Liffey Green, Danube Blue: The Musical Life and Loves of László Gede


Eibhlín Mac Máighistir Gede  and Antoinette Walker

March 2016

Liffey Green, Danube Blue: The Musical Life and Loves of László Gede is the extraordinary tale of László Gede, a Hungarian musician who lived through some of the most turbulent periods of the 20th century. It is a story of exile and loss, to safety and love in Ireland – fleeing war in Europe, communism in Hungary, and apartheid in South Africa. His story is one of survival, resourcefulness and his ultimate happiness living in Ireland and becoming an Irish citizen. László’s enduring passion for music will appeal to classical music fans.


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Liffey Green, Danube Blue is the remarkable account of László Gede, a Hungarian musician who made Ireland his home in 1969. His story begins in Hungary during the First World War, enduring poverty and hardship, and charts his rise to clarinettist in the State Opera House Orchestra. Between the wars Budapest was an exhilarating place for László, thrilling audiences with his Goldwin Gede swing band in its celebrated café society. The Second World War saw him playing in military bands and miraculously avoided being sent to the Front in 1944, while also involved in resistance work. The period was also marked by his two short marriages. Following his imprisonment by the postwar communist authorities, he escaped across the border to Austria along with his third wife during the Hungarian Uprising of 1956.

From Austria he settled in Johannesburg and joined the South African Broadcasting Corporation Orchestra. The apartheid violence during the 1960s however led to another move – this time to Ireland. When his musical career was cut short in his late fifties, he sought other ways to earn a living in Dublin – as craftsman, landlord, businessman, taxi driver and engineer. A born survivor, László could turn every setback to his advantage, while doing his best to help others. Grief at the death of his wife Irén from cancer was soon replaced by joy when he married her nurse Eibhlín Mac Máighistir in 1988. Ever-resourceful with a huge capacity for work, his brain whirred endlessly until the end. This book is her tribute to a man who combined talent with ingenuity and altruism.

About the Authors

Eibhlín Mac Máighistir Gede is a native of Dublin who grew up off the South Circular Road. In 1971, she qualified as a general nurse in St Laurence’s Hospital and later worked in a number of Irish hospitals. In 1988, she married Hungarian musician László Gede. She lives in Dublin.

Antoinette Walker is a freelance editor and writer who has worked on several Irish published non-fiction titles including Baby Eva: An Irish Surrogacy Story and Unstoppable Brilliance: Irish Geniuses and Asperger’s Syndrome.