Bob Dylan and Irish folksongs


Sir, – Gerard Smyth, in his Irishman’s Diary about Bob Dylan’s use of Irish folksongs and ballads (July 26th), says that to his knowledge Dylan never sang an Irish folksong at any of his public concerts here.

At the RDS in 1989, Dylan sang Eileen Aroon, a song which he got from Liam Clancy.

Sean Wilentz, in Bob Dylan in America, says that Dylan later lamented to Liam Clancy, who was present, that nobody even in Ireland seemed to know these songs any more (characteristically he did not announce it in advance).

In fact at least two members of the audience did recognise it, but lacked a means to make their appreciation known. I’m sure there were others. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 4.