Thou­sands mourn Wick­low’s Mr Mu­sic

June 1986

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS -

Thou­sands of peo­ple turned out to pay their last re­spected to the for­mer great show­band star, Jay Byrne, who was laid to rest last Sun­day morn­ing.

It was con­sid­ered to be the big­gest fu­neral ever in Gle­nealy vil­lage as peo­ple poured in from all over the coun­try.

Some were old friends from the show­band days, many were per­sonal ac­quain­tances, but the ma­jor­ity were those who had prob­a­bly never met him per­son­ally but re­spected him for the pleasure he gave down the years.

His for­mer col­leagues in the band car­ried the cof­fin from the house to the church on Satur­day evening and the lo­cal choir, which was trained by Jay, sang the fu­neral Mass.

Af­ter the burial, Anthony Byrne played ‘Amaz­ing Grace’ on Jay’s own sax­o­phone, ac­com­pa­nied by Tommy Earls and Abi Jacob.

Aged 58, Jay (his real name Jim), be­came in­ter­ested in mu­sic from an early age and through en­cour­age­ment from his par­ents he learned to play the ac­cor­dion.

But then came the age of ra­dio and Jay tuned into ev­ery mu­sic pro­gramme, be­came hooked on jazz, and was par­tic­u­larly in­trigued with the big band sound.

He be­came a house­hold name and the rich sound and ver­sa­til­ity of his band packed dance halls all over Le­in­ster.

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