FERMANAGH man Philip Darcy hit the national headlines over Christmas, when his dedication to recording the history of the local showbands was featured in one of the country’s favourite magazines.
An institution in many homes across the county, Ireland’s Own ran a two-page spread on Philip in its popular festive annual, its biggest publication of the year.
The feature focused on Philip’s love of music, and his impressive collection of memorabilia from the height of the showband era. Over the years Philip has collected thousands of mementos, and often runs exhibitions of his collection locally. This collection includes photos, LPs, cassettes, stamps, annuals and posters.
Philip’s interest in the showband era stemmed from living close to Cecil Kettyles, founder of The Skyrockets, through whom he got to know the band.
“I used to asked the boys where they were going that night. If you’re going to Donegal – you’d have to leave at 6pm and they wouldn’t be back until the early hours of the morning,” Philip previously told the Herald. “I was always interested in where they were going. These were long journeys.”
After that, he began collecting memorabilia of the band and branching out into other bands, spiraling into the impressive collection he has today, which he has exhibition all over the country due to demand.
In the Ireland’s Own article, he spoke of the keen interest many other fans of the showbands had shown in the collection, from all over Ireland.
“People all over have been very interested in the collection, and generous in donating items,” he said.
“People from Galway, Mayo, Cookstown have all helped to build up the collection, unequalled anywhere in Ireland.”
The local connection to the Ireland’s Own article didn’t end with Philip, either, with the piece written by Enniskillen librarian Melanie Ward, who was so intrigued by Philip’s story after one of his exhibitions she felt the need to put pen to paper.
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