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The Story Behind That Photo

We recently shared the photo at the top of this post featuring some of the legendary figures of Irish music on a night out with Billy Connolly.

This was not a one-time event and everyone in the picture was a close friend. They got together each year for Billy’s birthday and this particular picture was taken in Phil Coulters house.

Shay himself has said on his Facebook page

it was a rare ‘oul time alright…Billy wasn’t drinking..neither was Christy…neither was Jim….neither was Ronnie…and on that night..neither was I…Ralph was supping a beer …and Paul and Phil were having a glass of wine… we stepped out onto the driveway of Coulter’s house to say our goodbyes…..Ronnie growled ..”Jaysus..if this was ten years ago…we’d all be bollixed”…

These 8 men have brought joy to millions over the years. We’ve put a brief sample of their talents below…

Jim McCann

Jim was born in 1944 and for most of his career was a solo artist. He was a member of The Dubliners for 5 years. He died in 2015. This might be the song he will be best remembered for.

Billy Connolly

Billy Connolly is of course Scottish but his links to Ireland are strong. He began his career as a folk singer with Gerry Rafferty in a band called The Humblebums. From there he went solo firstly as a comedic folk-singer and then as a pure comedian.

Billy is alleged to be the reason for this picture as it was taken on his birthday, an annual occasion for all these friends got together.

Christy Moore

Christy Moore is possibly even more famous than Billy Connolly in Ireland. A legendary songwriter and interpreter of other peoples songs. He was a member of Planxty and Moving Hearts. Christy is one of the powerhouses in making traditional music popular again.

He is also well know for his political beliefs both as a strong nationalist and voice for the dispossessed and less well-off.

Here is his interpretation of Natalie Merchant’s ‘Motherland’.

Ralph McTell

Ralph McTell was born in England and has been an influential figure on the UK folk music scene since the 1960s.

His two most famous compositions (Streets of London and From Clare to Here) are both influenced by Irish emigrants to England.

Paul Brady

Paul is regarded as one of the greatest Irish songwriters. He is responsible for some of the classics of the 70’s and 80’s including “Nothing But The Same Old Story” and “Crazy Dreams.”

He is also credited with saving the American classic “Lakes of Ponchatrain” from obscurity.

Ronnie Drew

The face of The Dubliners and one of the greatest and best known folk singers in Ireland. Along with The Chieftains and The Clancy Brothers they can safely be said to have made Irish folk popular in the world.

Shay Healy

Shay of course had had an incredible career; Eurovision winner, TV presenter, author and much more. Here’s an alternative version of “What’s Another Year” as saved on Shays own YouTube channel.

Phil Coulter

Phil Coulter is a master of many genre. He wrote Cliff Richards Eurovision-winning entry “Congratulations” (one story goes that he regards Royal Weddings as great occasions because of the royalties he earns), the Rugby Teams anthem “Irelands Call”, and folk classics such as “Scorn Not His Simplicity” and “The Town I Loved So Well”

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