Seamus Neary from County Galway used to play drums and sing in a group which toured the Irish Country circuit around Ireland and England in the 70's and 80's. In his own words, he packed all that up in 1986 "to take care of the day job." As far as he was concerned, that was that.

Fast forward some twenty years, to a chance meeting on a West London golf course with Limerick City born bassist and old pal, Jimmy Friel. Says Neary, "A bit of banter about the old days and the craic, and suddenly we're talking about doing it all again!"

Enter stage left, one Geoff Gibbs, a London born guitarist who has been playing the Irish circuit in London on & off for over forty years, as well as playing with Jimmy in Hobo, a well respected country band in the '80's.

"Two of us are just about the right side of sixty, one of us, the wrong side!" says Neary. "We got talking about the old days, and wondered if we could still hack it after all these years, and of course we reckoned we could!" Yes, you guessed it, they had themselves a band, "much to the amusement of our wives and grown-up kids", bought all the gear necessary and have been rehearsing since Christmas. "We think we sound pretty good, even the aforementioned wife and kids think so," laughs Neary!

A couple of months of rehearsals later, and Rough Diamonds launched themselves at a special London gig at The Castle pub, Cricklewood. On hand to add to the musical mix of Irish, country, and rock­'n'roll, (plus a few modern covers), and to get the crowd moving, there were several guests, including McGinty, Alice Nolan, Johnny Horan and Marian Burke.

If you didn't make it to the launch night, never fear - they'll be playing further gigs in the Greater London area (keep checking the Irish World for dates), including Botwell Club in Hayes and the London Irish Festival in Roundwood Park in July. Believe it, these rough diamonds are polished up and ready to shine!

Launch night at The Castle, Cricklewood

Entertaining the crowd at The London Irish Festival 2008
Click here for more festival pics

Early video clip of Geoff & Jim with Hobo (1985)
Another one!

Geoff & Jim
'Famous' Seamus Neary himself!
Kilkenny Tavern, South Wimbledon, 2010.

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