While the world isn’t focused on folk music as a large part of the entertainment industry right now, it is still an extremely vivid part of Irish life and musical culture. And when in Ireland… do as the Irish do! So if you’re one with Irish roots, planning a visit or simply are interested in easy to like Irish music, The Dubliners are for you!
The Dubliners are one of the most famous Irish folk bands, founded in Dublin in 1962. With this style of Irish folk music just starting to make a comeback in pubs around Ireland, the Dubliners were able to pave the way for this new wave of Irish fold music, and in turn, they became somewhat of a standard for how Irish folk music should sound and they are still a major influence today.
The group originally consisted of four members, including front man Ronnie Drew with Luke Kelly, Ciaran Bourke and Barney McKenna. They were first known as the Ronnie Drew Folk Group, but when Drew didn’t like the name, Kelly suggested the name The Dubliners, after the James Joyce book. In 1964 however, Kelly left the group and was replaced by Bob Lynch, but only for a few years until Kelly decided to return. John Sheehan also joined the group at this time on the fiddle.
After a few years of playing through the streets of Dublin, they finally got their big break with the song “Seven Drunken Nights” in 1967. The song features a bit of Irish humor strung in with the classic folk style tune and verses, making it particularly interesting and enjoyable. The song soon became a No. 1 hit in Ireland and No. 7 on the British Charts.
In America, they made an appearance with this hit song on the Ed Sullivan Show; however, the Clancy Brothers are known to have been more popular in the states at that time.
But their legend lives on! The band remained together for a stunning 50 years , performing straight through until 2012, making them Ireland’s longest surviving musical act. While their retirement came with death of the last original member of the group, in August 2012, their profoundly lively music will live on in the heart of Ireland forever. Their influence in Irish music can still be heard in numerous groups existing today.
Check out some more of their greatest hits below!