A bold initiative was started in Drimoleague and Drinagh in the early 1970s — an accordion class. It was my introduction to something that has brought me a lot of enjoyment since, especially in the many people I have met through a shared interest in music.

The classes alternated between the parish hall in Drimoleague and the hall beside Connolly’s in Drinagh. Many of us cycled into the classes with our accordions on the back of the bike and a coin in our pockets to pay for the classes. I’m certain that everyone who took part enjoyed it.

Photo of the Accordion Class with Vin Forbes taken on the steps of All Saints Church, Drimoleague in the early 1970s.

Our accordion teacher was Vin Forbes who was teaching in a post-primary school in Bantry but he wasn’t a professional music teacher or musician. But this possible lack was more than compensated for by his dedication and interest and kindness. Along with a few of the parents, he ferried us back and forth in his own car between Drinagh and Drimoleague and enrolled us in the local feis and anywhere we could get a chance to show our emerging talents.

In recent times Vin has endured failing health and died this month. He will be sorely missed most of all by his family. He also leaves a void in the many community and sporting activities that he supported in Drimoleague.

He will always be fondly remembered by the members of his accordion class whenever we take up an accordion and strike up a tune. No doubt he has stepped across the threshold to be met by his brother Jim who also died recently. May he receive a rousing welcome from the Heavenly Chorus and may he rest in eternal peace.

Go bhfaighe sé cónaí i measc na naomh.