-Res Band Photo


New Album Out Now!

£13.00 (includes P&P)

Boys-of-the-Lough-Cover-ImageThe New Line
Boys of the Lough (2014)

1. The Boys of the Lough Set
2. The Gold Ring
3. Liffey Side
4. O’er the Water to Bessie
5. Da Smugglers
6. Four Slides
7. The Boston Burgler
8. Fil Fil A Rún Ó
9. Chase Her Through the Garden
10. The Cavan Road
11.Tommy Peoples Set
12.Mary Stokes
13. Nuair A Ráinig Mí’m Baile

Total Running Time – 53 minutes

hover background
hover background
hover background
hover background
hover background
hover background
hover background
hover background
hover background
hover background
hover background
hover background
hover background
hover background
hover background
hover background
hover background
hover background
hover background
hover background
hover background

Album Stocklists: | | |
The Early LP titles are currently unavailable as new, but are traded by specialists.


Thank you! I have received your message.



Your Message