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REVIEW: Kilvine at St Patrick’s Day Ceilidh, St George’s Hall Liverpool 16th March 2013

with 5 comments

REVIEW: KILVINE at St Patrick’s Day Ceilidh, St George’s Hall, Liverpool

16th March 2013

If popular and widely accessible genealogical references are to be believed, the Hanvey name originates from one of the chief clans of Ulidia, or County Down as it is now known. O’Hanvey was chief of Hy-Eachach Coba, a territory to the west of the county, from the 12th to the 17th century, with countless descendants having remained residents of this particular corner of the northern Irish coast over the subsequent years. As a fellow O’Hanvey descendant and after developing a particular fondness for the romantic morality tale that is Cruise and Kidman’s finest; Far and Away, I took it upon myself several years ago to uncover (some may argue, invent) a Hanvey family history befitting a chief of his time. This history included vast acres of land which were divvied out amongst the farming locals, such was our protagonist’s level of morality and sense of justice. Weekly ceili dances would be held in the chief’s honour, where local bands would play traditional music on traditional Irish instruments; bands just like Kilvine, the Irish traditional ensemble who took centre stage at a St Patrick’s Day Ceilidh at St George’s Hall, Liverpool this week.

Amongst the grand and opulent surroundings of the Great Hall, my mind was at once transported to similar social gatherings that O’Hanvey might have hosted, though surely none being held in quite as auspicious splendour as this. A ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee) or ceili to use the Irish spelling of the word, is a traditional Gaelic folk gathering, which involves playing Gaelic folk music and performing traditional dances. A caller calls out the movements to each dance and ensures that everyone is able to participate. Kilvine are a six-piece band, hailing from Liverpool, who play a variety of traditional Irish instruments including the flute, accordion, banjo and box. The lead female singer also acted as caller and all-round dance teacher for the evening, whilst her bandmates performed a rousing set of a mixture of traditional Irish folk songs and instrumental numbers. Songs included a particular Hanvey favourite, ‘The Fields of Athenry’, as well as the old classics such as ‘Wild Rover’. The youngest member of the ensemble, a girl named Bridget, had perfect vocals for the genre; haunting, delicate and full of innocence. The traditional dances we performed included the Walls of Limerick, the Siege of Ennis and the Snowball, as well as a number of traditional waltzes.

We met a couple at our table who had travelled from Wrexham, North Wales, but actually had family connections to our home town of Widnes. The Irish have a renowned quality of welcoming strangers and of making them feel like family and friends; a nice touch then that we should make such a connection under St Patrick’s spiritual guidance. An impressive and stirring performance from the Bolger Cunningham Irish Dancing School followed; a troupe of dancers who train at the St Michael’s Irish Centre in Liverpool. The girls were polished and on point, a real tribute to their vocation.

At the evening’s end, I could so easily have spent a night in a pub in Killarney, my own particular favourite corner of the world (County Kerry, to be precise). As long as there is music and family, you could call anywhere home and tonight St George and St Patrick came together to make us feel just that.

Photos by Lynsey Hanvey
To view more, please visit
shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

March 22, 2013 at 2:05 pm

5 Responses

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  1. Thanks for this, Lynsey! My name is Chris Boland and Kilvine is my band. The name comes from the area in Mayo where my mother grew up. Bridget, whom you were so kind about, is my daughter and Jane, the Caller, is my wife. The other members of the band are Andy Connally (flute, whistle, keyboards and bodhran), Andy Saunders (tenor banjo and mandolin), and Anita Rochford (button accordion and vocals). I play guitar. I’m so glad you enjoyed it – I know we did. I’m in the process of putting together a website for the band – is it OK is we include a link to this or quotations? In the meantime, we can be contacted on my email address: or on my mobile 07552 465191. Thanks again!

    Chris Boland

    April 21, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    • Hi Chris,

      Many thanks for your note and lovely to hear from you! It was my sister, Lynsey, who took the photographs on the night and I did the review, so this is my site. We had a great time and really enjoyed your music, plus we learnt a lot from Jane on the dancing side! Yes, no problem at all using a link to my review, that would be great. Shelley x


      April 22, 2013 at 11:40 am

      • Thanks, Shelley! Sorry for getting you and Lynsey mixed up – just the excitement at the review, I guess. If you happen to have any more picture it would obey great to see them. Thanks again, and hope to see you soon.


        Sent from AOL Mobile Mail

        Chris Boland

        April 22, 2013 at 7:06 pm

  2. Hi Shelley,
    This was interesting read and I found your article after searching Hanvey Widnes. My grandmother was a Hanvey and passed away in Liverpool and I knew that her immediate family was from Widnes but we lost connections after she died.
    I would really appreciate if you know where I could find more info on Hanveys that moved to Widnes from Ireland
    Thanks for the article

    Chris Jones

    February 1, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    • Hi Chris,
      How interesting! Well my family moved over from County Down but I’d have to ask my Dad for more specific details. His father was called Hugh and his mother was Agnes. The Hanveys in Widnes are all related to me but I’ve never known any to live in Liverpool. If you let me have your e-mail address (mine is, I can find out some more details and get back to you?


      February 3, 2014 at 10:46 am

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