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Musical Marie – 17 Stone of Rhythm and Fun

Musical Marie – 17 Stone of Rhythm and Fun

musical maireLimerick was the host to many strange and unusual performances. One of these included the record breaking attempt by “Musical Marie” who in the 1950s was the world’s “only non-stop lady marathon pianist”. From 9am in Monday 1st November to 1am on the 8th November 1953, she played for 134 hours non-stop in the Catholic Institute on Sarsfield Street. A ticket to see her cost an adult £1 and children 6 pence and opening hours for the public was between 9am and midnight, while police and press were in attendance at all other times.

Marie was aged 40 and originally from Manchester, she had beat a previously held German record in Limerick by two hours. The last tune she played was the National Anthem, she was then assisted from her stool to the couch by members of the St John’s Ambulance before being removed to her Cruises by ambulance.  Over three thousand people were on the street outside as she finished her set.

A few days earlier in Dublin the male record was set at 204 hours by James Strickland also known as “Syncopating Sandy”.

musical marieImages courtesy of Helen Downing

In January of the following year the Limerick Steamship Company and Philip J Murray of Cork brought claims against Limerick Corporation for damages caused to their car during Musical Marie performance. As the crowds grew outside the Catholic Institute and Cruises Hotel a number of men climbed on cars to get a better view. The cars owned by the Limerick Steamship Company claimed  £115-17-4d work of damage, including the caving in of its roof. This case was dismissed though another for £58 was awarded.

In 1954 Musical Marie played in London and this was recorded by British Pathe.

About The Author

Sharon Slater

Sharon Slater is the owner and operator of the Limerick's Life website. She has been researching and collecting information regarding Limerick history and genealogies since her early teens. She obtained a Masters degree in Local History at the University of Limerick.


  1. Jame Barnett (Walsh)

    Oh how lovely, I remember my Grandma and how wonderful she was, not just to us her family but to an audience who followed and loved her as well. Thank you Linda and Sharon.

  2. Linda Carter

    Thankyou. I was aware that my Nana travelled the country, performing in seaside resort s like Blackpool and Great Yarmouth. But it was very surprising to read in your article that she attracted such a large crowd outside the theatre in Limerick! Well I suppose there wasn’t much entertainment in those days… Thanks again for the great memories Any more information, photos etc would be very much appreciated. Regards Linda

  3. Sharon Slater

    I am delighted that you have found this and that it has brought back some fond memories for you.

  4. Linda Carter

    Hi . Haven’t seen this before but have seen the pathe news video. This is my Grandma who I remember as being a wonderful pianist. I lived with her and my grandad for several years as a young child and teenager. As I grow older myself I get more nostalgic and enjoy finding out more about my family and their achievements. Thanks for this lovely memory of my Nana.

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About Limerick’s Life

This website is a personal project of Sharon Slater, born from a passion for Limerick and it's history. She maintains, updates and contributes to it independently and voluntarily. If you'd like to donate to keep Limerick's history online, please know that all donations will go directly into the costs of hosting the website and the time and travel to research and write the articles found on the site.

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