1970-1974 — New Decade
Several more albums followed, including Revolution, Hometown and Double Dubliners, all on the EMI label, with whom they'd signed after their split with Major Minor. In 1972, The Dubliners embarked on a series of very successful tours in Belgium, Scandinavia and Germany.
That same year Luke Kelly played the part of King Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar. There he met Jim McCann for the first time who played the part of Peter. Later that year, the Dubliners appeared in Brendan Behan's play, Richard's Cork Leg, at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin and at the Royal Court Theatre, London. According to Ronnie, "a fellow called Alan Simpson—he's dead since you know—Allan had done Brendan Behan's first play but this play Brendan never finished. We were all there. Luke played 'Cronin' and I played 'the Hero'. Several actresses from the Abbey and some actors played in it too. Luke and I had a certain amount of experience of the stage. I had been in several plays when I was working with John Molloy. While I wouldn't regard myself as a Laurence Olivier, I at least had some experience." Unfortunately, it seems that Barney didn't fair as well as Ronnie and Luke. "Barney didn't have any experience as an actor," according to Ronnie. "He really wasn't able to deliver the lines, so Noel Pearson—he was our manager at the time and he was putting on the play—he hired this guy from Nigeria—a big very imposing guy and he played the part Barney was playing. To keep Barney in the play, Barney used follow him around saying, 'Yes boss.' 'That's right, boss.' It wasn't a great play but it was good fun. I really enjoyed it."
The Dubliners were touring England during 1974, and on April 5, while they were appearing in Eastbourne, tragedy struck. Ciarán Bourke was having severe headaches and had to leave the stage. He was taken to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a brain hemorrhage. He was then rushed to the Neurological Department of St. George's Hospital in London. Ciarán was determined to return to the group and rejoined them later in the year on the German tour. He should never have returned so quickly for during the tour he collapsed and had to be flown back to Dublin. This time he was left partially paralyzed and could no longer perform with the group. Ronnie and Ciarán had been particularly close and, in part because of these events, Ronnie chose to leave the group. "That year my children were growing up and I felt I was being away from home too long. We'd be away for a period of six weeks, then we'd be home for two and away for another six weeks." Ronnie continues, "I didn't want my family to be suffering for lack of contact. My children were growing up and I wanted to be there. So I decided I'd pack it up and do something on my own. So I packed up in June or July of 1974."
1975-1978 — Enter Jim McCann
Jim McCann was asked to join and in 1975 the group released Dubliners Now, followed by Parcel of Rogues in 1976, and 15 Years On and Live In Montreux in 1977, 15 Years On being a compilation album with tracks from the Ronnie and Ciarán years, as well several new Jim McCann cuts. The Jim McCann albums have a decidedly more mellow folk sound that I think is quite underrated. In 1978 Jim McCann decided return to his solo career. According to Ronnie, "I was in bad car accident in November 1978. I broke my hip and I was in the hospital. Jim McCann decided to leave the group. So John Sheahan asked me to come back to the group. I said, 'I might as well.' I've had a rest now and I'd had 4-4 ½ years at home and things were okay. So I joined the group again. I did the first gig in England on crutches."