'McNamara's Band' is a popular song written and composed by the songwriters Shamus O'Connor and John J Stamford, with lyrics by The Three Jesters.
Telling the tale of a small Irish band, the song was a hit for American singer Bing Crosby in 1946.
While everybody is familiar with the song, not so many of us know that it was based on four Limerick brothers, Patrick, Michael, John and Thomas McNamara, all members of Saint Mary's Prize Band.
Arthur Quinlan talks to Thomas McNamara, the last surviving member of McNamara’s Band outside the venue where it all began in 1885.
Thomas' brother Patrick was the legendary band leader featured in the song. Thomas, who played flute and piccolo with the quartet died in May 1978.
My name is McNamara, I'm the Leader of the Band,
And tho' we're small in number we're the best in all the land.
Oh! I am the Conductor, and we often have to play
With all the best musicianers you hear about to-day.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 24 August 1965. The reporter is Arthur Quinlan.