Pecker Dunne dies, aged 80
Folk singer, storyteller and balladeer Patrick "Pecker" Dunne has died at the age of 80.
A member of the Traveller community, he came from a long line of musicians and was best-known known for his powerful singing voice. He was born in Castlebar, Co Mayo, in April 1932.
He played the five string banjo and travelled the length and breadth of Ireland playing his music. He was for many years a regular feature at Munster hurling finals, where he would busk to entertain the crowds before and after matches.
Through his lyrics in songs such as Tinkers Lullaby and Last of the Travelling People, Dunne played a major part in highlighting the discrimination and prejudice faced by the Traveller community in Irish society.
His greatest hit was O'Sullivans John which was recorded by the Dubliners and fellow folk artist Johnny McEvoy. Dunne also played a part with stars Richard Harris and Stephen Rea in Gilles MacKinnon's 1996 film Trojan Eddie.
News of Dunne’s death broke on Twitter last night when his friend Mannix Flynn posted “Pecker Dunne has passed away. Long live the Pecker Dunne”.
Artistic director of the Temple Bar Tradfestival Kieran Hanrahan paid tribute to Dunne in a statement today:
‘The Pecker mastered the art and craft of many an instrument, the mandolin, the fiddle and the banjo.”
“He was distinctively known for his most precious of gifts, his voice and what that voice could deliver. It was the envy of some of the world’s most renowned rock, pop, folk and traditional singers’.
His life was celebrated at a gala benefit night earlier this year organised by Mr Flynn at the Temple Bar Tradfest.