Ciarán Bourke was one of the original members of The Dubliners, his versatility was his hallmark which included the playing of the tin whistle, harmonica, and guitar, as well as singing. He was the only member of the group to receive a university education and was also fluent in Irish.
Bourke collapsed on stage from a brain haemorrhage during a performance in 1974. He never made a full recovery, and eventually died in 1988. Forced to leave the group due to his haemorrhage, he made a final brief appearance with them on The Late Late Show tribute to The Dubliners in 1987.