The Dubliners

About The Dubliners

When it comes to the traditional music of Ireland, it doesn’t get much more foundational than The Dubliners, who were more or less the Rolling Stones of Irish folk. Formed in 1962 and named for both their home base and the James Joyce book, The Dubliners were fronted by singer/banjo player Luke Kelly and the rough-voiced guitarist Ronnie Drew. Mentored early on by the famed Irish songwriter/playwright Dominic Behan, The Dubliners released their first album, a self-titled live recording, in 1964. Their long string of Irish and UK hit singles started in 1966 and included “Nelson’s Farewell,” “Seven Drunken Nights,” “Black Velvet Band,” and many more. With their raw, rousing style, The Dubliners did more to popularize Irish folk songs across Europe and in the U.S. than just about anyone else. For a while, the Irish “rebel songs” in their repertoire got the group banned from the BBC. But in the ’80s, folk-punk heroes The Pogues (one of many Dubliners-influenced groups) joined them for the hits “The Irish Rover” and “Jack’s Heroes.” Kelly died in 1984, and Drew took a few extended hiatuses, rejoining for the final time in 2005 before passing away three years later. Multi-instrumentalist Barney McKenna was the last remaining original member when The Dubliners mounted a 50th-anniversary tour in 2012, though he died before its end, precipitating the band’s retirement later that year.

Dublin, Ireland
Celtic Folk
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