This musician’s style of playing his Instrument was considered tight – it never extended the bellows of the accordion.
Tom or Tommy Walsh was born during 1882 he lived at Rosbeg adjacent to Westport Quay in Co. Mayo.
As a young man he emigrated to Scotland as a seasonal worker during the early twentieth century. It was in Scotland that he discovered the accordion. Prior to that time he had played the melodeon. He spent several years between Ireland & Scotland where he enjoyed playing with other Irish & Scottish musicians.
When that lifestyle ended he returned to Westport with his new gray Paulo Soprani accordion with a wealth of Scottish tunes. His fellow Local musicians were so impressed with his instrument that many abandoned the melodeon in favour of the accordion. He was a talented committed tutor to his students. He entertained at ceilis or house dances. Among his large repertoire of songs was his signature tune; the Scottish ‘Shuffling Sammy.’
During 1954 he featured along with his son Tom in ‘Cavalcadal Music’ that was a highly successful variety show in Westport’s Town Hall. He was one of the first accordion players to be recorded on Radio Eireann, Athlone. He recorded ‘The Rakes of Kildare’ with other jigs in Jury’s Hotel, Dublin. Prior to the emergence of musicians performances in Irish pubs during the 1960’s Tommy Walsh played with family & friends at Peggy Brawn’s premises at Westport Quay.
Tom Walsh’s demise occurred during 1963.
Cathair na Mart Historical Journal 2012