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Dunmore East

Gerry “Ringo” O’Regan

Dunmore East is a small fishing village on the south-east coast of Ireland, 16kms from the city of Waterford. It sits on the western side of the Waterford Harbour Estuary, 4.8kms from Hook Head in Wexford.
Dunmore East, Co. Waterford, Ireland

Gerry (Ringo) O' Regan , (Coxtown Cross) began playing guitar at the age of 15. He purchased his first guitar an

electric “Audition” model from Woolworths in Waterford for 25 pounds in 1971. Ringo's first ever public performance

was on stage at The Fisherman's Hall Dunmore East where he sang and played harmonica with a young female guitar

player from Dunmore, Anne Murphy, an accomplished guitarist and singer in her younger days.

During the early seventies Con Barlow and his late wife Mary purchased a licensed premises in lower Dunmore East

and called it “The Anchor Bar”. It was one of the first live music venues in Dunmore and a small band from Carrick on

Suir known as “The Comets” played there every Saturday night. The band was fronted by well known Carrick on Suir

personality Sean Healy RIP and their guitar player was none other than the “Sheriff Hanlon” from the same town.

Ringo attended most of the Saturday night sessions with his Father Paddy O' Regan RIP, and was influenced enough

by the music to begin learning the guitar in the back room of the family cottage at Coxtown Cross. Ringo first attempted

songs by James Taylor, The Eagles, and Jim Croce and eventually managed to put a small group together to compete

in a talent competition which was taking place at The Candlelight Inn. The group consisted of Ringo, Jeff Harris (WLR

Radio Presenter) and Sean Murphy. The group won the talent contest and John Molloy, then proprietor of The Shippe

Bar offered them a Friday night spot during the winter of 1975.

In the mid seventies a young Irish couple (Dermot and Clodagh Gale) arrived to Dunmore from LA where they had

been living and befriended some of the local musicians including Ringo and the O'Dwyer boys Louis and Simon.

Dermot and Clodagh had in their possession a new Country Music Album entitled “Wanted” by a band called “The

Outlaws” which featured songs by two unfamiliar country artists at that time, “Willie Nelson” and “Waylon Jennings”.

Ringo and Louis O'Dwyer learned most of the material from the album and for a number of years played sit down

sessions in the bars of Dunmore singing such songs as “Good hearted Woman” and “Mamas don't let your babies grow

up to be Cowboys”. “On the road again” was a particular favourite.

In 1984 Ringo, Louis O'Dwyer, Simon O'Dwyer, and Sean Murphy founded “The Good Old Boys” and began a famous

Saturday night residency at Powers Bar Dunmore East. These sessions included all the Outlaw Songs and it was

probably the first time in the history of Powers Bar that the venue was packed every Sat night for a particular music

group. Peter Power was actually forced to place a “house full” sign on the premises at 5pm on Easter Sat 1984. One of

Dunmore 's finest, “Desmond Von Rutter” made a famous entrance through an open window on that particular evening

in order to join the festivities.

The Good Old Boys disbanded and Ringo began a 7 year musical partnership with Lonnie (Jessie) Lonergan a

Waterford guitar and banjo picker in the autumn of 1985. After playing the Ocean Hotel with Gerry Power during 1986,

Ringo and Lonnie moved to Australia in 1987 with the intention of working to save enough money to begin a Bluegrass

and Country Folk group. A year later they returned and began a series of Sunday afternoon sessions at The Candlelight

Inn for the late Charlie Boland. Forever grateful to Big John Gray for organising these sessions the Sunday evenings

soon turned into the beginnings of the South East of Ireland's and indeed Dunmore East's first introduction to Bluegrass

music in the shape of “The Lonesome Hobos”

“The Lonesome Hobos” played around Ireland between the years of 1987 and 1992. The band consisted of founding

members Ringo Regan ( guitar and dobro ) and Jesse Lonergan ( guitar and banjo ) Mick Dower ( Music Editor The

Munster Express ) played bass guitar, and Mick Kinsella blues harp and harmonica. Gerry Madden played the mandolin

and last but not least Niall O'Brien played fiddle with the band.

The group was successful on a local and national level and appeared on national television and radio. The band

recorded the John Prine single “Sam Stone” and played in various Folk Festivals and venues throughout the country

including the Dublin City and Killarney Folk Festivals. The Band was offered London 's famous Finsbury Park Festival.

There are those who believe that the success of “The Lonesome Hobos” and their efforts at introducing American style

bluegrass music to a wider audience both in Dunmore East and the South East was directly responsible for the idea

behind “The Dunmore East Bluegrass Festival” which began the year the band ended.

“The Lonesome Hobos” parted company in 1992. Gerry Madden joined “The Flint Hill Boys” for a while but still plays

around the Waterford music scene. Mick Dower is still writing for “The Munster Express” and Niall O'Brien teaches

fiddle in Dublin . Mick Kinsella published an instruction book on the harmonica and played some of the sound track on

the Irish movie “The General” Mick now lives in Co Clare. Jesse Lonergan currently lives in John's Park Waterford and

has not played for a few years. Ringo Regan moved to Brisbane Australia in 1996 and currently plays bluegrass guitar

and banjo to his two dogs Henry and Murphy.