Clancy's gift will ensure his music lives on, mourners told


FOLK SINGER Liam Clancy had a special gift that enabled him to relate intimately with his audience and which will ensure his music will live on after him, mourners were told at prayer service last night as he lay in repose in Dungarvan, Co Waterford.

Fr Flor O’Callaghan recalled Liam’s ability to keep an audience enthralled throughout a performance.

“Needless to say, Liam will be missed by you all and by his friends and his many friends throughout the world,” Fr O’Callaghan told the late singer’s wife Kim, sons Eben, Donal, Seán and Andrew and daughters, Siobhán, Fiona and Áine.

“We are all saddened by his passing but we will be listening to his music for many years to come . . . He had a special gift to relate intimately with his audience – I remember seeing him with Tommy Makem and he enthralled from the first minute.”

Recalling how Liam and his brothers, Paddy and Tom, teamed up with Makem to take America by storm, Fr O’Callaghan reminded mourners how the Clancys at one time were outselling the Beatles and impressing folk legends such as Pete Seeger.

He recalled Bob Dylan’s description of Liam Clancy as the best ballad singer he had ever heard and reminded mourners that, before making it as a singer, Liam was acting on Broadway with Dirk Bogarde, Walter Matthau and Robert Redford.

Liam brought a great dignity to his work and never more so than in his last public performance last May when he struggled to perform a set before an audience in Dublin, said Fr O’Callaghan.

“Liam moved the audience to tears as he struggled to complete a 40-minute programme and he turned to poetry and recited Dylan Thomas’s Death Shall Have No Dominion.

“He knew that he was in close contact with his own impending death and yet he was able to communicate to his audience and express his fear in a way that was both dignified and beautiful.”

Among those who joined Liam’s family as he lay in repose at Kiely’s funeral home in Dungarvan last night were many friends from his native Carrick-on-Suir and from An Rinn, where he had lived for the past 30 years.

Cyclist Seán Kelly from Carrick-on-Suir attended to pay his respects; so did Liam’s good friend ballad singer Paddy Reilly, who had travelled back from Boston after hearing the news of his friend’s death.

“I came down to visit him about six weeks ago in Ring and he was going through a rough time – he had oxygen masks everywhere but he seemed to get better so it was a bit of shock to learn he had died – it’s a very sad occasion,” said Reilly.