#OTD in 1900 – Birth of Irish traditional singer, Sarah Makem, in Keady, Co Armagh.

Sarah Makem, a native of Keady, Co Armagh, was a traditional Irish singer. She was the wife of fiddler Peter Makem, mother of musicians Tommy Makem and Jack Makem, and grandmother of musicians Shane Makem, Conor Makem and Rory Makem. Sarah Makem and her cousin, Annie Jane Kelly, were members of the Singing Greenes of […]

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#OTD in 1959 – Birth of musician, Gavin Friday, in Dublin.

Birth of Gavin Friday (born Fionán Martin Hanvey) in Dublin. He is a singer and songwriter, composer, actor and painter and founder of post-punk band The Virgin Prunes. Friday was born in Dublin and grew up in Ballygall a neighbourhood located on Dublin’s Northside located between Finglas and Glasnevin where he went to school. When […]

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Róisín Dubh (Black Rose) by Phil Lynott

The song was inspired by Phil Lynott’s fascination with Irish history and Celtic mythology, and ironically was to become his epitaph. Go dtuga Dia suaimhneas da anam. ‘Róisín Dubh (Black Rose)’Phil Lynott Tell me the legends of long agoWhen the kings and queens would danceIn the realm of the Black RosePlay me the melodies I […]

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#OTD in 2002 – Death of Bobby Clancy of the Clancy Brothers.

Bobby Clancy was a singer and musician best known as a member of The Clancy Brothers, one of the most successful and influential Irish folk groups. He accompanied his songs on five-string banjo, guitar, bodhrán, and harmonica. Bobby Clancy was born in Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary, to Robert J. Clancy and Johanna McGrath. He was the […]

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#OTD in 1935 – Birth of Liam Clancy, of the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem fame.

The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem shot to fame after appearing with his brothers on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1961. Scheduled to perform two songs, they were forced to extend their appearance when the show’s headliner cancelled. The following year they sold out audiences. After the Clancy brothers stopped touring / broke up, Liam […]

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#OTD in 1830 – The “Wild Colonial Boy” is shot dead in a gun battle with police at Cambelltown, Sydney.

On this date in 1830, The “Wild Colonial Boy” is shot dead in a gun battle with police at Cambelltown, Sydney. Contrary to the popular song, “The Wild Colonial Boy” was John Donohue, transported from Ireland in 1824. This version was outlawed as seditious, so the name in the song was changed to Jack Doolan. […]

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#OTD in 2008 – Death of singer and folk musician, Ronnie Drew.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam. Ronnie Drew was born in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin. He was best known for his long beard and his voice, which was once described by Nathan Joseph as “like the sound of coke being crushed under a door”. For more than 30 years, the distinctive voice of the […]

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The Uilleann Pipes

The importance of piping during the years of the Irish chieftains is evident in the 9th century representation of a piper on the great stone High Cross of Clanmacnoise in Co Offaly. This seat of Irish culture in Clanmacnoise fostered the great ancient school there which at its height involved six to seven thousand students. […]

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