Thursday 18 December 2014

Ronnie Drew

Legendary folk musician Ronnie Drew will be buried tomorrow after losing his battle with cancer over the weekend.
As the founder of The Dubliners, Drew (bottom right) helped to popularise traditional Irish music in the 1960s and 1970s. The group was founded in 1962 and first became known for the gigs they played at O'Donoghue's pub on Merrion Row.
Drew, pictured here with fellow Dubliner Luke Kelly in 1979, had a reputation for hard living at the height of the band's fame.
Drew, pictured here with his wife Deidre, had two big hits in 1967 with Seven Drunken Nights and The Black Velvet Band.
Drew and the band continued to perform and they experienced a brief resurgence after the Pogues collaborated with them on their hit 'The Irish Rover' in the 1980s.
For many Irish musicians, Drew was a source of inspiration and his love of traditional folk music endeared him to the nation.
In the 1990s, Drew left the band and went solo performing with Christy Moore and the Pogues. In his later years he battled with ill health and was diagnosed with throat cancer.
Tragically, Drew's diagnosis came just weeks before he lost his wife who died last year. Friends say Drew, pictured here at her funeral with Bono, never got over losing the woman many credit with keeping the singer going during tough times.
Earlier this year his fellow musicians, led by Bono, paid tribute to him and his contribution to Irish music on The Late Late Show. A new song called 'The ballad of Ronnie Drew' was performed for the great man live on the show.
The song was aired simultaneously across Dublin radio stations in February. Those who performed included U2, Sinead O'Connor, members of the Corrs, members of The Dubliners, Christy Moore and the Pogues' Shane MacGowan. Drew passed away surrounded by his family on Saturday.