Listening to The Mary Wallopers releases a primal Irish feeling unlike anything else. Drawing from traditional music from across their time touring every corner of the island, they craft an album that sets your blood aflame. Images from the Easter Rising, tales of emigration and longing for the local beauty; their skill of moulding old stories into a new landscape keeps these songs alive.
Masterful fiddle, banjo and guitar are as cosy as a trad session by the fire. The smell of old leather, worn wooden fretboards and a cheeky rollie come to mind. The Hendy brothers’ Dundalk accents inject emotion and fun into drunken ballads and galvanising songs like The Frost is All Over that will have you up doing your haon dó trís in no time. Tinwhistle and cello appear on The Night They Raided Owney’s as you hear for the patrons running with pints still fresh in their hands.
You’re leaning into every track listening out for a place name that rings true with you for one reason for another. Newry, Limerick and Belfast all make appearances in what feels like a musical tour across the country. John O’Halloran is just vocals and bodhrán whilst the lament of Butcher Boy pushes you to the edge of tears. A true love for the songs that they’re keeping alive seeps through every string plucked. The Mary Wallopers are making their mark and now with an album under their belt, there will be more singalongs than ever before.
Words: Sophia McDonald