New Album – On The Road

Dear Listeners,

The new double CD  “On The Road”  was released in November and features new live recordings of my most popular tracks. We have chosen 24 tracks from 17 different venues recorded over the past 3 years.

We have also added new dates around Ireland and UK in the coming months.

“On The Road” will be available in record shops and  at all gigs .

Order a copy by clicking HERE.

All the best,


Where I Come From

I come from The Bog of Allen, beneath the seat of the ancient King,

Listen for the distant Corncrake, hear the Lark and the Curlew sing,

Where the heather and the moss grow, and the turf lies row after row,

Out there in the sun to dry, breathe it in as I walk on by,

Where the kids and the dogs all muck in to gather,

Bringing home the turf, no matter what the weather.

I’m a bogman, deep down, it’s where I come from

I was walking along the seashore, in a distant land,

Dreaming of Barronstown, Bridie, Frank and Nan,

I put the saddle on the pony in the corner field, and cantered down the lane,

I was heading for the yellow bog, Sonny was on the slane,

He was cutting deep into the turf, he was pegging it on up high,

Neddy was catching  on the bank as Gary was spread it out to dry,

Footing it, they’re cutting it, they’re clamping it together,

Bringing home the turf no matter what the weather


When they heard the Milltown bell  the turfmen paused to pray,

Bridie’s coming down the meadow with the billy-cans of tea,

Nanny’s got the basket on her arm to feed them hungry men,

The Dowling girls are on the bog in the heat of the midday sun,

I’m dreaming, dreaming, of the jet black loam,

The roots of the long haul journey men kept calling me back home,

From way out west in Canada, from deep down in Geelong,

To the yellow bog in Allenwood, the place where I belong



Arthur’s Day

Christy Moore/Wally Page


Diageo Diageo have mounted a Crusade

Creating Arthur’s Day, they’ve suckered us into their charade

Start ’em off on Alco-Pops tastes just like lemonade

Get ’em into the hit while they’re young and none the wiser



Diageo pump the volume up on Arthur’s Day

With The Manic Street Preachers, Primal Scream, Tom Jones and David Gray

To flog their alcohol, they’re revving the youngsters up for a mighty spree

Twitter and Facebook telling them where The Mumford’s ‘r going to be



Happy Happy Happy Happy Arthur’s Day

It’s such…. a Happy Clappy Advertising’ Scheme

Drink sensibly they implore us, as their Hosannas sound a never-ending chorus

‘n kids get hooked on the fantasies that flash before us



Arthurs Alcoholiday is coming round again

He’s the patron saint of porter canonized by the Advertising’ Men

The medics in the ambulance ‘ll be working overtime,

The A&E ‘ll be like a drunk tank in the firing line

While Diageo goes AWOL at closing time

Lost Tribe of the Wicklow Mountains

Dave Lordan/Christy Moore


I believe in them so they do exist.

Way up in the Wicklow Mountains tis easier to hide than you think

Back in behind them waterfalls

Deep down in sunless crevices

In rhodedendroned foliage

On slopes of fluttering shadow and scree.

Nothing speaks of this tribe apart from these words.

They could be waifs running free from the lead mines

They could be orphans out of ballads and poems

They could be rebels who outran the redcoats

They could be ravers, they could be Wiccans

Who squat above in high ruins

Cavorting at thousand-day hooleys

Beneath great roofless halls

Turning to foxes at midnight

They plough through the motorway snow

To scavenge suburban dustbins

Down around Newtownmountkennedy

Down around Newtownmountkennedy

This Tribe has no patterns

Fits no description

Nothing about it translates

Apart from its existence

No reasons no thesis no customs no goals

The Tribe is my credo … that’s all

Strong is my faith, strong is my Beat

Strong is my magic, strong is my Want

And wanting I will rise, up alongside them

Spinning into the mist, ne’er to be seen again

High above Mullaghacleevaune


Some of our boys

To the hills they have gone away

More of them have been shot

And some are far out at sea


Michael Dwyer of the mountain

Has plenty of cause for his spleen

For the loss of his own

Loyal comrades who died on the green




In April 2013, we joined a great throng in Avondale, Co. Wicklow. “Save Our Forests” was a collective who sought, successfully, to prevent the proposed sell off of our national forests. In that beautiful vale, the Cork Poet, Dave Lordan, read this piece. Since then I have been trying to perform it. After three years of foostering, I felt it was time to sing or get off the pot … shine on Dave Lordan. The hanging baskets are still in bloom and there’s more than puddings in Clonakilty!

Green Grows the Laurel

Trad. Arr. With new words Christy Moore


There once was a captain who was borne far out to sea

Before he could get married he was sent far away


Across the boundless ocean far away upon the tide

His heart forever breaking for the loss of his bride


Green grows the laurel softly falls the dew

I’m sorry my true lover for ever parting from you


When he returned again to her father he did go

Is your daughter inside sir can I see her once more


My daughter is gone sir she left here last night

She has gone to some nunnery was the old mans reply


The captain rode on to the nunnery where he knocked upon the door

Down came the reverend mother and her tears they did flow


Your true love is gone sir she was taken last night

Gone to the asylum after losing her mind


The captain rode on to the asylum, arrived at first light

The story that they gave to him was that she died here last night


Let me in there cried the captain, let me in there the captain cried

Let me in there til I see her, til I stand by her side


Standing by her left side his sharp sword he drew

And he gave her great attention as he pierced his heart through


Sad was their misfortune sorrowful their fate

To see two loyal lovers lying together in one place




In 1967 John “Jacko” Reilly recorded a set of songs for Tom Munnelly. These were subsequently released by Topic records on John’s remarkable album “The Bonny Green Tree”. I heard him sing this song back in 1965 but did not hear it again until Helen Grehan performed it at a concert in Boyle in June 2014. That concert raised funds towards a memorial plaque to commemorate John’s life and time in Boyle. It can be seen on the Square, Boyle, Co. Roscommon. At that concert Helen’s rendition of this song stilled the night. In subsequent months, and with Helen’s encouragement, I began to engage with it. I added a verse, something I had done previously with John’s “Lord Baker” and “Raggle Taggle Gypsy”, and gradually fell under the spell of yet another one of John Reilly’s beautiful, ancient ballads.


Lightning, Bird, Wind, River Man

Declan O’Rourke


If I was a bolt of lightning I’d shoot right down and split the sky

My energy would burn so bright t’would illuminate the darkest night

Maybe I’ll come back as one, half a second I’ll be gone

I’ll zap the earth, light up the sea with a bolt of electricity


If I was a bird upon the wing the sweetest songs you’d hear me sing

I’d fill the air with secret words in a language no one’s ever heard

Round and round the tune would ring, the melody reverberating

Mesmerising and absurd, more like and angel than a bird


But today I don’t want to be anything else but myself

Today I’m a little bit of all these things

There’s a little bit of all these things in me

I’ve got them all in my hand

I’m a lightning, bird, wind, river man


If I was a gust of wind I’d blow around the world three times or so

I’d gather up a million leaves and make a sculpture on the breeze

So beautiful that god would want to know how it was made

Would offer me a handsome price to be the wind in paradise


If I was a river I would be a raging river wild and free

Across the waterfalls I’d flow and rush the rapids down below

So treacherous would be my wrath you would not want to cross my path

I’d run so fast into the sea the waves would be seen on Mercury




Declan O’Rourke was a revelation when he played before Planxty on our 2004 reunion gigs in Vicar St. Dublin. Since that time he has written many fine songs that have been covered the world over. Last year in West Clare we spotted a poster for Kenny’s Music Pub in Lahinch – Live Tonight Declan O’Rourke. We had a great night listening to him as he wove his tapestry of songs. When he sang this song I loved it straight away. The following morning I called him and he gave me the all clear. Long may his melodies reverberate.


The Ballad of Patrick Murphy

John Spillane


They lived beside the river at the turning of the tide

They lived beside the river, by the river they lived and they died


Patrick Murphy was a fisherman in the town of Passage West

With his wife and seven children he tended to his nets


In the year 1911 one moonlit night in May

With 3 companions Patrick rowed across to French’s Bay


They were fishing for a living like their fathers done before

Dreaming of the salmon all along the Mucán shore


They lived beside the river at the turning of the tide

They lived beside the river, by the river they lived and they died


Until the bailiffs boat came down the Lee, the dreaded Murricaune

They came down from Blackrock Castle with their revolvers drawn


The Murricaune were gangsters in the service of the crown

They murdered Patrick Murphy as he fished on the Mucán


In the year 2011 we gathered on the green

To remember Patrick Murphy in beautiful Toureen


For the people that remember that justice was not done

For the killing of Pat Murphy by a bullet from the bailiffs’ gun




This is my fifth time to record a John Spillane song. Sometimes we collaborate and we keep in touch along this job of journeywork. On 4th July 2015, I performed “Pat Murphy” at the Marquee in Cork. In the audience that night were Whacker and Frick Murphy, two of Patrick Murphy’s grandsons. They sailed up the River Lee from Passage West to attend the concert. Afterwards they shared stories of their Grandfathers life and times and we remembered how he had lived and died on the river. Then back aboard their boat for a moonlit voyage back to Passage West and a few pints before closing time.


Mick Blake


What will it take to make us angry, where is the spark to light our flame

We’ve been sold out, taken in, yet blindly

We’ll do it all again, fuel that gravy train …



They give all we treasure away for half nothing

Banish our children to labour on rich foreign shores

Prey on the weak, bow to the ones who have plenty

We follow them blindly again as we did before


We stick with The Tribe, we stand by our man

Whipped into line by this great master plan

Stuck in a spiral still fighting an old civil war

The Men and Women of 1916

Risked their lives for a National dream

One hundred years later, what was it all for

Hear their voices resounding, calling to me and to you

All they dreamt of and died for, squandered by scoundrels and fools,

Is this the best we can do?




I first heard Mick Blake at a concert in Vicar Street, Dublin in October 2014. He joined us that night to raise funds for the Middle East Children’s Alliance. Since then we have shared songs. Recently I heard “Oblivious” via the Rossport “Shell to Sea” album. I first sang this song in Ballina, Co, Mayo, where it received a mixed reception. A true modern-day bard, Mick writes and sings in the manner of the old ballad singers who sang their songs and sold their ballad sheets carrying news and alternative perspectives from town to town.






Peter Gabriel


Six by six from wall to wall

Shutters on the windows, no light at all

Damp on the floor, damp in your bed

They’re trying to drive you crazy get you out of your head

They feed you scraps they feed you lies

To lower your defences, no compromise

There’s nothing you can do, your days are long

Your mind is working overtime your body’s not that strong

Hold on, Hold on

They take you out the light burns your eyes

In the talking room there’s no surprise

Twisted questions clean white coats

Their eyes are as hidden as their Hippocratic oaths

They tell you to behave, behave as their guest

You try to resist them you do your best

They take you to the limit they take you beyond

No matter what they say to you there’s no way to respond

Hold on, Hold on, Hold on, Hold on

They put you in a box so you can’t be heard

May your spirit be unbroken may you not be deterred, Hold On.

You have gambled with your own night, you spend the night alone

While the builders of the cages sleep with bullets bars and stones

They can’t see the road to freedom you have built with flesh and bone


Though you may disappear

You’re not forgotten here

I will say to you

We will do what we can do




Across the years I have enjoyed singing songs from across the water. Heading to play Glastonbury in 2015 I sought to sing a local song. We worked hard to get “Wallflower” ready for the great event, but when the night arrived I flunked the challenge and reached for some hoary chestnut. Now I feel ready to sing this powerful song from Peter Gabriel.


Christy Moore/Wally Page


I crossed the River Liffey bridge and went on up the town

By Coffey’s clock twas plain to see how time was moving on

Past Neeson’s and John Johnson’s, Tommy Tougher’s and Keadeen

How’s it going said Paddy Dolan, game ball said Skinner Behan


The morning hooter called the workers to the factory line

To weave the bales of sisal into rope and binder twine

Beneath the weeping ash I heard Jack Lawlor’s anvil ring

Back down the town in Cummins’s heard John McCormack Sing


From Hawkfield and Kilbelin, Chinatown and Rosy’s Lane

Scattered round the world we dreamt of coming home again

From the Rocks of Sydney Harbour, the Bronx and Birmingham

To the Sandy Hills, the Seven Springs, The waters of the Fen


Walking down the Moorefield Road my father tellin me

Of the Corbally eviction back in 1953

The story of Clongorey, the hunger and despair

Gone but not forgotten in the history of Kildare


To stand upon the Gibbet Rath I walked along the Plains

By Donnelly’s Hollow heard the keening of the Curragh Wrens

Black & Tans in The Barracks as young rebels crossed the fields

From the back lanes and the boreens came Sheahans and O’Neills


Here comes Darky Prendergast and Mrs Charlie Weld

The Halfords and  The Edderys, the Brabazons and the Bells

The Owners and The Trainers, stallions and brood mares

Fillies, colts and yearlings on the gallops of Kildare


The Roo, The Goo and Gandy, every nickname brings a smile

Tell Fid, Conks and Corney I’ll be home in a little while

As the sun goes down behind the Town we’ll gather on the strand

Dance to Jimmy Dunny’s orchestra, Tom Wilmot’s Ceili band




I grew up in Co. Kildare between 1945 and 1963. Early images of Newbridge remain crystal clear in my mind. Since then it has expanded tenfold and is now a dormitory town to the nation’s capital. I have tried to write a song about a place that still exists, if only in my mind. It’s an old song that was written recently.


The Gardener

Paul Doran


The Gardener rises with the sun

He knows there’s work to be done

The reason for every season


He knows when to dig in deep

When to sow and when to reap

That everything begins in spring


He makes his bed with care

And sows his seed with love


The Gardener has a tale to tell

Feed the ground and water well

When planting out he’ll face the south


He is the patient one

Mother Nature’s loving son

The Robin is a friend of his


And when the day is done

He’ll smile and say … wait til summer comes


And Summer comes and then we’ll see just what he’s done

When blooms of every colour blossom in the sun

The signs of all his care and effort are displayed

And all his time and patience is repaid


The Gardener rises with the sun

He knows there’s work to be done

The reason for every season




Paul Doran performed with Moving Hearts at The Baggot Inn back in 1981. Later we wrote and recorded the theme song for the “Self Aid” gig of 1986. His song “Natives” was on the 1987 album “Unfinished Revolution”. Some years back he sent me “The Gardener”. I struggled to sing it until last years UK tour when it finally fell into place. A beautiful song to sing from this fine songsmith – Paul Doran – The Bard of Ballybrack.


The Tuam Beat

Pádraig Stevens


Once upon a golden age

Singin songs was all the rage

Songs for glory songs for fun

Sad songs in the Native Tongue


Upon my solemn oath

There’d be forty verses note for note

Here’s a song to set you free

From all of the auld history


The Tuam Beat goes Sugar Sugar

The heart speaks how’s your Mother

The Tuam Beat goes Shimmy Shammy

The heart speaks how’s your Mammy

Singin the song, singin the song, singin the same old song


Stall her sham you’re only spoofin

You’re huffin and you’re puffin, you’re blowin the roof in

I’ve got electric guitar

With the pickup and the tremolo bar


The workin workin workin man

Are you wide to Paddy Talty’s plan

Boys n Girls twist and shout

Have a bit of fun and dance about


Quarter to eleven off you go

Down the palace not too slow

Heaven’s all across the sky

I declare to god I must reply


The Tinker and the Pavee Sham

Fair play to the Travelling Man

His wheel broke he settled down

He brings beauty to the town




This is a joyful song to sing. Each verse is a story in itself. Jimmy Higgins tuned me into the songs of Pádraig Stevens. Both of them have worked with The Saw Doctors. Good Man Lads.

Mandolin Mountain

Tony Small


I go up on Mandolin Mountain

High on Melody Hill

High sweet harmony

Water at the well


As my life is passing through me

I’m mostly satisfied

Old songs keep calling me

Calling through the night


It was written in The Book of Life

Way back down the road

Love is for the patient one

The honest and the good


All along the Valley of The Boyne

On to Tara Hill

I know that it always was

I know that it always will




I first met Tony Small in 1969. Over the years we hooked up regularly. Tony knew the inside of songs. Listening to Mandolin Mountain in 2012 we did not realise that it would be his last recording. Each time I sing this song I sense that Tony is close by.



New Date Added …

Dear Listeners,

We’ve added a new date – George Bernard Shaw Theatre, Co Carlow, Saturday 2nd September 2017. Tickets on sale now & available from box office PH 059-9172400


or you can click HERE

Christy …

Blue of the Night – Lyric FM

Dear Listeners – I’ll be on Carl Corcoran’s “Blue of the Night” programme tonight (11th July) I’ll be chatting with Carl and playing a few songs. Programme starts at 10pm on Lyric FM (‎FM 96.7–99.6 – 95.2 northeast)

Click HERE for link …

Some new gigs …

Dear Listeners,

We have added a few new dates:

Arklow Bay Hotel
Fri 21 july 2017
Tkts from hotel reception ph 0402-32309
Beat that Records [ no phone ] & 24hr line – 0n sale Friday June 16th

Johnstown Estate, Enfield, Co. Meath

Fri September 1st 2017
Tkts from hotel reception Ph 046-9540000 &

Errigal Country House Hotel, Cootehill,Co. Cavan

Sat Sept 30th. Tickets available from: Hotel Reception – 049 555 6901,
Multisound, Cavan – 049 436 1312
McConnon’s Mace, Monaghan – 042 81961
Loughman’s, Castleblayney – 042 9740226
Stewart’s, Dungannon +44 28 8772 5286 and Ticketmaster


Great Northern Hotel, Bundoran Co. Donegal, Friday October 20th 2017
Doors 7pm Show 8pm – Unreserved Seating – No Interval No Support
Tickets Now on Sale:
Hotel Reception Phone 071 98 41204 & (Credit Card fees may apply)


Great National Hotel, Ballina Co. Mayo, Saturday October 21th 2017
Doors 7pm Show 8pm – Unreserved Seating – No Interval No Support
Tickets Now on Sale: Hotel Reception Phone 096 23600 & (Credit Card fees may apply)

All the best,


Home Sweet Home

Dear Listeners,

check out Inside #ApolloHouse tonight 10pm on TV3 #HomeSweetHome…/1

All the best,


Between the Jigs and the Reels …

Dear Listeners,

Just a reminder that a new Planxty retrospective “Between the Jigs and the Reels” is coming out this Friday, 28th October. Compiled and chosen by the band, the release comes complete with a bonus DVD featuring over two hours of previously unreleased performances from the RTÉ Archives.

You can pre-order by clicking HERE

All the best,



01 Mandolin Mountain 3:06
02 The Tuam Beat 3:09
03 The Gardener 3:48
04 Lily 4:35
05 Wallflower 3:45
06 Oblivious 3:16
07 Ballad of Patrick Murphy 3:44
08 Lightning, Bird, Wind, River Man 4:16
09 Green Grows The Laurel 4:16
10 Lost Tribe of The Wicklow Mountains 2:30

The old songs keep callin’ me …

Cashel July 1st 2016

I’m Playing tonight in Cashel, County Tipperary where I last gigged in 1976.

I wrote some verses here over the years. The opening line of “Derby Day” was gleaned when I stayed in the Cashel Palace Hotel. I was billeted there when playing the Siamsa Cois Laoí Festival in Cork back in the 1980s. This Palace was once the humble abode of The Bishop of Cashel…

“Bishop walked in circles inside the cloistered wall

Pondering in solitude on leather soles

Outside The Palace, down on bended knees

Johnny begged for whiskey beneath the Lilac trees”

Years later, on a visit to The Rock of Cashel, I met a man who spoke of Cricket still being played in Cloughjordan. This verse is from “Tyrone Boys” (aka The Other Side)

“Back Home there’s Cricket in Cloughjordan,

There’s the gentle clack of croquet on the lawn

While our children shackled by illegal status

Hold their heads down behind the Brooklyn Wall”

The SS Swift. Dublin – Holyhead, Tuesday July 26th 2016

Anuk visited the guestbook at recently, and asked about feelings of anger in singing and in song. Thinking back to my early days as a singer I don’t recall any feelings of anger. As a very young boy soprano I remember the excitement of going on stage (dressed in my confirmation suit) to sing “Kevin Barry” and “The Meeting of The Waters”. Back in 1958 my early stage experiences were fraught with nervousness and excitement, spiked with the high adrenalin of it all. I sang on through school choirs and concerts until 1962 when I had my first serious awakening to the emotional experience of singing. I was playing the part of Koko in the Gilbert &Sullivan operetta “The Mikado”. When I came to sing the song “Tit Willow” I was extremely nervous, but as soon as I launched into “on a Tree by a River a little Tom Tit sang Willow, Tit Willow, Tit Willow”, everything changed. There came stillness in the room and I was filled with my first experience of the power emanating from a gathering of intent listeners. Rock and Roll entered the picture around 1960 and I became aware of the excitement and sexual awakening that songs could propagate. Going see “Rock around The Clock”, “The Girl can’t Help it”, “Blackboard Jungle”, buying my first record (an Elvis 78” single copy of “Jailhouse Rock”) and learning to jive with Deirdre Murray. Then along came The Clancy Brothers who awoke yet another emotion in this young listener – A sense of pride in the Tradition hitherto gone unnoticed. I turned away from “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Hound dog” and began to boogie to “Brennan on The Moor”. This new awakening coincided with the discovering the pleasures of Drink and before long I had 3 chords in place and my Clancy repertoire was gathering momentum. Despite Rebel songs being part of that repertoire, anger had not yet entered the equation. In 1966 I hit the road and dedicated my life to singing songs. Hearing singers like Ewan McColl, Matt McGinn and Louis Killen pointed me towards songs that had contemporary relevance. Then on to Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Ian Campbell and many others – I began to see that songs could be effective in a way I had not previously realized.

My earliest recollection of being angry in the act of singing would go back to songs like “Take it Down from The Mast”, “Follow me Up to Carlow” and “James Connolly” (Paddy Galvin’s version). After Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972, anger could be found more often in my performances. I began to write and to cover songs that had anger in them. This probably peaked in the early to mid 80s when I was at times consumed by what was going on around me.

35 years on from that dark time and I’m still singing. The scope of the repertoire is broader now and singing brings on different emotions. “The Gardener” always takes me back to a young life – warm but lonesome feelings for a time and family long gone. “Wallflower” runs a film of mental torture and isolation that can disturb me in the singing. Anger pangs return with “Oblivious” as I am reminded of the utter cynicism that prevails in the corridors of power. One song that often brings anger pangs is “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll”. When it comes to Dylan’s description of the Courtroom scene my blood seldom fails to rise, but this soon recedes as the next song arises. One of my happiest songs is “The Reel in The Flickering Light”. For some reason it seldom flickers these days but I find similar sensations in “Lightning Bird” and “Tuam Beat”. My most lonesome song might be Dylan’s “Pity the Poor Immigrant”, mainly for personal memories of an uncle long since gone. I like the mayhem of “Lisdoonvarna” and “Delirium Tremens” and the beautiful sweet melancholy of Shane’s “Fairytale”, “Brown Eyes” and “Aisling”. His songs are so distinctive. There is poetry in those lines and Jem Finer’s melodies carry Shane’s songs out for us all to hear.

Of course John Reilly’s Traditional Songs have a hypnotic atmosphere around them. Something I can neither define nor explain. No one knows the precise origin of “Lord Baker”, “The Well below the Valley”, “What Put the Blood” or “Green Laurel”. John learned them from his Father. These songs were handed down across centuries in the traditional style. Variations and entirely different versions are to be found scattered around the world. Many years ago a series of 7 programmes devoted entirely to different versions of The Raggle Taggle Gypsy was broadcast (I think) on BBC Radio.

So there are tears and laughter, wrongdoing and forgiveness, lonesome exile, heartbreak, joy, love and anger all to be found in these verses… “Come all you Dreamers, we’ll wander where there’s Marble Stone as Black as Ink”

Nell’s Jazz Club London. July 27th 2016

Just back in my room after a lovely hot sweaty gig at Vince Power’s club here in London. I first played a gig for Vince back in 1986 when I played the opening night at The Mean Fiddler in Harlesden. Since then I’ve played gigs with him in London, Glasgow, New York, Kentish Town, Dublin and Tramore. It’s a good buzz to be working with him again. My Grandfather Jack Power came from the same county as Vince so we may be connected. Played the gig with Declan Sinnott and Jimmy Higgins. Here’s the set that emerged;

Go Move Shift

A Pair of Brown Eyes

Rory’s gone to play the Blues in Heaven

Missing You

Cry like a man

Where I Come From

City of Chicago

The Tuam Beat

Burning Times

Quinte Brigada

Butterfly (aka So Much Wine)

Delirium Tremens

Lightning Bird Wind River Man

Hiroshima Nagasaki


Ride On

Weekend in Amsterdam

Yellow Triangle


No Time for Love

North and South of the River

Magdalen Laundry (Joni Mitchell)

Ordinary Man

The Gardener


Nancy Spain

Joxer goes to Stuttgart



Sweet Thames Flow Softly

Fairytale of New York

2 hours 15 minutes

The audience were superb – they raised the roof betimes but also listened closely when we brought it down low. It was great being back in a club gig – everybody in real close and intimate, just like it always used to be – I once played to an audience of 4 in Scotland in 1967!

Then we drank strong Tea and chatted with Cerys Matthews about Music, Wales at The Euros, Tom Jones, Welsh Male Choirs, Bodhráns, great divides, nationalism, next year at the BBC World Service and Luton Football Club…

Then it was back to base … get ready for tomorrow night when we hope to do it all again, just one more time, with feeling. (Happy too that my old Companero Tony Rohr was in the audience….we go way back to the days of Fin McCool)

Remembering London in 1966.

I had a single bedsit in Gunnersbury on the District Line. My Landlord was from Wicklow. His wife was an RC demon. She knocked on my door a few Sunday Mornings and asked “Are you not going to Mass??” My rent was £4 a week and I struggled to make it.  I was doing bits of work here and there as I tried to get my toe in the door. First entered a Folk Club in The Scots Hoose run by a man called Bruce Dunnett, the singer booked that night was Annie Briggs. It was my first time to witness a Folk Club audience as they sat enraptured by Annie’s a Capella singing. I moved from Gunnersbury to Chiswick where my landlord was from Mayo. I shared a room there with my old Moorefield Rd. buddy Pat McGowan. We grew up together in Kildare but in London we drifted apart. We rekindled our friendship 30 years later shortly before Pat died. I think of him often.

Nell’s London Night 2 – July 28th

Back in the room after show… nothing on the box, don’t feel like reading, got a feckin big burst blister on the saddle of my right hand. It all went astray an hour into the set and there was skin flying. We did some running repairs and the gig continued. It was a great night – sweet notes from my right, solid rhythm to my left and a roomful of chanters in front of me. What more could a singer ask for… we played;

Yellow Triangle

After The Deluge

City of Chicago

Pity the Poor Immigrant

Missing You

Black is The Colour

Honda 50


Where I Come From


Go Move Shift

Smoke and Whiskey

Stitch in Time

Nancy Spain

The Tuam Beat

Metropolitan Avenue

The Well below the Valley

A Pair of Brown Eyes

Tyrone Boys


On The Mainland

Back in Derry

Van Diemen’s Land

Ride On

Quinte Brigada

Ordinary Man


The Time has Come


2 hours and 10 minutes

Writing out the set list after a gig in London is a far cry from the carousing of earlier decades – flying around Town half the night seeking the lock-in, chasing capers in the darkest of corners, looking for wild reels, slow airs and good company. The White Hart in Fulham Broadway, The Balloon  in Chelsea, The Irish Club in Eaton Square, Gerry Fitt, Lord Longford and Christine Keeler, Steeleye Span rehearsals, sleeping soundly in Donal Lunny’s bath, The Sense of Ireland Festival in 1979, The Albert Hall, The Brixton Academy, Donal McCann, out to The Fairfield Hall in Croydon with Ciaran Bourke, Brandy & Creme de Menthe with Joe Burke in Slough, Large Bottles with Martin Byrnes in The College in Harlesden, Margaret Barry, Michael Gorman, the beautiful music of Michael Dwyer, his brothers Finbar and Richie, Raymond and Rose Roland, Liam and Margaret Farrell, Johnny Bowe and a very young Kevin Burke just testing the waters, Dominic and Josephine Behan out in Middlesex, Bacardi and cigars, sick heads and promises (all fulfilled)  Eamon McCann and The Irish Militant, the first N.I. Civil Rights Concert in Shepherd’s Bush, forever waking up in Richmond at the end of the District  Line, always on the last train…

But I am very content here tonight, writing the set list with all those memories far, far behind me…All that is long gone, well done and very over… Now I must turn my attention to Cambridge Folk festival on Saturday Night.

This year will be my 7th time to play Cambridge Festival. Previous visits were 1973, 1974, 1984,1988,1993,2005 and 2016… 1973 & 74 with Planxty. I did three solo gigs in the 80s and 90s, played with Declan Sinnott in 2005 and now back to Cherry Hinton one more time with Declan Sinnott, Jimmy Higgins and Seamie O’Dowd. I’m looking forward to getting back out there in front of The Cambridge Fusiliers

Remembering Cambridge Festival 1973.

The first time I played Cambridge Festival was with Planxty. What I remember most is drinking Carlsberg Specials with Bert Jansch as we both struggled to make conversation. That special brew was lethal when caution was thrown to the wind. We were joined on stage by Alan Stivell’s Fiddle player Rene Werner. Later on I sat around a camp fire as Diz Dizley sparked the night with Django Reinhart riffs

Cambridge July 30th 2016

It was akin to playing in a gigantic Folk Club – 8,000 listeners standing in a huge Marquee. they were a perfect audience who listened carefully, sang beautifully and created an uplifting atmosphere for us to draw in. Our crew played a blinder – they had but 20 minutes to set the stage after The Afro Celt Fusion set. Without a sound check we took our positions to find everything in order. John Meade, Dikon Whitehead, David Meade, Geoff Ryan, Michael Devine and Paddy Doherty, alongside the Cambridge Stage Crew, had prepared the way carefully and we soon were on our way….

We played;

City of Chicago

How Long

After The Deluge

Burning Times

Go Move Shift

The Tuam Beat

Ride On

Quinte Brigada

Shine On You Crazy Diamond


Brown Eyes

Morecambe Bay

Yellow Triangle

Missing You

Stitch in Time


Ordinary Man


Nancy Spain

Not the precise running order – 1hour 20 minutes…

The concert was filmed and some of it may feature soon on Sky Arts. Click HERE for a review of the festival …

That’s it for now Listeners. Going to send this off and head away for a few weeks family time. Myself, The Band and The Crew are all heading in different directions. We plan to reconvene back in County Donegal at the end of the month. I’ll finish off with some additional notes for the recent Album release.

Thanks for listening and keep in touch


For many years I have sought to write a song about Newbridge. Most people have a life-long connection with their place of origin. As I get older those memories of early times seem to glow ever brighter. I must have written 50 verses in recent years about my native place but finally condensed it into Lily of The Shortgrass. As often before, I then sent the lyric across the river to Wally Page who came up with a sympatico melody that carries the words out on the air. I’m happy to have old friends and neighbours mentioned in the song. Regretfully there are hundreds left out. The Town I sing of here exists only in the memory of a few. Most of the sights and sounds have long since disappeared but some of the people mentioned are still to the good. Pat Eddery passed shortly before I recorded it. I remember him as a small boy back when his Father, Jimmy Eddery, was a leading jockey. His Mother came from The Moylan Family who were also deeply involved in the Horses. We measured our days by the sound of factory hooters. Every week lorry loads of Indian Sisal would arrive at The Ropes factory. Jack Lawlors anvil reverberated up the Moorefield Road and I knew all his family. Neesons was our local pub, behind it ran Rosy’s Lane called after Rosy Murphy who stood at Neesons Corner morning, noon and night. Darky (PJ) Prendergast was the leading Flat Trainer in the 60s winning many classics. His home was “Keadeen”, now a fine Hotel and leisure centre. Darky had the first TV in Newbridge. I went to National School with Tommy Tougher who went on to become one of the leading businessmen in Newbridge. I often cycled through Hawkfield on my way to visit my Fathers people in Barronstown. Tom (The Rubber) Keogh still lives there.

Green Grows The Laurel (aka The Captain)
Another song from the repertoire of John Reilly. It is featured on his 1974 album “The Bonny Green Tree”. I had not heard it for about 25 years until Helen Grehan sang it at John’s Memorial Concert in Boyle two summers back. She stilled the night with her version. Later, and with Helen’s encouragement, I sought to inhabit John’s old song. Whatever it is about John Reilly’s songs they seem to be imbued with a lonesome emotion that emerges almost every time his songs are sung. Previously I have sung  “The Raggle Taggle Gypsy” “The Well Below The Valley”  “Lord Baker” “What Put The Blood” and “Tippin it Up” from John’s repertoire and there may be a few more to come yet. He was a quiet gentle man who loved a pint and a woodbine. He sometimes seemed perplexed (but appreciative) by the interest shown in his singing. He was never sure how to respond to this attention but always did so with humility and warm gratitude. John endured a hard life. We were all shocked to learn that was still in his 40s for we considered him to be an older man. I should also mention that it was through Mrs. Bridie Grehan and her daughters Francie, Marie and Helen that we got to hear the songs of John Reilly. I spent a lovely day with Lynched singing this song (and others). Hope we get to sing it again.

The Tuam Beat
I was touring the UK in the 90s with Eleanor Shanley and her band. That’s when I first met the percussionist Jimmy Higgins. 20 years later and he is playing on this album. Jimmy introduced me to the songs of Pádraig Stevens and I was smitten by The Tuam Beat. The verses almost appear to be random but for me, there is a narrative that carries me along each time I sing it. I won’t burden you with my interpretation lest it might interfere with yours. I finally got to meet Pádraig when we both sang at a Memorial Concert to Tony Small in The Town Hall Galway in 2014. More recently he came to a concert in Athlone where we played his song to him.  When introduced to the audience he received a great welcome for they too had enjoyed The Tuam Beat.

Mandolin Mountain
There exists a genre of dream-songs in our tradition known as Aislings. When I first heard Tony Small sing this song it sounded to me like an Aisling of his life in four short verses.  From Finsbury to Berlin, back to Dingle then on to Tuam, Tony carries us on a journey where we encounter old time singers and listen to their songs… On and on he travels forever seeking Mandolin Mountain.
I first met Tony in a Folk Club in London back in 1969.We remained in touch until his untimely death in 2014. His voice and songs remain with all of us who were blessed to have known him.

The Ballad singers are still at work. All over Ireland men and women are writing and singing songs even as we speak. There are more songwriters here now then at any time in our History. Mick Blake is one such. He wrote and recorded this song in Leitrim Village. I first met him when we sang together at a concert in aid of Middle East Children’s Alliance during the last assault on Gaza. Mick is currently working towards his own first album. His work can be heard on YouTube where he has posted a number of home made videos of his songs. We recently sang together at a 1916 Commemoration concert in Liberty Hall. That performance will soon be released by SIPTU who hosted the concert in the presence Of President Michael D. and Sabina Higgins. Mick permitted me to record a version of his song. His original version has an additional verse;

“Imagine a country where people are free not slaves to a Gombeen economy
sold into bondage that ill fated September night.
No smooth talkin sleeveens to spin and pretend
where a promise is not just the means to an end
where Justice is not just what’s legal but also what’s right.
But the Man from Islandeady echoes the cries of the clown
as he preys on the sick and the needy
to soften the Ice maidens frown

I do not know Peter Gabriel but I have long admired his work. Declan Sinnott suggested this song and I spent long hours getting to know it. Learning certain songs can be a labour of love. Sometimes my work process can be very slow. It is often made possible by Declan’s patient guidance. I struggle with chords and accompaniments but latterly it has become a struggle that I relish. The opening line of Wallflower brings me straight to that place where none of us want to be. I have yet to understand certain lines in “Wallflower” but time will reveal more. Repeated gigging often reveals hidden meaning within songs. (Meanings the author may not have intended) As life and events unfold songs can take on different nuances. Sometimes a song can fall from the list only to return years later imbued with new significance.

The Lost Tribe of the Wicklow Mountains
Dave Lordan’s poem has been the most difficult to nail. We laid down 4 different versions before settling on this. Also spent some happy times with Moxie, but or schedules prevented us from getting it finished. Hope I get to play with the bowsies again – they are a great Band.

I first heard Dave perform this in Avondale, Co Wicklow at a “Save Our Trees” gathering. I was straight onto him and he gave me the nod and his blessing to play around with it. I feel this piece may still have a way to go and I hope to have another cut at it. The lilt before is from “The Dingle Regatta”, the verse after is from “Dunlavin Green”
“Bad luck to you Saunders their lives you sold away.
You said a Parade would be held on that very day.
Such grief and such sorrow in one place was ne’er before seen.
As when the blood ran in streams down the Dykes of Dunlavin Green”

Lightning Bird Wind River Man
Declan O’Rourke has the gift of song. I first met him when he opened for Planxty back 2004. Then we happened upon his gig in Kenny’s of Lahinch, County Clare two summer’s ago. When he sang this song I got the shiver – always a good sign. The imagery, the audacity, the beauty, the tune – its all here. I hear a song like this and I give thanks for the wonderful and powerful tradition of song and music on this Island. Such an amalgam of styles and genres. From the songs of Joe Heaney, The Clancys, The Dubliners, Margaret Barry on to John Spillane, Eleanor McEvoy, Jimmy McCarthy, Luka Bloom, and on again to Declan O’Rourke, Soak, Damien Dempsey and the hundreds of other songsmiths working around The Island this very day … Jinx Lennon, Paul Doran, Padraig Stevens … I could go on for a week!

The Ballad of Patrick Murphy
John Spillane was asked by the Family of Patrick Murphy to write a ballad for the centenary memorial on 2011.
The picture John painted caught my ear when he sang it for me.  I added a “turn” for the first verse and used it as a chorus, all with John’s blessing. I sang it at The Marquee in Cork last year for Patrick’s Grandsons who came to the concert. There were 4,000 people in The Marquee that night and together we remembered the life of the slain Fisherman. The bailiff who shot him was arrested. The trial was transferred to Dublin. The authorities feared the shooter might not get a fair trial in Cork. He was eventually found guilty of manslaughter and given a six month sentence – just like William Zanzinger.

The Gardener
30 years ago I recorded Paul Doran’s song “Natives”. He sent me “The Gardener” 10 years ago and it has taken me all these years to find my way into singing it. Paul has a distinctive style of delivering his songs that I find very difficult to absorb. With Declan’s help I finally found a way to sing this most beautiful of songs. I am reminded of so many of the old Gardeners in my family. On both sides of my family there were those who devoted their lives to “self-sufficiency” gardening. They would have had a few flowers here and there but their main concern was the growing of vegetables and fruit. I sang this song recently at the funeral of John Bowen in Ahakista on The Sheep’s Head. If ever a Gardener lived the lines of this song it was John Bowen, formerly of Rathoora on The Mizen, now at rest in Schull.


Click HERE for a review of the album in Fatea magazine.


Concert in aid of Dublin Rape Crisis Centre …

On Thursday September 8th at Vicar Street, Dublin we will perform a Concert in aid of Dublin Rape Crisis Centre whose funding has been cut substantially in recent years. The work of the Rape Crisis Centre has been severely compromised by these cutbacks. We fully support the essential service they provide. Every cent raised on ticket sales will go to support the RCC. Tickets are available HERE.

“Summer Comes and then we’ll see just what’s been done” – The Gardener -Paul Doran

Dear Listeners,

Stop Press!!! On Thursday September 8th at Vicar Street, Dublin we will perform a Concert in aid of Dublin Rape Crisis Centre whose funding has been cut substantially in recent years. The work of the Rape Crisis Centre has been severely compromised by these cutbacks. We fully support the essential service they provide. Every cent raised on ticket sales will go to support the RCC. Tickets are available HERE.

Another project completed, another basket of songs dispersed. It has been a joyful experience – gathering, learning, chording, arranging, rehearsing, recording, re-recording, mixing and mastering these 10 songs before releasing them to fly away upon the air. Declan was at my side most of the way. His encouragement, his suss and his beautiful playing are a constant source of inspiration. As I’ve said before, Declan is the only guitar player I know to have said “this song does not need a guitar break “

Thanks to the writers who shared their work with me and allowed me leeway when required. To those writers whom I’ve never met, I also express my gratitude. 9 of the 10 songs have been performed and “Lost Tribe” is almost ready to roll. I had to dig my heels in with title, artwork and packaging. Now it’s all there for you to see. Brian Maguire’s painting of Lilies hangs above me on the wall as I write this chat. Some of you may remember Brian’s “Death of an American hero” from the album “Burning Times” which was dedicated to the memory of Rachel Corrie.  Feedback for LILY has been positive in the main but there may still be naysayers lurking in the long grass – come out yiz feckers…

Many people maintain that reviews don’t matter to them, that they do not bother reading them. Not Me – I love to get a good review, it always gives me a buzz. I hate to get a bad review, but we gotta take the rough with the smooth. I still remember my first print review. It was in the Melody Maker back in 1969 and I still have it…

Last weekend at Croke Park Kildare played Wexford in the first round of the Leinster Championship. “Lily” was played over the Tannoy. What a moment that was. It reminded me of “Quinte Brigada” getting a spin at Parkhead a few years back. Myself and Michael Devine were in the stand and could not believe our ears!

For any of you who might be interested I’d like to share original versions of some of the songs on LILY as performed by those who wrote them;

My good friend Tony Small sent me Mandolin Mountain before he passed. I first met Tony in London back in 1969. A native of Galway, Tony devoted his life to singing, playing and writing. Click HERE for his version of Mandolin Mountain

I first met Declan O’Rourke when he performed with Planxty in Vicar St Dublin back in 2004. Click HERE for clip

Dave Lordan is a poet and activist whom I love to meet and hear. Click HERE for clip

Mick Blake, a teacher in County Leitrim, is writing some vital songs. I first met him on the net and since then we have performed together a number of times. Click HERE for clip.

Padraig Stevens has been at the hearth of Music in Tuam Co Galway for many years. Jimmy Higgins introduced me to his work. Click HERE for clip.

Here is the debut performance of Johnny Spillane’s memorial to the murdered Fisherman Patrick Murphy of Passage West, County Cork. Click HERE for clip.

I have never met Peter Gabriel but have long since admired his work. Click HERE for clip.

Click HERE for a new clip from Lynched. I had a lovely day with them some time back. We played “Green Grows the Laurel” together. I hope to perform with them at some time in the future – diaries and weather permitting….

Click HERE for a clip of John Reilly singing “True Lovers”, from the album “Bonny Green Tree” which also features “The Captain” AKA “Green Grows the Laurel”.

I had some fun with Moxie as we sought to uncover “The Lost Tribe of The Wicklow Mountains” and hope to perform it with them in the future. Click HERE and HERE for a couple of recent clips from Moxie – as fine a bunch of bowsies as a gunt could hope to meet.

RTE transmitted “Journey” over two nights last month. Filmed by Mark McLoughlin and his crew over a 5 month period it has been very well received (in the main). I viewed it carefully a fortnight before transmission. I feel privileged that the work of 50 years received such a documentation on RTE. ( Ireland’s National Broadcasting Station ).That so many of the songs were re-visited, that people associated with the songs were remembered  gave me great satisfaction. Mark McLoughlin dealt sensitively with whole project and I wish him and his colleagues’ success in all their future endeavours.

Getting ready now to return to work. All the songs from LILY are now ready for live performance. I’m looking forward to a whole host of new venues when we return to work. Glenamaddy, Connemara, Carrick-on-Suir, Cashel, Westport, Sligo and Ballinasloe all coming up soon. Then we have Killarney Festival and Cambridge Festival to savour as well as Bantry and two small club dates in London.

After that it’s an Ulster Tour in September and then back over to England and Wales in October.

We have our boots polished and trousers pressed. Points and plugs in order, brakes and tyre pressure all checked…we are read to Shimmy-Shammy once again.

See you along the way…


PS….all the above gigs are on the gig page here and LILY will be available at all upcoming gigs



Lily – Out Today!

Dear Listeners –
Just a little reminder that my new album “LILY” is out today and is now available from my website  …
Also – I will be singing a few songs on the Late Late show tonight, 20th May on RTE 1 from 9.35 pm.
All the best,

New Album – Lily – Out Friday …

Greetings Listeners,

The new album “Lily” will be released on Friday, 20th May on the Colombia label by Sony Music.

I have assembled 10 songs over the past few years and gathered them into this new collection.

I rehearsed, arranged, recorded and mixed them with Declan Sinnott, Jimmy Higgins, Séamie O’Dowd, Mairtín O’ Connor, Cathal Hayden, Vickie Keating and Andy Moore.

It has been a labour of love for us. I hope that you will find something that appeals to you.

It will be available from my website from this Friday.

Thanks for listening,


PS … I will be singing some songs from LILY on the Late Late show this Friday (20th May) on RTE1 at 9.30 pm

New Album – Lily

Dear Listeners,
We are about to release a new basket of songs – simply titled “Lily”, this collection has been a joy to record. We worked at different locations over the past 2 years and now it’s time to let it off upon the air.
Let us know what you think… we like your feedback. By the time Lily is released 9 of the 10 tracks will have been gigged. “Lily” will be in stores and on sale on this website from 20th May. You can pre-order the CD  by clicking HERE. You can also pre-order “Lily” on iTunes & Google Play by clicking HERE.

All the best,


Dear Listeners,

The documentary film “Journey” will be screened over 2 nights on RTE 1. Part One this coming Sunday April 10th at 9.30 pm and Part Two on Monday April 11th.

Filmed over 5 months by Mark McLoughlin “Journey” gets deep into the songs. Mark and I travelled back to the source and we encountered many people along the way who shared their insights and told their stories.

It was betimes an emotional journey but we got to share many happy moments too.

Click HERE for a clip …

I hope you will enjoy it.

All the best,




March 2016

October 14th

Yesterday I visited the Island of Inis Oírr. The day was perfect. The Atlantic was perfectly still and the Sun shone brightly as the ferry left Doolin pier. I last visited this Island in 1972 when Planxty played there. I remember that very clearly. This time the visit was part of the ongoing film project which is based on the songs. I was there to visit the memorial stone to all those taken by the sea and to sing “The Two Conneeleys”.I simply cannot find words to describe the experience. Hopefully when the film is transmitted next spring it will capture some of yesterday’s experience.

Back in The Royal Spa Lisdoonvarna to prepare for tonight’s gig here, which is also being filmed. I hope to sing quite a few songs that don’t feature very often in performance. Declan Sinnott and Jimmy Higgins will arrive in a few hours and we’ll get cracking on the songs. I hear the crew setting up down below in preparation. It’s an exciting process.

Just finished rehearsal and soundcheck. Now it’s an hour to gig time. Trying to get some new songs into the set tonight. The stage is tight. It’s a small room and it’s to be a 5 camera shoot. Hope the crowd won’t be intimidated by the presence of film crew – hope I won’t be intimidated either! I’m happy that the work is to be marked but it’s times like now that I wish it was just an ordinary gig…  Still the film crew are very laid back and focused and have not interfered with the gig so far. Fair play to them

Later…the gig was very good. Hope he gets some footage from what was a great night

October 17th

Last night played a Concert for the workers from The Clery’s Lockout. We organized it with Frank Connolly of SIPTU to show solidarity with the victims of the Lockout. As Mick Blake’s song says, just coz its legal don’t mean its right…

October 24th

We kicked off this UK tour in Buxton Opera House – A hidden gem of a venue in the Peak District of this great country. It’s great to be back among the neighbours who turned out in great style and numbers. I last played up around here in 1968 in various Folk Clubs scattered around the region

October 27th

After Buxton we rolled down from the Peaks until we landed on The Mersey and once more into The Philharmonic Hall where a mighty gaggle of songsters gathered for the songs and music

“There was lashings a drink and wine for the ladies, potatoes and cake there was bacon and tay”

Ian Prowse was there for “This Train” and the crowd loved him for it. Janice Long was there from the BeeB; always a great supporter and always a joy to meet. My longest standing listeners Margaret and Irene were there but, as always, did not wish to intrude so I never saw them.

“They were doing all kinds of nonsensical dances, all around in a whirligigig – Jimmy, Declan and I soon banished their nonsense, out on the floor for a reel and a jig”

After the gig we swooped high over The Pennines on our way to Tyneside arriving in at 2am with a free day to loiter by The Quay. Newcastle and Sunderland were hard at it so the town was empty. Being a long standing Blythe Spartan I had little interest but Michael, our TM, was devastated by the news from Roker (I’m old fashioned).

Last night we purred at the beautiful architecture of The Sage in Gateshead – One of the great venues of the world. 1,000 faithful listeners turned up on a Monday Night and surrendered their ears to the songs. Declan had a nose bleed during the gig but never missed a note. Spancilhill had a rare outing and went down a treat

After supper we galloped out the Scotswood Road, on out through Hexham astride Hadrian’s Wall, turning right at Carlisle we cantered on up to Glasgow where I pen these few words this lovely Autumn Morning

October 31st – Cairnryan Ferry Port.

Its 4 hours since we played the last song at Barrowland. It was a stunning gig for us. Perhaps my 10th time to play the old venue. This occasion surpassed all expectation. With the full house gone up a week in advance the room was rammed with loyal listeners. From the off we were all in the zone. Starting with “Come all you Dreamers” at 8.05 we wrapped it up 2 hours later with “Sonny’s Dream”. I have never before experienced audience participating to this degree. Almost every song in the 28 song set was harmonised, chorused and celebrated but great silence descended when required for the quieter songs. We sang for Paddy Hill and MoJo (Miscarriage of Justice Organisation) and all 2,000 voices joined in on “Scapegoats”. We played (not in this order)

Come all you dreamers


No Time for Love

Blackjack County Chains

Galtee Mountain Boy

Quinte Brigada

Quiet Desperation

Missing you

Ride On

Black is the Colour

Biko Drum

Lakes of Pontchartrain

Sleep out on The Beach

Billy Gray



Yellow Triangle

Smoke & Whiskey

Rory is gone

City of Chicago

Back Home in Derry

How Long

North & South

Biko Drum

Sonny’s Dream

Having been rewarded an encore we came back out and took our seats as the crowd chanted enthusiastically. After what seemed an age I attempted to sing “The Time Has Come”. I set off in the wrong key and approaching the high notes realized I was doomed. Stalling the digger I admitted my error to the audience, most of whom were singing the song with me.Their response was totally forgiving – They simply started their paradise chant again … Earlier, in the dressing room, I received a presentation from The Barrowlands Committee. It’s a new initiative to honour those who have contributed to the ongoing History of this great venue. The song myself and Wally Page wrote earned me this plaque.

We are on the ferry now and soon as the anchor is hauled we’ll be on our way to Belfast and then South to Dublin. Its 4am and the tour is done … Thank you all.

November 1st

Back again on home turf with my family. After 10 days on the move through hotel rooms, concert halls, soundchecks, rehearsals, cars, buses, vans ,trains and gigs (with the occasional Rogan Josh) it was pure joy to come through the front door and be greeted by loved ones. The first pot of calming brew is very settling as we catch up on household events and swap yarns from our time apart. Home Sweet Home. Blessed and Privileged to be a part.

November 7th

Here I am arais arís in The County Meath, home place of our dear Mother Nancy Power (1919-1992).She grew up on the Banks of The River Boyne near the Village of Yellow Furze. I was always attracted to the name of the place when Mammy spoke of her childhood days. I still have some cousins nearby in Stackallen. My grandfather Jack Power came from Hayestown and married Ellie Sheeran of The Cotton Mills circa 1916. I have always felt the Meath connection. My Godmother Maeve Laffan also came from Beauparc. She and Nancy remained close friends for all of their years and I could not have had a better Godmother. Whatever about her spiritual duties Maeve always welcomed me to her home and never forgot important dates. The card would always arrive with the red ten shilling note!

A good turn out in The Headfort Arms, Kells last night. I played here before in 2003 and 1981. I clearly recall the 1981 gig for it was during the Hunger Strike of that year. The gig was part of the Anti-Block campaign and the guest speakers Goretti McDonnell whose Husband Joe was soon to die on day 63 of his Hunger Strike. Many of last nights audience were not born back then, others among us will never forget those dark days.

Last night we introduced some new songs. Mandolin Mountain, Oblivious and The Tuam Beat are making their way into the set. We also played Scapegoats after its resounding outing in Glasgow last week. It feels like we are playing well, Jimmy Higgins has tightened us up with his rock solid percussion and Declan and I now have a more solid groove in which to rattle the auld ramalama and roll along with the boogaloo… you know yourself

November 12th

How often did we travel slowly through Newtownmountkennedy down the years? Before by-passes and Motorways were opened, the main road to the Sunny South-East wound its way through the main Street of this Wicklow Town. Having waited 70 years to play a gig in N T M K Y we were welcomed royally last to The Garden County. Never known to be a regular gig county, Wicklow has bucked that trend in recent months with 2 fine gigs…Kilruddery was a funky groove and tonight was perfect for a windy November Night as Abigale rattled the slates and we 3 did our best to stay in tune with the passing storm. New songs are slipping into the set as we prepare to record the next collection. We had a lively crowd in from near and far. Hilary came from The Kingdom, Lar was out from The Rock, and Adam came all the way from Arklow. The Curator of the Box Set (1964-2004) was also present in the room. His ears may have popped coming through “The Glen of The Downs” for he spoke later of hearing pedal steel during the set. The only time I ever sang to pedal steel was back in 1979.  Back then, Jimmy Faulkner and I were driving through Castleblayney when Jimmy remarked that Basil Hendrix, that legend on Pedal Steel, was living in the Monaghan town and had a studio there. I did a quick handbrake turn in the old Peugeot 404 diesel and before you could say Bo Diddley we were recording a song in Basil’s studio. It was all done, mixed and dusted  in 2 hours and featured subsequently on that rarest of recordings, the 1979 12”Anti-Nuclear album. (not too many possess that one!) After NY we tracked the Wicklow Mountains crossing many rivers til we rived into Maryboro where the whole process was to begin yet one more time.

November 25th

Martin Egan has passed from this life. He will be missed. I first met him when he followed Planxty to Innis Mór in 1972 (along with Mary Coughlan).A few years later we connected again in The Meeting Place, Dorset St, Dublin. We became friends. Martin was a very special man who endured many setbacks in life but laughter was never far from his lips. He wrote and sang songs and poems; he painted and also wrote plays. He ranted and railed against injustice but also calmed and soothed the oppressed and depressed. He was a wild man in his heyday and we rollicked together betimes. A great friend and comrade in later years when we both found a different path. He reached out to many and helped us with his compassion and wisdom. He never shied away from the hard ball, he’d pull on it and drive it straight back. There was never a dull moment in the company of Martin A. Egan. The world is a quieter and darker place since Martin’s flame went out.

December 4th

Here in Tullamore, County Offaly, reuniting with the Trad Outfit. Jim Higgins won’t be with us – he’s laid up for a few days but hopefully will be back in jig time.

December 8th

We played the final gig of 2015 in Galway last Saturday. 72 gigs this year and, to the best of my memory I enjoyed every one of them. I also spent many days filming with Mark McLoughlin for the forthcoming Documentary “Journey” which will be shown on RTE 1 next Spring. I also filmed a documentary with The High Hopes Choir directed by David Brophy that will be shown on RTE this month. I recorded “Quiet Desperation” and “Fairytale of New York” with the choir. This is for release anytime soon. I recorded a documentary for RTE Radio on the Life and songs of Ewan MacColl which is due for broadcast around Jan 1st. I was scheduled to commence recording the next album this week but this was postponed when Jimmy Higgins took ill. Thankfully he is now on the mend and making a full recovery. We will reschedule as soon as he is back behind the traps

December 28th

Thank you for all your good wishes and greeting over the Christmas and New Year. It has not been possible to reply to you all individually. I wish all songsters, linnets, 4711ers and friends all the best for 2016. Hopefully, we will be united in song… We will commence work on the next album in early January. If all goes according to plan it will be released in The Spring.

February 28th 2016.

Wishing all our Listeners a Happy New Year… I have been rehearsing, recording, and mixing the next basket of songs. Gigging has re commenced. I have just played 6 gigs with The Trad Outfit. We finished in The Opera House in Cork last Saturday night. I’ve not had time to chat these past months. This one may seem a bit erratic and disjointed, but what matter – judging from feedback, the chats are reaching decreasing numbers as social media develops onto other platforms, but I appreciate those of you who take the time to respond.

See you later.


PS … A little light reading …

Browsing the net I came across this article written by Bent Sorenson some years back. The subject of his study was an album called “Listen” which I recorded in 2008  – Thanks to Hilary Scanlon for pointing it out. I was intrigued to read such an analysis of my work. I labour long and hard (willingly and enjoyably) over these collections. To find such a searching and in depth study was both surprising and very rewarding. It’s a treat when people engage with the work like this. They reveal dimensions I never imagined. Click HERE to read the piece. Thank you Bent Sorenson, wherever you may be … should you read this, get in touch – it would be nice to say hello

On we go, heel to the toe…

Cambridge Folk Festival

Dear Listeners,

I’ll be playing the Cambridge Folk Festival in July …


click HERE to see the rest of the line up so far …

All the best,


Fundraiser for Richard Boyd Barrett’s election campaign…



Dear Listeners,

I will play a fundraiser gig for Richard Boyd Barrett’s election campaign on Tuesday 16th February at the Royal Marine Hotel Dun Laoghaire. The doors are at 7pm and the gig will start at 8pm.

Tickets are €25 and are available from today, Friday 29th January at the People Before Profit office 91 Lower Georges street Dun Laoghaire. The office is open Mon 10am to 1pm Thur/Fri 11am to 2pm. Contact Sara 086 068 5549. E mail …

Tickets are also available via paypal – click  HERE  to buy.

All the best,


Killarney Folkfest

I’ve just received confirmation that we’ll be playing the Killarney Folkfest next July. I heard great reports about this year’s event and look forward to playing “The Kingdom” with Mairtin O’Connor, Cathal Hayden, Seamie O’Dowd & Jimmy Higgins.

I include the press release below…

Following the huge success of the inaugural Folkfest Killarney, the INEC and Conor Byrne are very excited to announce that Christy Moore & The Máirtín O’Connor Band will be headlining the Saturday line-up next year!

Happening from July 8th to 10th 2016, this mighty weekend will be 3 days jam packed with the best of live music performances, from Ireland and beyond. Other Acts confirmed so far include Damien Dempsey, Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Maria Doyle Kennedy and the Mike McGoldrick Big Band.

For a limited run, Early Bird tickets will be available, and go on sale Friday morning. 3 day weekend tickets are only €79.00. You can also purchase early bird Saturday tickets for just €39. All tickets are available through Ticketmaster.

With more top drawer acts to be announced, this is an offer that you don’t want to miss!

It’s important to note that this is mainly a Stand up gig, with a limited amount of unreserved seating available. 

Click HERE for a link to the Folkfest Killarney website.

Martin Egan is at Peace

Beautiful, wild, caring, angry, abused, compassionate, lost and found, funny, poetic, singing, painting, carousing, crying, laughing, dear friend Martin.

“O the sides are going up on Knightley’s Trailer … Anticipatin’ work that’s yet to come”

“O the low road goes from Killorglin all the way to Annascaul”

“I bust me head off a gable wall at the end of a top shelf stagger”

From the Aran Islands to Dingle, from the Meeting Place to Madonna House … he was a great Comrade. He never shirked the hard ball…

Farewell Martin, We’ll not forget you.

Christy, Val and Family

Vigil for Ken Saro Wiwa & The Ogoni 9

To mark the 20th anniversary of the execution of Ken Saro Wiwa and the Ogoni 9 Afri is organising a vigil on Tuesday 10th November outside Shell Headquarters, 52 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2 at 6pm. “I may be dead but my ideas will not die” – Ken Saro Wiwa. All welcome.

Save Our Harbour Protest this coming Saturday …


Please consider supporting this protest against the proposed cruise ship berth in Dun Laoghaire Harbour. This coming Saturday (10th October) at 1pm at the Seafront End of the Peoples Park Dun Laoghaire. For more information about the proposal and Save Our Seafront click  HERE

The Foxy Devil …

The correct answer to our recent quiz is “The Foxy Devil”. I recorded this song on the 1978 album “The Iron Behind The Velvet”. It was written by the late Joe Dolan who was one of the founder members of Sweeney’s Men in the mid 60s. He also wrote “The Trip to Jerusalem”, another song on that album.

We had 6 correct answers which went into the Hat. The winner drawn was Patsy from Moate, a regular correspondent to the guestbook on the website. Two tickets on the way Patsy.

Best wishes to all our Listeners and Readers.

Greetings from Letterkenny, where I am preparing for this evenings concert.

Work has commenced on the next album.

Keep in touch…



PS The quiz was posted a week ago and was available to all our readers.

Marian Finucane Show

Dear Listeners … A quick note to let you know I’ll be on the Marian Finucane show on RTE 1 this coming Saturday 12th September.