"Where the mountains sweep down to the sea…."
The majority of the members of MYD hail from Kilkeel, which is a fishing town in County Down, Northern Ireland. The town is near to the border with Eire and is where the famous river Aughrim (of "Enniskillen and the Boyne" fame!) enters the sea. It is not only famous for fishing and being protected by the dark, mysterious Mourne Mountains (where the band takes its name from) but also for the bravery of its sons in battle. Indeed, there is a traditional Ulster song about the gallantry and notoriety of the militia from South Down. In the main cemetery in Kilkeel, where the band pause and lay a wreath at 6.30 am on the morning of the 12th of July, there is a Cenotaph in honour of the brave men of the South Down Militia. The names on the monument are repeated in the membership of MYD, and these most tangible links with our past provide much of the passion and inspiration of the band.
While Kilkeel is a fishing town and several of the band still harvest a living from the glistening waters of the Irish Sea, like every other rural part of Northern Ireland the traditional industries are less attractive to young people. This too is reflected in the occupations of the band's men and women (the latter form the most glamorous colour party in Northern Ireland!). The band's founding member is a builder and several other members of the band make a living from that industry. Other members have gone "hi-tech" and now make a living by pushing buttons and developing repetitive strain injuries (which is not ideal if you play a flute!). A few others in the band use their wily grey matter in hi fallutin professions!
Places to visit in Kilkeel
The members of MYD are a cosmopolitan bunch. Several are religious and temperance (total abstinence) is their way of life. Others in the band are on the moderation side of temperance and have been known to inbibe the Truth with some libation in the Kilmorey Arms Hotel, the town's only licenced hotel. The band is, however, a "dry band" and this is reflected in the number of young people in the band. Indeed, on Thursdays (band practice) George seems to run the town's safest creche-cum-youth club! There are several good eateries in the town (they are not paying so they shall remain anonymous!) but make sure you try the fish! There is a good seafood bar in the harbour itself.
Willie John's Patch
As the main drum major (stick man!) is a green keeper, we should mention that Kilkeel is big on golf - it has the best kept course in County Down - The Mourne Park Golf Course.
Kilkeel - A Sales Pitch
What more could a person want from a wee Ulster town? Great folk, a nurtured golf course, great views of the mountains and the sea … and more than the odd top quality flute band!