Saturday, 7 April 2012
Dubliners rare old days escaped me.
The death of Barney McKenna, the last surviving member of The Dubliners original line up, closes a chapter in folk history. I have always found that didly doodly music is a potion best taken in small doses but The Dubliners were different. For many of us the ethos of the band was best summed up by the haunting voice of Ronnie Drew singing "Dublin In The Rare Old Times". The Irish love a lament all right and perhaps, as someone has remarked to me, they have plenty to lament about. I first visited Dublin around the time that The Dubliners were forming. I was a seaman on one of Everard's "Yellow Perils" and having read JP Donleavy'sGinger Man I had high hopes of the town. I was to be disappointed. The Guinness flowed like the Liffey but in the four days spent in the port we failed to find any action or even a pub with a decent jukebox. I was shocked to find women with babies begging in the street and Ireland seemed to me to be a land of both grinding poverty and the grinding heel of the Catholic Church. I'm afraid that the rare old times rather passed me by. For all of that let's remember The Dubliners and the tradition of Irish radicalism with this grand number.