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The Dubliners

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Dublin, Ireland (1962 – 2012)

The Dubliners was an Irish folk band founded in Dublin, Ireland, in 1962. One of the most influential Irish acts of the 20th century, they celebrated 50 years together in 2012, making them Ireland’s longest surviving musical act. Also in 2012, the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards bestowed them with a Lifetime Achievement Award. The group announced their retirement in the autumn of 2012 following the death of founding member Barney McKenna (born 16 December 1939; died 5 April 2012). The surviving members of the group - with the exception of John Sheahan - continue touring under the name of “The Dublin Legends”.

The Dubliners started off in O’Donoghue’s pub in Dublin in 1962 under the name of “the Ronnie Drew Folk Group”. Then they were four, Ronnie Drew (vocals and guitar), Luke Kelly (vocals and 5-string banjo), Barney McKenna (tenor banjo, mandolin, melodeon and vocals) and Ciarán Bourke (vocals, guitar, tin whistle and harmonica). In 1963, they played at the Edinburgh festival where they met the head of Transatlantic Records, Nathan Joseph, for whom they started recording. In 1964, Luke Kelly left, and Bobby Lynch (vocals and guitar) and John Sheahan (fiddle, tin whistle, mandolin, concertina, guitar and vocals) were added. When Luke Kelly returned and Bobby Lynch left in 1965, we have what is considered as the original Dubliners, five individualists, five men whose talents were mixed together in a superb blend and just wanted to play and have a good craic. If they only knew what was awaiting them!

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