The Walkeleles - ukulele band is the talk of the town

By Taylor Gleeson

South Dublin’s favourite ukulele band has been the talk of the town lately, and has become a huge hit.

The Walkeleles, founded in 2017, made their debut performance with just 11 members and have grown to have over 30 ukulele players.

The Walkeleles Liz 1

The Walkeleles

Touring around Ireland, the group performs for charity events and festivals. Their Hawaiian shirts and contagious energy puts a smile on anyone watching. With five-star reviews from audience members, it’s no wonder the group has become so popular.

Original member and founder of the Walkeleles Paul Byrne had a few words with The Echo about the group’s success and the joys of being a part of the band.

What has the group been up to lately?

We were at Tallafest and the Drimnagh Festival at Brickfield Park. Soon we’re going to Wales and after that we’re going to a ukulele festival. We do a lot of charity gigs and we have some local festivals lined up. We do gigs for lots of charities . . . DSPCA and cancer research.

What is the best part about being a member of the Walkeleles?

The best thing is the comradery. We’re all of a certain age and about 90 per cent of the group, up until two years ago, had never played a musical instrument before. They had never played or sang out loud in front of an audience and now we’re playing at festivals and in crowds and it’s really fun. The joy people get watching us is great too.

What do people enjoy most about the Walkeleles?

Everyone knows the songs we do, so they can clap along or sing along or whatever, and they see the enjoyment we get from performing and that enjoyment goes across to make them enjoy it. They see that we’re having a laugh and people can tell we’re having a good time.

Paul Byrne one of the Walkeleles founders

Paul Byrne – one of the founders of the Walkeleles

How many members are there in the Walkeleles and where are they from?

I think at the moment we have 33 members. We started with 11. The original three are me, my sister Jackie Byrne and Miriam Cullen. Everyone is originally from Walkinstown. It just worked out that way. Now some of them live in Tallaght and Lucan, but everyone was originally based in Walkinstown.

Where is the group based? Are there more ukulele groups in Ireland?

The group is based in Walkinstown and we practice at a pub there called the Cherrytree Pub. Yes, there are other groups. They’re all over Ireland. There are groups in Cork, Galway, Belfast. There are loads all over the country.

Are the Walkeleles currently accepting new members?

We’re not taking anybody right now. To get in you have to audition and you have to be fairly experienced. In September we are planning on having lessons again, but we’re not taking any beginners. You have to have at least two years – you can’t start from scratch.

Do the Walkeleles have any big plans for the future?

To take over the world. Kidding. No, not quite yet, it’s whatever happens, happens. We just want to keep enjoying it and having fun. For now, we want to keep playing, keep going and keep having fun.

To learn more about the Walkeleles and when you can see them perform, go to their Facebook page.

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