We were up early for our morning concert at the Palace Hotel, as part of the Houghton Weavers Folk Weekend.  Thank you to new member Simon who will be with us for many of our future gigs, we had a great time and look forward to a busy few months ahead.  



We enjoyed our first gig in a few months recently, and the reaction to our performance was great, thank you Manchester.  We have half a dozen gigs coming up in the coming weeks, so hopefully we'll be back to our best very  soon.  

JUNE 2019


Well we're halfway through our 30th Anniversary year and to celebrate, we're taking a short break with only one or two pre-arranged gigs in the diary.  Fiddler and singer Samantha has recently undergone back surgery and should be back around October, and we've taken the opportunity to have our first real break in 30 years.



We're delighted to say we have been booked to return to the famous Davitt Land League club, Haslingden Irish Democratic League for our 2018 St Patrick's night party.  We're quite sure tickets will sell out fast, we'll announce the details for ticket sales as soon as we have them.



Our apologies for the lack of news updates on our website of late, we have had a busy year and tended to rely upon four facebook page more for news items.   



What a great we have had, thank you to all those who have booked the band during the year.  We start the New Year with a new name to remember too, for the occasions when we are asked to play for more traditional audiences (and agents) and folk clubs.  The name Ceol Mhor means 'more music', and reflects the more serious and traditional side of the band.  



This September the band play two gigs in the Sheffield area, supporting two great causes.  On September 3rd we support Roy Bailey and Les Barker at Sheffield Cathedral, raising money for HARC (Homeless and Rootless at Christmas) who run a 10 day drop in centre over the Christmas period.   


Then on September 17th we perform at the newly refurbished Merlin Theatre to raise funds for the continuing work at the theatre which is based within a special needs college run by Brantwood School.  The event is also part of the Nether Edge Festival.  Dogwood Road are the support for the evening.


Please support these two great causes and have lots of fun on the way.



If you have been along to a gig in May or June 2016 you will have noticed that Samantha has been missing, she's expecting a baby any day now (end of June). We've had some great musicians helping out in this time, so a big thankyou to our former member Jamie (fiddle), Dominic (fiddle) and Dave (mandolin) for their help with recent gigs.  Hopefully Samantha will be back playing from September. 





During 2015 two long standing members of the band, Brendan Comer and Jamie Knowles retired from the band. Jamie joined the band in the year 2000 whilst Brendan has been with the band around seven years too.  Thank you to them both to their contribution to the band's success through all these years. In their places come Sean Louram who plays accordion, and Steve Bird who co-founded the band with Phil 27 years ago.  Welcome back Steve.


All the members of the band would like to wish all our friends and supporters of the band a Happy Christmas and a tuneful New Year.  Thank you for helping make 2015 another enjoyable year for the band.


After seven years with the band, Brendan has announced his retirement with immediate effect.  His place goes to our old friend and founder member of the band Steve Bird, he rejoins the band after a break of 17 years.  Welcome back Steve.


It's not often we play in pubs these days, but when we do they all come at once.  Catch us at The White Bull in Chorley and the Old Hall Hotel in Hope.  A welcome return to Bolton Irish Club is confirmed too, so a busy couple of months coming up.


After 15 years playing with the band, our fiddle player Jamie Knowles has announced his retirement.  He's been a great friend and servant of ours and we'll miss him and his expert fiddle playing.  In his place we welcome Sean who plays accordion, and we'll be introducing him during some great events in the coming months.


A rare opportunity to see the band in Derbyshire, we return to Bamford in the Hope Valley on Friday 18th September to play St John's Church.  Tickets are only £7.00 (£5.00 concessions) with bar and refreshments available on the night. Funds raised will go to help the work of Assist, a Sheffield based charity which helps refugees and asylum seekers.


We are delighted that our 26th Anniversary gig at Chorley Little Theatre has SOLD OUT with over a week to go.  You can still catch us live in Chorley though as we play the Gillibrand Arms on Sunday 22nd March 4-6pm, the last ever gig before the pub closes its doors for ever.


2015 kicks off with a first for us, a gig in a church.  We play St John's in Bamford on Saturday 7th February as a fund raising event for the church.  Tickets will be limited to around 100, so you'll need to put your hands up quickly to get one of them as they are only £5.00 each.  There will be a 'by donation' bar on the evening so you'll not run dry.


Looking ahead to the Christmas season, two gigs that we are getting excited about.  Firstly, we play our favourite pub in Sheffield again on 20th December. We start at The Abbey around 8pm.  The week before that we play Warrington Irish Club for the first time in a few years, it's nice to be asked back again.


For those who enjoyed our 25th Anniversary Concert at Chorley Little Theatre in March, we're going to do it all again as we had so much fun.  We also raised £850 which was shared between two hospices, Derian House and St Catherine's, both in Chorley.  Tickets for the 2015 concert are now on sale.


Apologies for the lack of updates during 2014, this was due to software problems on my computer.  All back to normal again now so hopefully news as usual.


We are happy to return to The Abbey at Sheffield next March during St Patrick's weekend. We'll be there on Saturday 15th March, and on Sunday 16th you can catch Mason's Apron at The Old Swan in Winsford, Cheshire on Sunday 15th.


To date, the band are still available on St Patrick's day, 17th March, it's a Monday night this time.


The band play at The George in Tideswell on June 29th, it's an early start at 4.30pm, but a great way to finish of the Wakes Week celebrations.


Sad to say... but our bass player Wal has decided to leave the band. As with most band's. they mess up people home life loads and Wal has a wonderful wife and young child who need him more at home than away. It's been a real pleasure to play with him, a real pro attitude to the band, but a really good mate too. But the band goes on, and we've always had changes in the band, so now we change again. My daughter Samantha Court is going to help us out for a few gigs, it may well be longer than that... (it usually works that way, ask Brendan and Jamie) but we take that as it comes.


Two opportunities to see the band over St Patrick's weekend. Friday 15th March at the Orange Tree, Prestwich near Manchester... then on St Patrick's night 17th March, we play The Abbey, Woodseats, Sheffield. We'll see you there.


APOLOGIES for the website being down for the last three weeks, but we have recently changed servers. Signed a deal with 123-REG lasting 2 years, so hopefully no more down time.


HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all, and thank you for making 2012 such good fun. We kick off 2013 with an evening at The Globe in Glossop with comedian Jolly Jock.  Tickets only £5.00.


It's a long time since we played at The Gillibrands Arms in Chorley, but the wait is over and for a very special reason. Whiskey in the Jar and friends play to remember the life of Kath Singleton, hopefully a chance for some great stories and music with special guest Kath's husband Joe.


A new venue to look forward to, the Abbey at Woodseats near Sheffield on September 28th, and a welcome return to Bolton Irish Centre in November. We look forward to seeing all our friends again at the forthcoming gigs.


The band are pleased to announce that Paul Walster is our new bass player following a great rehearsal session last night. 'Wal' has had plenty of experience playing in Irish bands and we are sure he is going to give the band a new dimension. Paul replaces Jeff who had been with the band for over 20 years. We would also like to thank Alan who had rehearsed with for a couple of weeks and also played at and recent gig, it was a difficult choice for us to make.

21 01 2012 - New dates in the diary

We will have spent most of January and February rehearsing and ready for the March rush. We've added gigs at Castleton (nr Oldham), Didsbury and Batley to the list recently.

21 01 2012 - Rehearsals with new bassist

Rehearsals have gone well with our new bass player Alan, he is up to speed on most of the songs and tunes and looking forward to meeting with our friends at forthcoming gigs.

02 01 2012 - Jeff announces his retirement

Sadly, Jeff has announced his immediate retirement from the band. A member for 21 years, he has been at the heart of everything the band has achieved and will be missed. Happy retirement Jeff, good health and a big thank-you.

23 11 2011 - Sheffield University Gig

The Fox & Duck is owned by the University Students Union, see the band live on Tuesday 29th November at 8.30pm.

23 10 2011 - High Jinks on Boxing Day

A rare event in itself with the band playing a Boxing Day gig, but great to return to The Anglers Rest, Bamford in Derbyshire.

20 07 2011 - Three new dates

Two Manchester pub gigs coming up, the Little B in Sale and The Victoria in Burnage. Also a rare opportunity to see the band in the Hope Valley, at The Anglers Rest in Bamford.

02 06 2011 - Change of date

Our return visit to the Slaithwaite Beer Festival (just outside Huddersfield) in November has been changed to Friday 17th. This is the fifth year we have appeared to help the Colne Valley Lions Club help raise funds for local charities.

19 03 2011 - St Patrick's Celebration

We return to The Peaks Inn in Castleton in the Peak District, scene of our great New Years Eve party. We suggest get their early for a seat on Saturday 19th March starting at 8.00pm.

07 01 2011 - Clancy Brothers Tribute night.

Once again the band perform a tribute to The Clancy Brothers as part of the Manchester Irish Festival. A new venue this time, the Farmers Arms, Burnage on Sunday 13th March at 8.00pm.

09 09 2010 - New Years Eve.

We are pleased to announce that the band are to play at the Peaks Hotel in Castleton in the Peak District on New Years Eve, starting at 8.00pm. 

29 07 2010 - Hydes Brewery Promotion.

It's been ten years but Manchester based brewery Hydes are hosting a series of promotional nights featuring the band. The dates have been confirmed and listed on the home page. 

03 07 2010 - Special rates.

A special offer to pubs and clubs in South Yorkshire and Derbyshire, one third off our normal rate if you book the band for dates between December and February. 

03 07 2010 - Phil moves house.

Following Phil's move to Derbyshire, most of the band are now based much more handily for working around the Yorkshire, Derbyshire area and further afield.  

02 03 2010 - Batley Irish Club.

We are delighted to have been asked to play again at Batley Irish Democratic League Club, based in West Yorkshire. 

We return to the club on Saturday April 17th, hopefully see a few old friends on the night. 

05 02 2010 - Team Spirit (Oldham).

Over the past few months we have had dealings with a company called TEAM SPIRIT that I wish to tell you about in order to suggest you refrain from working with them. 

In August last year this events management company based in Oldham, Lancashire contacted a highly respected band agent with a view to booking Mr Grumpy’s Ceilidh Band. Team Spirit initially asked the agent to reduce our fee as they told us they were under pressure from the client, we therefore reduced our fee accordingly yet found out that they added a whacking £500 to the bill for their own ‘administration’, nearly doubling the charge to their clients. 

With only a week to go before the October booking, Team Spirit eventually agreed to a contract which included payment within 30 days. After two months without payment we had to revert to the Small Claims Court to force them to pay, they kept telling us that they had not been paid by the client. We found out that they had in fact been paid in full weeks before the booking took place. 

Team Spirit also told the client they had contracted the band for a second event in February and took another hefty deposit for that event. In fact they had not contacted the agent or the band.  

My advice is ask your agent if any booking has come through Team Spirit on behalf of a client. These people have no qualms about how they treat clients, agents and bands alike.  Phil: Whiskey in the Jar.

12 01 2010 - Clancy Brothers Tribute night.

Saturday 6th March sees the band perform a tribute to The Clancy Brothers as part of the Manchester Irish Festival. The evening takes places at the Union Bar, Levenshulme.

14 11 2009 - Another new date.

Saturday 12th December sees the band play for the first time at St Cuthbert's in Withington for a charity concert. Tickets at £5.00 are available from the Red Lion next door.

20 08 2009 - New dates added.

New date added are: August 29th Heaton House Beer Festival, September 5th Waterloo RUFC, September 18th Bolton Irish Centre and November 7th Parrswood Hotel, Didsbury near Stockport.

10 08 2009 - Change in the line-up.

After 10 years with the band, our long-standing banjo player Stuart has opted to have a break from the band. We are fortunate that the band's caller Brendan has agreed to join the band on a permanent basis adding a new dimension to the band. Brendan plays Mandola and Bodhran and enjoys singing too, a great addition to the band.

10 07 2009 - New diary dates.

Preston this coming Saturday for an evening with the Shamrock Dancers and their annual charity gig, St Benedict's is the venue this time. A few more public gigs have been added too, see the home page for details.

10 07 2009 - New date for Penketh festival.

A change of date for our appearance at the Ferry Tavern, Penketh, near Warrington. The new date is Sunday 2nd August, starting 4.00pm. A date not to be missed.

23 02 2009 - Two new gigs announced.

If you're a Glasgow Celtic fan you'll want to celebrate their anticipated Co-Op cup win on March 15th at the Bolton Irish Centre. If you can't make that occasion then we are back locally on April 26th at the Bryn Hall Hotel in Wigan.

06 02 2009 - St Patrick's weekend in Manchester.

A rare appearance in Manchester has been arranged for St Anne's Social Centre in Stretford as part of their St Patrick's weekend festivities. Saturday 21st March is the date.

06 02 2009 - Return to Bolton Irish Club.

The band return to Bolton Irish Centre on 24th April following their successful appearance in January. The club are advising people to arrive early as a big crowd is expected on the night. Entry is just £3.00 tbc.

11 2008 - Another 20th Anniversary Gig.

The band return to the Haslingden Irish Democratic League on Saturday 14th February. The club is enjoying much success in recent times and are again booking bands.

18 11 2008 - Barrowford gig confirmed.

We have confirmed a rare appearance in the Burnley area as guests of the Pendle Irish Society. Ticket details will be announced on this website soon.

08 11 2008 - Bolton gig confirmed.

We are pleased to confirmed that the band are to play at Bolton Irish Centre on Friday 23rd January. The band always enjoy the hospitality and great atmosphere at the club.

14 10 2008 - 20th Birthday Celebrations.

The band is 20 years old in 2009, and we plan to celebrate with a series of public gigs. We have written to around 80 venues inviting them to book the band during the promotion period, so if you want to see us at a venue near you, give us a call. Details on the contact page.

20 06 2008 - St Patrick's Day 2009.

We are now booked for St Patrick's Day 2009.

22 08 2008 - CD's available.

'Ceol Agus Craic'

The History of Whiskey in the Jar   Vol 1

£8.00 plus £1.50 p&p


'By Request'

The History of Whiskey in the Jar   Vol 2

£8.00 plus £1.50 p&p.

Both CD'S £15.00 plus £2.50 p&p

We still have a limited number of cassettes available at £5.00 for 1, £9.00 (2), £12.00 (3) and £15.00 (4)

The cassettes, in order are 'Live 1990', 'By Request 1992', 'Encore 1994', 'Whiskey and Water' 1996.


22 08 2008 - More rare public gigs.

Our next public gigs are confirmed for Colne Valley Beer Festival at Slaithwaite, Nr Huddersfield and BB's in Widnes. See the date sheet on the home page for details.

04 03 2008 - Our new website.

Welcome to the new-look home of Whiskey in the Jar and Mr Grumpy's Ceilidh band. Some changes being planned here... soon you'll be able to listen to many of the songs listed onthe band page.

15 06 2006 - Second CD due out soon.

A new compilation of tracks taken from the band's previous recordings will be available as a follow up CD in July. The release is to be promoted by a live appearance on BBC Radio Manchester's flagship Irish programme "The Parlour" on Monday 26th June. Due to the many requests that we receive, we are re-releasing all four previous cassette recordings at the same time.

25 01 06 - Problems uploading the latest news.

We apologise for the lack of up to date news on the band. Difficulties with the web server have prevented regular updates. Hopefully we are back to normal again and back with the latest news.

23 08 2004- Thrapston Fire Station Gig.

A mention of a rare gig in the midlands.

Thrapston Fire Service.  We have played for the lads at Thrapston for the last two years and are chuffed to be asked back this year. All the lads are part-time fire-fighters but give up a lot of time in helping charities, not just their own charity too. This years gig will be another sell-out occasion and a special thanks to John Lynch and the rest of the crew at Thrapston for the way they look after the band and make our trip so worth-while. We look forward to meeting all our friends again in the future.

09 08 2004 - C D released.

Our new CD entitled "Ceol Agus Craic" (music and the crack) is now on sale at £10.00. The one hour long CD charts the history of the band and features songs from all the different line-up's over the years. The last four tracks are all new recordings from the present line-up.

25 07 2004 - TOUR of IRELAND 2002..  What a great week in Ireland

Wed 18th .. arrived at Bundoran, Co Donegal, spent the first night gently breaking in to the spirit of the week... or was it the Guinness.

Thurs 19th.. a sign for a session out the Bridge tonight but the landlord said we'd be too late after playing at Donegal town, after buying us a beer or two and listening to the music.. he told us .." sure we're open till 4 in the morning, just ring the bell". Nice to see our friends from Leitrim on a day trip to Bundoran, Marion and Brendan Shanley.. certainly gave us a surprise for the day. Followed that with a trip to Glenties in Donegal.. home of renowned Donegal fiddlers, then back to The Central Hotel in Donegal. A great gig to start the tour.. followed by.. the session back at The Bridge.. the drinking had started.


Fri 20th..  The short trip down to Sligo for a drink at The Harp Tavern.. an old haunt of the band, followed by some bar at Strandhill, followed by a drink or two at tonight's venue..The Venue at Strandhill. Another great gig and great hospitality from Peter and Yvonne.

Sat 21st..  another short journey, this time to Mayo.. and breakfast at the local supermarket, followed by.. a pint or two. Got to the venue for tonight's gig, The Humbert Lodgeat Killala and the sad news of the sudden death of my (Phil) friends mother, so had to relocate the beds to the pub we were playing. Took a ride to Ballycastle for a drink but my first choice was closed as it was the brother of the bereaved family, so next door to the welcome of the week. Michael at Katy Mac's.. a Dubliner and nice whistle player.. what a fabulous man. It was a pleasure playing for 3 hours to such a man as he (and a few regulars).. the only trouble was that by five o'clock we were already feeling the drink again. After a very private couple of hours with Tony and Carmel's family at Belderig (thanks for inviting us and letting us sing to you on such a sad occasion), and a couple of Belderig measures of whiskey, we had to go and do the nights work back at Killala.   Thanks again to Ger and Geraldine at the Humbert for putting us all up at short notice.

Sun 22nd..  Great to be back in County Leitrim and people I have known for over 25 years, and who have been good followers of the band on previous tours. Jamie and Stuart just HAD to play some O'Carolan tunes at a pub called O'Carolans.. and we thought the drinking was to stop today !!.McKeons at Keshcarrigan was the first Leitrin gig.. and to see my old friend Ben in such fine form was a bonus... he booked the band before we were good !!

Mon 23rd..  Woke up at the home of Margaret and Pat Curran.. familiar friends and familiar breakfasts.. and at last a day off from the drink. followed by the familiar surroundings of Quinn's Lounge at Fenagh. Thanks to new landlord Tommy Flynn for taking the risk of putting on a band on a Monday night.. fair play to you and a great night.

Tues 24th..  and the last night of the tour. The drive to Dublin was quieter than usual.. the end was in sight. Not the busiest gig of the week at The White House, The Ward, near the airport  and just outside the city, but what a welcome from those who turned up.. and the promise of a gig next year on a Friday night when they get 200-250 in the place. Thanks Simon Rutledge for your hospitality on the night.

01 08 2002 - FIRST IRISHMAN INTO SPACE !!!  (True story) !!

It was Easter 2002 when Stuart, the bands banjo caller received a visit from his life-long friend Lawrence O'Brien. Lawrence knew he didn't have long for this world and asked Stuart to take him on a "last look" around some of the parts of Lancashire he so loved. In particular he took Lawrence to the "Pots and Pans" landmark, near Saddleworth where he asked Stuart to spread his ashes when he died. It was not many weeks after that that Lawrence's wife Sonia rang from their home at The Boghill Center, near Doolin, County Clare, to tell Stuart that Lawrence had indeed passed away, and arranged for the ashes to be brought to Oldham. 

To cut a (very) long story short, Stuart and his friend John Harrison, also a director of the Boghill Center, arranged for his ashes to be spread, but were refused entry onto the land because of the foot and mouth epidemic, and could not afford a "helicopter drop". On a visit to his local hardware store, Stuart discovered a £17 firework rocket.. and yes.. the answer to his problem. Along with a host of fiddlers and other musicians fro across Ireland and England, off came the top of the rocket, in went the ashes, and up went the firework.. bursting into a cloud of dust, and settling over the Pots and Pans as the crowd cheered for Lawrence.

That night at the wake in the local pub, Stuart and the lads played among others, a tune called "Michael's Waltz". The tune was written by Stuart in memory of Lawrence's brother, Michael, along with "O'Brien's lament" written during a quiet moment in the company of Stuart's memories of the family. During the evening a local reporter interviewed Stuart and John and took a few photo's as usual... think of the surprise next morning in the Manchester Evening News, Oldham Chronicle, The Sun and The Mirror at the headlines . .  

"Retired Rat-catcher sends first Irish man into space".

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