#OTD in 1939 – Bernard Noël ‘Banjo Barney’ McKenna of the Dubliners is born.

Barney McKenna was the last surviving founding member of the Irish folk group the Dubliners. While Ronnie Drew’s gravelly voice gave the band its memorable vocal sound, it was McKenna’s playing of the tenor banjo, coupled with John Sheahan’s fiddle, that gave the Dubliners their original instrumental quality. In the process, McKenna redefined the role […]

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#OTD in 1944 – Birth of entertainer and folk musician, Jim McCann.

As a young man, McCann attended University College Dublin as a student of medicine, but became interested in folk music during a summer holiday in Birmingham in 1964. He began to perform in folk clubs in the area, and, upon his return to Dublin, he joined a group called the Ludlow Trio in 1965. In […]

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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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#OTD in Irish History – 10 May:

1318 – Richard de Clare, Lord of Thomond, a descendant of Strongbow, is killed while commanding his forces at the Battle of Dysert O’Dea. According to legend, the day before his death, Richard de Clare beheld a woman dressed in white on the river’s edge washing bloody clothing and armour. When he asked whose clothes […]

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#OTD in 2012 – Death of Bernard Noël “Banjo Barney” McKenna.

Barney McKenna was the last surviving founding member of the Irish folk group the Dubliners. With Luke Kelly’s powerful voice and force of nature on stage, Ronnie Drew’s gravelly memorable vocal sound, it was McKenna’s playing of the tenor banjo, coupled with John Sheahan’s fiddle, that gave the Dubliners their original instrumental quality. In the […]

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