The Doyle Family music will entertain you!


Welcome! Thanks for coming by – we are always happy to get a visit from long-time fans and new friends. Check out our performance schedule, band bios, and current news to get the scoop.


We have been working hard on our latest performance and invite you to join us on our journey. Come, and be entertained. We love to meet our audience so be sure to introduce yourselves afterward!

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Bookings also taken for any occasion

You name it we'll play it. 




Simon was born in Manchester in 1972 ; his father, from Co Longford, and his mother from Kildare came over to England in the 1950s. His father played the tin whistle and was a friend of the great Irish Traveller piper, Felix Doran. At home he was surrounded by music, and Simon was given a whistle by his father when he was about six or seven. He then progressed to a low D whistle, getting his first bag and chanter by the time he was 14. His elder sister plays the fiddle and two other sisters play the button accordion. 

Simon cites Felix Doran, and his brother Johnny Doran, as two of his main influences. Simon explains, 'I can read music, and I'd look at piping books, but the tunes were restricted to the basic structure. Every time you played the tune , it was the same - very tight, a very resrticted way of playing. I said to my father that i didn't feel it was coming from the inside. His advise was to listen to the recordings of Felix and Johnny,and Finbar Furey and of course Paddy Keenan. I tend to keep to the Travellers' style, more open, freer, wilder music that isn't controlled by notation. It's maybe alright to take something from their music, a bit from each if you can do it, but I think, ''what can I bring to this tune, to make it stand out''.'

Simon regrets that he never heard the Doran brothers playing live - Simon was born the same year that Felix died, and Johnny passed on back in 1950, but he treasures the limited number of recordings the two men made.

As a young man, Simon played alongside Manchester musician Michael McGoldrick, who has gone on to become a much -respected professional musician. But when Simon married at the age of 20, he put the pipes aside for a few years as he concentrated on work and starting a family. He and his wife Margaret now have nine chirldren, ranging in ages from 18 to three -year - old Mary - Jane.

'When they got to the age of about ten, I gave the three eldest girls the choice of three instruments. Winnie Marie, the eldest, chose the tennor banjo, Bridget, 17, picked the box-button accordion - and Margaret, 13, the fiddle. It was a slow process, sitting down with them, showing them a scale, but after a few weeks, when they were asking me to show them, you realise they are enjoying it. It's a great feeling to sit and have a few tunes with my own chirldren, especially the standard they play.' 

Audiences at Sidmouth and Whitby festivals in 2011 may have heard Simon and his three daughters playing together. 'I never imagined we'd be playing on that stage in Sidmouth, or at Whitby. People were asking me about the style they were playing, saying they'd not heard it before. It was a very nice feeling, made me feel very humble as well as embarrassed!' Simon relates.

The next two chirldren, Joe and Mikey, are already, at the age of eleven, playing the bag and chanter, and could be heard playing on the Esplanade at Sidmouth and they brought the house down at the end of one of the concerts at Whitby. Twin boys, Simon and Christopher, 7, are already on the tin whistle, and who knows what awaits sarah and Mary - Jane.

Anyone who came across the family at these two festivals last year could not have failed to be impressed by the musicianship of Simon and the older girls, and the well - behaved younger chirldren, with the two older boys deep in concentration as they watched their father play the pipes.

Simon and the girls can often be heard at Irish music sessions in the north west of England. Have a listen - lovers of traditional music will not be disappointed.                                         

                                                                                                            by Derek Schofield   eds magazine Spring  2012


Our goal and our passion has been to work hard, entertain our fans, and just plain have fun. We are excited to be performing and love playing our music. We hope to see you soon at a show – why not take a look at our calendar, or just drop us a line.


"This is one of the most entertaining acts on the scene." -- Kevin, Wirral

"Heard these guys playing on 7 Waves Radio and they were stunning - cant wait to see them in concert." -- Dominic, Liverpool

 All so why not check out the WWW.JOHNNYDORAN Website for the book all about the Travelling Singers & Musicians called FREE SPIRITS

 ( good article in this book about The Doyle Family)

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