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Published April 5, 2016


This Ludwig bass drum came our way via Los Angeles and played an interesting role in Irish America’s support for Ireland’s independence. The drum head logo, hand painted by L. H. Castro, depicts Blarney Castle as well as the acronym for the American Association for the Recognition of the Irish Republic (AARIR) in Los Angeles. The drum was used in the céilí band that played for the AARIR fundraisers which operated between 1920 and 1932. The organization emerged after Éamon de Valera split with the Friends of Irish Freedom, an Irish American group that supported the 1916 Easter Rising and raised money through the Irish Relief Fund to aid dependents who fought in the Rising. Irish American composer and conductor Victor Herbert was the first president of the Friends of Irish Freedom, and legal advisor for the bond drive was Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The drum itself includes a 12” cymbal positioned near the bass drum pedal. The pedal also has a small piece of metal that can strike the cymbal when the bass drum is kicked. This attachment can be moved out of the way to sound only the bass drum. A wood block is also attached at the top of the drum.

You can learn more about drum kits from the 1920s and 1930s from Samm Bennett’s website. More about the AARIR is here

If you or someone you know played in the Los Angeles AARIR céilí band, please feel free to contact the Ward Irish Music Archives with information.

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