The Thomas Francis Meagher Fife and Drum Band was founded in Waterford in 1885 by the late Sam Barnes and the late Councillor Tom Cullen.
The band has always been affectionately known locally by it's followers as The Yellow Road Band as the band's headquarters are situated on the Lower Yellow Road but when the band travels and for official engagements it's proper name is re-established.
The band went out of existence during World War Two for six years. After the emergency; the late Tommy Collins got the band back on the road. In 1950 the late Mick Kelly became bandmaster. A real military figure who was known and respected throughout the field of music, Mick Kelly's contribution to this much loved band will always be remembered.
During the bands lifetime, it has won many competitions. In 1959 the band won the All Ireland Fife and Drum Contest going on to greater achievements the band won 1st prize for Best Corps of Drums on six occasions since 1963. Our last two wins were in 1985 and 1986 in Limerick and Wexford respectively under the baton of Councillor Pat Power. The band took home three cups from Limerick that year including Best Overall Band.
In 1995 we celebrated a milestone for any marching band. It was always our dream to take part in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City so a massive fund raising drive was undertaken. Concerts, raffle tickets, cake sales, talent competitions, pub quizzes and any way we could raise money were held.
In 1996 we realised our dream, travelled to the USA for twelve days and marched down 5th Avenue in the biggest St. Patricks Day parade in the world. Well, the American bug had bitten so in 1999 the band returned to US shores to march in the Boston St. Patricks Day parade. Our last US adventure was a return St. Patricks Day visit to New York in 2007.
We have sister bands in Wexford Town, Castlebridge Co. Wexford, and Limerick. In 2000 we discovered that Fife and Drum was very much alive in Dingle Co. Kerry so since then The Thomas Francis Meagher Fife and Drum Band has represented Waterford in the Dingle festival 'Feile Na Bealtaine' during the May Bank Holiday Festival.
Once an entirely male band, today we are a unisex band, a mixture of vibrant youth and great experience. Fife and Drum has stood the test of time.
John Flynn, September 2009.