McGowan and fans for Shinrone once again


Hundreds of fans from all over the country and from Britain are expected in Shinrone, Co Offaly on Saturday for a one-night performance by Shane McGowan and his band, The Popes.

McGowan is regarded as Ireland's best songwriter of the century, and Shinrone is regarded as his "home" venue as it is only a short distance from his native Tipperary.

People still remember his last performance in Shinrone, shortly before he wrote his famous Christmas song, Fairytale of New York. Then he was the lead singer with The Pogues and wrote many of their songs. Now he's playing a small number of venues in Ireland to promote his latest album, Crock of Gold.

Tom Stapelton, the Co Tipperary-based music lover and Post Office official who has organised the event, said yesterday that more than half the tickets have been sold.

He has brought many top acts from around the world to play in Shinrone Community Hall and is expecting a full house on Saturday.

He said McGowan used to be a minority interest - but he "has been embraced by young, middle-class people who seem to understand what he's saying".

Stapelton has an interesting history in the music business. He found that the only way he could get to see the world's best performers was to set up his own company - and then hire them to come in and play in the largest local venue he could find.

Over the years he has attracted some of the biggest names in music to the 1,000-seater Shinrone Community Hall - names like Arlo Guthrie, Nancy Griffith, the Waterboys and Chris Hillman from The Birds.