John James Boyle (1887 – 1976)
(23rd September 1887 – 1976)
John James of Gleann Málainn, a fiddler, was the eldest of the Boyle family. As a young boy and teenager he played the piccolo with the Ancient Order of Hibernians* group in Gleann Cholmcille along with his younger brother Joe. John James joined the Commissioners of Irish Lights on the 1st February 1913 and one of his first postings was at Beeves Rock on the river Shannon. Soon after he met and married Brigid O’Mahoney from Askeaton, County Limerick. His grandson John Boyle is married to Brenda O’Gara from Cill Charthaigh and they travel back regularly to south-west Donegal where they have a house in Iomascan. Our photograph dates from the early twentieth century and shows John James holding his piccolo with the Gleann Cholmcille AOH band.
*(a Catholic nationalist movement of a ribbon tradition who established local fife, drum and accordion bands – very prominent in rural areas in early 20th century Ireland ).