#OTD in 1967 – Black Velvet Band by Johnny Kelly and the Capitol showband reaches no. 1 in the Irish charts.

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#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 1966 – In 19th Century Dublin, Montgomery St was the largest red-light district in Europe.

At least 1,600 ladies conducted their business and the future King Edward VII lost his virginity there. This specialisation was immortalised in the song ‘Monto’ (Take Me Up To Monto) by the Dubliners, recorded on this date. Image | Elliot Place, Dublin, c 1930s

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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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#OTD in 2015 – Death of entertainer and folk musician, Jim McCann.

Jim McCann was an entertainer and folk musician. Although a solo artist for most of his career, McCann was a member of the folk group the Dubliners from 1974 until 1979. He rejoined the group in 2002 for their 40th anniversary album and last performed with them in 2012. It was on ‘The McCann Man’ […]

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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 1984 – Singer and musician, Luke Kelly, was laid to rest at Glasnevin Cemetery.

‘His legacy was putting his own stamp on a song such that it became the definitive version of a song for others to come along and emulate.’ –John Sheahan. The mass was celebrated by Fr Michael Cleary at the Church of the Holy Child in Whitehall and The Dubliners performed during the ceremony. Kelly’s brothers, […]

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#OTD in Irish History – 30 January:

1649 – King Charles I is beheaded for treason. He was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. When Richard Brandon, Executioner for the City of London refused involvement in the execution, emissaries were sent to Ireland, Scotland and Wales in search of a volunteer. There […]

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#OTD in 1984 – Death of Luke Kelly, lead vocalist and 5-string banjo member of the Dubliners.

Luke Kelly was a singer and folk musician from Dublin, most famous as a member of the band ‘The Dubliners’. Indeed, while Luke often sang of the poor, the oppressed, the worker, the lover or the rebel –the realities of his own life and upbringing enlivened and gave weight to his songs and the emotional […]

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#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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