Martin ‘Doc’ O ‘Carroll

Embossed County Mayo Map
Lough Mask Mayo panorama
Bower Walk Ballinrobe Mayo
T. Beckett Collection
Athlone, Co. Westmeath
Tourmakeady Co. Mayo

Musician / Singer

Martin O ‘Carroll was born in the village of Tourmakeady, Co. Mayo on 19th November 1939.  His mother Catherine Collins was American & his father Frank was a local G. P.  His siblings were John, Kieran, Bernadette, Isobel also Kathleen.  While he was young the family moved to Ballinrobe town.  [i]


He received his initial primary education at Ballinrobe CBS, followed by his secondary education at St. Nathy’s College Ballaghadeereen.  He undertook further studies as a radio officer at Atlantic College, Dublin.   [ii]

Music Industry

From a young age Martin O ‘Carroll displayed a love of music.  He was an accomplished singer.  He also played various instruments  i.e. piano, guitar, banjo plus accordion.  While studying in Dublin the lure of music proved very strong: he admitted in later years that his parents were shocked at his decision to go full-time into the music industry: ‘I could not blame them, I was throwing away everything for what must have been to them a big gamble.’  He played with the Pete Brown Showband also The Cleffonaires. (The Irish Times[iii]


During 1962 Mayo promotor Andy Creighton formed Doc Carroll & The Royal Blues.  By 1963 the band had become one of the biggest acts on the Irish scene plus embarked on an American tour.  He released the Fats Domino number ‘Old Man Trouble’  during 1965, it spent weeks at the number 1 slot.  He toured in both England & America for the next forty years.  The band broke up during 1972.  He continued as a solo artist also with played with groups i.e. Doc Carroll & the Night Runners, Doc Carrol & the All-Stars from the 1970’s to the 1990’s. During 1983 he reunited with his old band: they played before a crowd of two thousand  people in Claremorris.  In 2001 they played a weeklong series at various venues in Ireland. [iv]

The Royal Blues showband started in 1963; they remained until 1972 at the top of their game as they also played support to other stars like Jim Reeves at Galway in May 1963.  They were the first showband from west of the Shannon with success of their hit ‘Old Man Trouble.’  Following the breakup of the band they featured in the charts in late 1960’s with Doc Carroll & Shay O ‘Hara from Carlow. [v]

His most famous hit ‘Old Man Trouble’ was recorded during 1966.  It stayed at number one in the Irish charts for nine weeks.  His career spanned over forty years.  He recorded twenty-six singles during that time. (Felle ) [vi]


Martin Carroll married Mary Moran Athlone, on 30th January 1967.  They had daughters Claudine, Nicola also sons Franklin & Conor.  [vii]


Martin Carroll was originally from Mayo but lived in Athlone for some years (Felle ) [viii]


He had performed in Carnegie Hall, New York during 1976. (Horan) [ix]


Martin Carroll was a keen golfer, angler also a snooker player in his free time. (Horan) [x]


During the final days of his illness at St. Vincent’s Private Hospital in Dublin his family gathered around. They sang to him including his favourite song ‘Blueberry Hill.’  ‘He tried to protect us to the end, He didn’t want us to be sad at all’  one member of his family stated. (Horan ) [xi]


His demise occurred on 1st May 2005. (Horan) [xii]

At his funeral Rev. Fr. P. J. Hughes told the congregation that ‘He had a great love of music, life, his family and God. He would love to be here with his many friends.’ (Horan ) [xiii]


A family member stated that ‘He lived by the Ten Commandments, was a great advisor, mentor to many people, including all of us in his family.’  Friends & family reported that his priorities in life were religion, family, music also sport.  He was a willing but quiet worker for his charitable endeavours. [xiv]

Tony Allan stated that ‘Doc was a showband legend, and a friend to many people in the music industry. Singer Donna McCaul said she owed ‘an awful lot to Doc’  She reported that ‘He gave me great encouragement. I played with Doc and the Showband Stars for two years and it was a great experience.’  [xv]

During 1966 musicians bade farewell to showband legend Doc Carroll, the singer who had a hit with ‘Old Man Trouble.’   He was remembered by friends & fans of the music industry at a mass in St. Mary’s Church.  Mourners were told by the celebrant Rev. Fr. P J Hughes that the musician had played with several of the biggest names in music during his forty years career. Fr. Hughes told the congregation that Martin Carrol ‘had a great love of music, life, his family and God. He would love to be here with his many friends.’  (Horan[xvi]

Musicians from around Ireland paid tribute to former Royal Blues showband star Doc Carroll aged sixty-three who has died following a long illness in Dublin. [xvii]


His most famous hit ‘Old Man Trouble’ was recorded during 1966, it stayed at number one in the Irish charts for nine weeks. (Felle) [xviii]


Doc Carroll is referenced in the memory section at this link:

The story of The Royal Blues Showband formed during 1963 may be viewed at this site:

A Youtube of ‘Doc‘ Carroll singing ‘Mountains of Mayo’ is at this link:

His ‘All the Way home to Mayo’  is available on this site:

His ‘The Music Man’ may be viewed here:

In The Connaught Telegraph dated 20th October 2020 Tom Gillespie published an article that included images of ‘Doc’ Carroll (page 25)

Michael Cummins in his column Back Chat  on the 12th of January 2021 edition of The Mayo News mentioned that ‘Doc‘ Carroll had the distinction of being the first West of Ireland Singer to have a Top 20 hit in Ireland’s ratings with his song ‘Old Man Trouble.’  Henry McGlade hosted a three-part session on Sky191 (Jan 14th, 21st & 28th 2021) that covered the Royal Showband Show in Claremorris during 1988.

This article may be of interest:

Paddy Walsh’s 2022 publication Jerry Walsh 1918 – 2005 references Doc Carroll on page 53.

Johnny Mee in his column Auld Stock  in The Connaught Telegraph 1st May 2023 referenced ‘Doc’ Carroll. (NBC)



[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Ibid.


[v] The Showband Era ( [Assessed 29th May 2020]

[vi] Death of ‘Doc’ Carroll ( [Assessed May 30th 2020]





[xi] Ibid.

[xii] Ibid.


[xiv] Quiet Stalwart [Assessed 29th May 2020]

[xv] Quiet Stalwart [Assessed 29th May 2020]


[xvii] Death of ‘Doc’ Carroll ( [Assessed May 30th 2020]

[xviii] Ibid.


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