Don Duggan - once a showband star, always a showband star!

Don Duggan - once a showband star, always a showband star!

If ever we needed reminding about the impact showbands made on the social life of this country, we got a glimpse of it from an amazing story last week.

The National Day of Commemoration, remembering all Irishmen and Irishwomen who died in past wars or on service with the United Nations, was held in several locations around the country, including Waterford city.

But our story centres on the principal ceremony held at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham and attended by President Higgins and other dignitaries.

After the ceremonies were over there was a big clean-up and among debris was discovered a rather expensive looking camera.

Army personnel had charge of the camera and, prior to handing it over to the Gardaí, they had a look at the photographs stored on its memory.

Among the images were several photographs showing a singer/guitarist, some on his own and others with the late Joe Dolan. Just before the camera was handed over to the Gardaí, a particular officer looked at the photographs and immediately exclaimed.

“I know that man with Joe Dolan. It’s Don Duggan from The Savoy Showband in Waterford. I often danced to them years ago.”

Isn’t it amazing. Here was a man who hadn’t seen nor heard of Don Duggan for a great many years yet he recognised the Waterford singer immediately.

Don was contacted and knew nothing about the camera and neither did any members of his family.

Apparently, the camera also contained an image of the poster advertising the tribute night held in honour of Don in Carrick-on-Suir last year.

At the time of writing, nobody has claimed the camera so if any reader thinks it might belong to them, please contact this column through The Munster Express number (051 500 100). Incidentally, on the subject of showbands, older readers will be saddened to hear that the death took place last week of Christy Davitt one of seven brothers who had a lot of success as The Davitt Brothers Showband.

From Ferns in County Wexford, the brothers’ father, Paddy, was a tailor by trade and the band had some of the best suits in the business.

All of them were members of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association and they always proudly wore their pins in the lapels of their band suits.

There is still a Davitts Showband that is doing very well on the C&W circuit and it comprises some of the original brothers and their sons and nephews.