Dubliners a capital group now 50 years


THE DUBLINERS chose the setting of their native city’s premier cathedral to celebrate their 50th anniversary last night.

The first of two shows at Christ Church Cathedral, which conclude tonight, was an occasion for celebration and reminiscences for this most storied of Irish folk bands.

It is a short distance as the crow flies from O’Donoghue’s in Merrion Row where the band first got together in 1962, but, as they reflected in the two sold-out shows, they have come a long way. Their concerts are the hottest tickets of this year’s Temple Bar Tradfest with fans coming from as far away as Australia for the event.

One American fan walked forlornly up and down the queue looking for a spare ticket only to be told by four German tourists they had come from Berlin and hadn’t any to give.

Of the six members of the band, only Barney Mac Kenna remains from the original incarnation. As he told the audience he was old enough to remember when music was everything and there was no distractions such as “Space Invaders and things like that”.

Singers Luke Kelly, Ciarán Bourke and Ronnie Drew have died in the meantime. The Dublin Minstrel was dedicated to Kelly, who died in 1984.

The Dubliners were joined on stage last night by the Dublin Gospel Choir for several songs including a rousing version of Dublin in the Rare Auld Times.

Tonight it will be the turn of singer-songwriter Declan O’Rourke.

Now in its seventh year, Tradfest concludes tomorrow night.