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Though musically a thorough Clare man, flute player Mike Preston (1926-2008) was born in Ballymote, County Sligo before his father relocated the family to Crusheen to take up work on the railroad.

Mike would follow his father’s line of work, but his true vocation was as a member of the Tulla Ceili Band, with whom he played for ten years before emigrating to America in 1961. After a short time in Boston, Mike moved to the Bronx, where he lived until his death. The Tulla band’s trip to New York in 1958, when they played at Carnegie Hall and recorded an LP, was Mike’s first introduction to the city. On his return to New York, however, most of Mike’s music making would be done at private parties and informal sessions. Not until the Irish traditional music revival that began in the 1970s would he be featured on recordings and in performances at concerts and festivals. The capstone of his musical career was a reunion with the Tulla Ceili Band when the group toured the east coast of the U.S. in 1997.