It all started in 1979, when by complete chance 5 young men came to work in a hospital in Cork. It was Our Lady's Hospital, on the Lee Road, situated on a hill overlooking the picturesque River Lee, as it meanders its way from Gougane Barra, through the beautiful Lee Valley, on its way to Cork City.
Those 5 guys were Tim O'Sullivan, from Killarney, Co Kerry, Michael Mangan from Youghal, a seaside town in East cork, Declan Lynch from Castleisland, Co Kerry, and Michael Looney from Kerry Pike, not far from the world famous Blarney Castle.
The city slicker in the original Galleon was Ger Walsh, from Ballyphehane, in the Southern suburbs of Cork city.
When these young men came to this hospital, it was their plan to work in the Health Services, but somehow their focus seemed to change.
This was a time when the pub culture in Ireland, was at its all time best. It was also a time when Irish Folk songs and music was being taken to global audiences by groups like the Clancy Brothers, The Chieftains, The Furey's and The Dubliners. Declan, Tim, Ger, Mick Mangan and Michael Looney became totally consumed with the passion they all shared for Folk songs and music.
There was not even a plan to start a band, and it happened almost by accident. In 1979 Galleon played its first gig. The idea of us becoming entertainers, singers, musicians and storytellers, became an obsession with us, and in a year Galleon became the most popular Folk Band in the South of Ireland. It was still the era of vinyl recordings, and Galleon recorded a number of vinyl records, and then some MC tapes, which established the band.
Tours of America, Canada and Great Britain were regular happenings for Galleon, while at home Galleon played at all the major venues and did all the best T.V. Shows.
Changes in the line up happened at different times. Each of the band left, except Declan, who is the only one, who has been always there. But by this time we had become to us, another family, and even though one might leave and there was time and space, between us, we never left each others hearts.
In 1986 we decided to become a 6 piece band, and Michael Harte became part of the family.
He was an extraordinary human being, and a super bass guitar player.
We had gathered around us a group of people, who would become integral parts of our organisation. Martin Griffin was one who got us through stormy waters, very often when it seemed the ship might sink, and Batty Mulcahy is another who has been with us, down the years. Batty Mulcahy was not a musician, but the contribution he made to our family was incredible. Harty passed away in 2006 and Batty left us in 2010. The family felt broken and not able to carry on.
When we eventually found the strength to carry on, we reckon the incredible spirits that were Harty and Batty are driving us on.
The band had some great and happy years, but it seemed at the start of 1991 we had no new horizons and perhaps the voyage might be over, but one Sunday afternoon in Cork, Henning Krautmacher, walked into a Galleon gig. Henning had a friend who was a friend of Galleon. This was the connection. It was the beginning of Galleon's love affair with Cologne, with the Rhineland, and Germany. When we first went to Germany the line up was Tim O'Sullivan, Ger Walsh, Michael Looney, Mick Harte and Declan Lynch. Batty Mulcahy was our mentor, our Roadie, our Sat Nav, and our friend and everywhere we went so did he.
There was new life in Galleon. There was fresh wind in our sails. Some great years followed. Cork and Cologne are sister cities. Galleon and Hoehner are sister bands. (or should that be brother bands).
Galleon did a lot of concert work in Germany in those years. Some memorable CD's were recorded.
Details of the CD'S can be accessed on the web site. Galleon shared the stage on many occasions with Hoehner, and did some recording together and Galleon also became a popular concert act themselves. Because of this adventure the voyage carried on for 10 more years. In 2002, the family broke up and it seemed like the voyage was over.
Musicians who had played with Galleon included Andy Dunne, Vince Milne, John O'Keefe, Paul Seymour, Johnny Scannell, Shirley Scannell, Noel Troy, and down all the years Johnny Campbell, was our sound engineer and was our chief studio influence, which resulted in the production of some acclaimed CD's.
When the urge to go back on the road came as it always seems to do, Michael Looney was concentrating on a solo career, and could not be with us. Andy Dunne came back to the band and then Mick Mangan came back on board. The music was good. We were having great fun. Life was good, but then Harty left this earthly stage and then Batty left us.
The voyage seemed over again.
But the family rallied and the present Galleon incarnation dawned. For this latest adventure we have a 7 piece band. Johnny Campbell joins us on stage on bass, Paul Seymour is with us on Keyboards, Andy Dunne is still in the Groove and four of the original 5 Galleons are still with the Band, They are Tim O'Sullivan, Ger Walshe, Mick Mangan and Declan Lynch.
It is now 2013. The good ship Galleon sails on. A live in Concert CD is now being planned and Galleon having been to Germany three times in 2013, is planning a November tour. Details of same will be posted on our website.
The line up for the 2006 tour is the same as those who formed for the 2005 reunion concert. All have been members of Galleon at one time or another. They are Mick Mangan - Guitar & Vocals, Tim 'O Sullivan - Guitar, Percussion and Vocals, Ger Walsh - Guitar, Mandolin, Banjo, Whistles and Vocals and of course the inimitable Declan Lynch - Bodhran, Vocals and Vocal Mayhem. These are four of the original members of Galleon and will be joined on stage by Andy Dunne - Guitars and Vocals, Paul Seymour - Keyboards and Vocals and Johnny Campbell - Bass guitar and Vocals. This is a cocktail of troubadours who have sailed on the good ship Galleon at different stages of it's musical voyage.