The Races of Killadoon

With the revival of the Carrowniskey Races in 2010 many memories have been recalled of the great summer festivals in Louisburgh and Killeen.

After almost giving up hope of ever finding out more background to the story behind the song “The Races of Killadoon”, I gave one last idea a try. I contacted our local radio station Midwest radio, to get in touch with a man by the name of John Duggan. I had his name from archive in the ould memory bank but could not, nor still can’t remember how.

Well, if you ever have difficulty in getting information or need another angle, just contact the local radio! Mr. Duggan was hosting an early Sunday Morning programme on a weekly basis. Not only was he the writer behind the song but he also gave me invaluable details about how it came about.

For those of you who don’t know John Duggan, he is an extraordinary talented man being a retired Garda, accomplished song writer, composer & recorded artist, including many monologues, and still broadcasts a weekly radio show on our local station. It was while he worked as a Garda in Glenamaddy, Co. Galway in the 1970s, that he discovered his talent for writing & composing, songs & monologues. On holidays with his family in Louisburgh one summer, they happened upon the summer time races on the local beach in Killadoon. A very special & enjoyable day out was had, soaking up the local atmosphere & excitement of horse racing, donkey racing and egg & spoon racing!

Sometime afterwards his son prompted him to write about their time in Louisburgh at the races in Killadoon. The resulting song “The Races of Killadoon” together with “Back to Glenamaddy” and “The Rose of Castlerea” were duly forwarded to a prominent singer at the time. Brendan Shine hosted a series on RTE called “Nice and Easy”, he decided to record the three songs & they featured on the television series. The Rose of Castlerea became an overnight hit. The Races of Killadoon was extremely popular especially here in Louisburgh & Killeen. Then it slowly faded from the limelight as did the actual races themselves. Until that is the revival of the Carrowniskey Races stirred memories....

Being the gentleman that he is, John promised to look for a recording of the song for us to include on this website. True to his word, (believe me it was a search to find it,) but he delivered. After Mass in Knock John met with a friend who uncovered a recording by Brendan Shine and gave it to John. God Bless him, but he posted a copy to me. With Johns help I also had the pleasure to speak with Brendan Shine who gave his full support to using his recording on our site.

To John Duggan, thank you most sincerely for your time and kindness in my quest. It would have been forgotten about forever without your helpfulness. Thank you for creating the song in the first place as it is, in itself, a recording of the events that took place at the beach races. I wish you many more years of productive writing & recording. You are an absolute gentleman. Thanks also to Brendan Shine for cooperation and enthusiasm. Another great legend.

They say “Seek & You Shall Find”, but I say “Have Faith & a lot of Patience”.....

Why not check out these other websites for an insight into the highlights of summertime in Killeen and Louisburgh.