The Buncrana Ceili band was formed in the early 1950s and members included Joe Mc Laughlin(Dick) on accordion, Pat Mulhern, Dinny Mc Laughlin, and John Mc Cracken all played fiddles. Johnny Doherty played drums and Sadie Cutliffe played piano; later Rita Cutliffe joined the band on piano.
Crana Céilí band with Fr Mc Glinchey. From Left to right back row, Pat Mulhern, Rita Cutliffe, Frankie Doherty and Dinny Mc Laughlin. Seated at front left to right John Mc Cracken and Paddy Kelly.
Pat Mulhern’s earlist recallection of musicians was from his uncle James Mulhern who learnt the fiddle from a man called Neil Mc Kinney who lived in Owenboy. Pat Mulhern learnt a lot of his music from his uncle James and also got lessons on how to read music from a man called Anderson who worked in the train station house in Ballymagan. Pat Mc Donald was a travelling travelling fiddle player who made a huge impression at fair days throughout Inishowen. Pat Mc donald was also the noted fiddler that played at the quayside in Derry when people were leaving for America.
Jimmy Mc Bride (singer) a native of Gaoth Dobhair moved to Buncrana in the 60s. Jimmy has made a major contribution to traditional singing in Inishowen setting up The Inishowen singer’s Circle in 1988.
Other musicians to note from Buncrana area are Michael Gallinagh, Michael and Paul Rodden, the late PV O Donnell and Oliver O’ Donnel Buncrana. Over the years Buncrana has seen many musicians move to live in the area among them are Tom Byrne, Jim Woods, and Keenan Barret.
In Buncrana and the Inishowen area in general no one has made as much of a contribution to traditional music and danncing as much as Dinny Mc laughlin (white harra). Dinny began teaching in 1958 at the age of 23 and continued for over 40 years. During his period of teaching Dinny taught in nearly every primary school in Inishowen producing many fine musicians. Dinny produced many groups for fleadh competition and through Craobh na h-Inse CCE his groups won All-Ireland titles concecutavely in the late 1970s-80s. Solo musicians who credit Dinny’s for his teaching include, Jimmy Mc Bride, Ciaran Tourish, Liz Doherty, Mairead Mooney, Michael Carey, Teresa Mc Clure (nee Doherty), Brenda Barron, Roisin Mc Grory (nee Harrigan).