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The Pyros

The Pyros - A Potted History
Back in the dark days of the early 80s, Buncrana’s music scene was just about to get a rude awakening. In the back bar of what used to be Murphy’s Place on the town’s main street, the first version of The Pyros was set to play its debut gig.

The full name of the band back then was The Pyrotechnicos and featured founding members, Paul Rodden, Laurence Doherty, John Cutliffe and Steve Grocott.
Over the next few years the lineup changed many times to include people like Billy Robinson, Rory McLeod, Mark Cardwell and others but one thing remained the same; the high octane fuelled music.

The band had built up a huge following all over Donegal and the North West with their fiery mixture of Bluegrass, traditional Irish music and a stage show where anything could happen. They sold out venues like the old Swilly Hotel and people started planning entire weekends around Pyros gigs. There was even a black market for the hand painted Pyros posters that dotted the windows of businesses all over the county.

“I remember one gig in McGrory’s in Culdaff that was so packed that when we took a break we had to stay on stage” said Cutliffe ‘it looked strange but it was a Pyros gig and people didn’t bat an eyelid”

Fast forward a couple of years and the band had been through many changes and more farewell gigs than the Rolling Stones. They had evolved into a totally Buncrana based ensemble. Along with Doherty, Rodden and Cutliffe the Pyros added Kevin Doherty, Ciaran Tourish and Michael Gallanagh creating the definitive Pyros sound.

The Pyros never made an album but a demo they recorded in the studios of Raidió na Gaeltachta in Bunbeg still changes hands regularly in the Irish music community. They also recorded the theme music for a BBC Northern Ireland documentary series called Workers Lives.

It has been many years since the full Buncrana lineup of the Pyros took the stage together. The various band members have gone on to success in many projects all over the world. This March however the hard hats will be dusted off, the instruments will be kept just slightly out of tune and the bar will remain open as the sparks fly and the Lake of Shadows rocks once again to the sound of The Pyros.

A Pyros History Map
Click on each placemark to see some information about these historic locations.
(Those of you who have Google Earth can even have a more fun view. Click on this View Larger Map link and then click on the KML link on top of the map to see the placemarks in Google's great 3D map program. When I did it I also discovered some beautiful pictures of our home town by John Fletcher and others.

View Larger Map