#OTD in 1939 – Birth of musician and composer, John Sheahan, who was a member of the The Dubliners.

John Sheahan was the quiet one in The Dubliners. In that cast of beardy and hairy rogues and rascals, Sheahan stood out by not standing out. Brought in to stand shoulder to shoulder with founder members Luke Kelly, Ronnie Drew, Barney McKenna and Ciarán Bourke, Sheahan’s playing brought a touch of elegant class to that […]

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#OTD in 1942 – Birth of artist and musician, Phil Coulter, in Co Derry.

Coulter’s father, also called Phil, encouraged music in the house. He played the fiddle whilst his wife played the upright piano. The younger Coulter recalls this piano, made by Challen, as ‘the most important piece of furniture in the house’. ‘I always stayed away from the fiddle, having inflicted enough pain on my family with […]

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#OTD in 1955 – Birth of singer/songwriter, Liam Reilly, in Dundalk, Co Louth.

Liam Reilly is an Irish singer/songwriter and a member of the popular Irish rock band Bagatelle. After receiving an offer from Gus Dudgeon (Elton John’s producer, now deceased) Reilly began a solo career. It didn’t gain much popularity but he wrote some of Bagatelle’s most popular songs during this time such as ‘Somewhere In Europe’. Reilly […]

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#OTD in 1951 – Birth of drummer and a founder member of the rock band Thin Lizzy, Brian Downey, in Dublin.

In his youth, he met friend, co-founder and bass guitarist Phil Lynott, who attended the same school as did Downey. Along with Lynott, Downey was the only constant founder and member of the pioneering hard rock group until their break-up in 1984, although he did opt out of a 1978 tour claiming “exhaustion.” Today, he […]

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#OTD in 1971 – RTÉ bans several patriotic ballads including Dublin In The Green and The Patriot Game.

‘Merry Ploughboy’ / ’Off to Dublin in the Green’ (Dominic Behan) Performed by The Dubliners Oh, I am a merry ploughboy and I plough the fields all day Till a sudden thought came to my head, that I should roam away For I’m sick and tired of slavery since the day that I was born […]

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#OTD in 1981 – The Fureys reach no. 14 in the UK charts with When You Were Sweet Sixteen.

‘When You Were Sweet Sixteen’ (James Thornton) When first I saw the love light in your eye I dreamt the world held naught but joy for me And even though we drifted far apart I never dream, but what I dream of thee I love you as I never loved before Since first I met […]

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#OTD in 1945 – Birth of Van Morrison “Van the Man” in Belfast.

The Belfast Cowboy first achieved fame with a tight R&B band Them with whom he recorded Gloria, a song that still as fresh today as in 1964. A strong claim could be made that Van Morrison is the finest composer ever produced by the Emerald Isle. His body of work ranges from glorious pop like […]

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#OTD in 1848 – Francis O’Neill, The Police Chief Who Saved Irish Music is born near Bantry, Co Cork.

Francis O’Neill, the Police Chief who saved Irish Music is born in Co Cork. After emigrating to the United States, he joined the Chicago police force in 1873, eventually serving as Chief of Police from 1901-1905. Chief O’Neill had a strong interest in Irish music from his childhood, an Irish music and tradition that was […]

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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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