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Ryan's Fancy

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Biography

Ryan’s Fancy was a musical group of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. The three members were all Irishmen who had emigrated to Canada.

Denis Ryan, Fergus O’Byrne, and Dermot O’Reilly, were originally members of the Sons of Erin. The original Sons of Erin line-up featured Dermot and Fergus along with Gary Kavanagh and band leader Ralph O’Brien. When the band broke up Dermot, Fergus and Gary continued on for one tour as O’Reilly’s Men and upon returning to Toronto met up with Don Sullivan to form the original Sullivan’ Gypsies. Ralph O’Brien reformed The Sons Of Erin with new members Johnnie Lynn, John Cameron and Denis Ryan and recorded a self-titled LP. Shortly afterward Denis left to join Sullivan’s Gypsies. Ryan’s Fancy came to be when Sullivan’s Gypsies parted ways.

The trio relocated to St. John’s, Newfoundland in 1971 to attend Memorial University of Newfoundland. Making a splash in the local music scene, the group landed the first of several television series. Produced by Jack Kellum on CBC, the show involved the trio travelling and playing across Atlantic Canada. Ryan’s Fancy had their own syndicated series called Ryan’s Fancy (January 1972 to April 1972) and the pub-styled Tommy Makem and Ryan’s Fancy (July to September 1974). Plus, in 1980, they starred and performed in the CBC-TV movie Pirate’s Gold.

The group disbanded in 1983. Denis Ryan moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia and became an investment banker and businessman while Fergus O’Byrne and Dermot O’Reilly remained in St. John’s. Fergus completed a degree in education and began a successful career as a teacher and lecturer while Dermot opened a music recording studio.

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