Frances McCarthy and Betty O’Mahony: The Dixies, Christy O'Mahony



Frances McCarthy and Betty O’Mahony: The Dixies, Christy O'Mahony


Interview exploring the ‘showband era’ (late 1950s to early 1970s) in Ireland from the perspective of Cork-based musicians and family members.


Frances has always lived on the Northside. She was born in Poulraddy, went to school in North Presentation school. When she was seven she moved to Ballyvolane and went to school at St Patrick’s College, Gardiner’s Hill, and Mayfield Community School. After she married she lived in Fairhill, and then in Tivoli. (The other interviewee, Betty O’Mahony, is her mother.)

Frances talks about her father, Christy, who was a musician with The Dixies showband. She describes the extent of the Northside area, which she says consists of Fairhill, Churchfield, Farranree, and Blackpool.


26 May 1997




Cork; Ireland; 1930s - 1990s;


Showbands Collection Catalogue Numbers:

Accession number for collection [CFP Acc. No. 1997-004];
CFP_SR00051_dixies_1996; CFP_SR00052_rooney_1997; CFP_SR00053_nolan_1997; CFP_SR00054_power_1997; CFP_SR00055_foley_1997;


Cork Folklore Project Audio Archive


Cork Folklore Project






1.wav File



29 mins 28 sec


Silversprings Lawn, Tivoli, Cork

Original Format

90 Minute Cassette Tape

Bit Rate/Frequency

24bit / 48kHz


The following is a short extract from the interview transcript, copyright of the Cork Folklore Project. If you wish to access further archival material please contact CFP,

S.H: Do you think the public see a different side of an entertainer like your late husband to what close friends and family do?

B.O’M: I don’t know, like they were so well known. Even at the dances they’d know everybody.

S.H: So they weren’t really up there as stars?

B.O’M: No. I remember once he saw an old friend and he shouted out across the road ‘ Jesus Christ, girl are you still alive?’ You know he was a real Northside man, he never changed over the years. I don’t think he was any different in Las Vegas to the way he would have been at home.

S.H: Were you heartened by Northside people after he passed away?

B.O’M: So many people rallied round, it was the holiday time and somebody said ‘if they hadn’t been on holiday they’d still be there’ I remember Joe said it and I thought to myself, ‘My god that’s right’. We were so long outside the church we thought that was the end we didn’t realise we had to go to the graveyard after. I said ‘Jesus there’s another funeral ahead of us’.

F.Mc: We thought we had come in on top of another funeral.

B.O’M: There was so many people, thousands of people, at the grave outside our door they had come with us. But of course he was so well known, at the bar, he was in a partnership with a bar, his brother down in Blackpool for years and years.