The Dubliners have been labelled as — "the entertainment sensation of 1970" — "Bawdy, bold, impossible to resist" — "The greatest folk act to come out of Ireland for 50 years", but perhaps the most accurate and honest description was Maurice Rosenbaum's of the London Daily Telegraph — "If ever a group made folk popular in the contemporary sense it is The Dubliners, who have had the widest possible success with the least concessions to commercial pressure". The Dubliners are five bearded and immensely talented young men, who have appeared in concert, cabaret, radio and television in pratically every major city in Europe, Australia and New Zealand and in Autumn 1969 made an extensive tour of Canada and the U. S. A. They have topped the British Hit Parades on numerous occasions and have been the biggest and most consistent album sellers in the folk world on this side of the Atlantic for several years.
The Dubliners are international artists whose appeal is the strong appeal of the happy Irishman.
Ronnie Drew was born in Dun Laoire and took up folk music at 19, after a career as a boy soprano. He tried many things before becoming a full-tune musician, including dishwashing and teaching English in Spain. He is, at 33, the eldest of The Dubliners, and is happily married.
Luke Kelly started to sing folksongs when he discovered they were not as square as he'd always been led to believe. Married to Diedre O'Connell who operates her own theatre in Dublin, he is interested in literature, Beethoven, violin concertos and, in his own words, "good stout".
Barney McKenna is considered to be one of the world's best banjoists, and at 12 years old was a prodigy on the instrument. He played the banjo at concerts and in cabarets before The Dubliners days. His ambition is to own a farm by the sea — he is a keen fisherman.
Ciarán Bourke speaks Irish at home, particularly with his daughter Ciara. The only member of the group with a university education, he quietly tries to live this down. He is proud of the huge granite fireplace in his home in the Dublin mountains, which he buflt himself.
John Sheahan has the distinction of being the only member of the group who drinks nothing stronger than Coca Cola. He studied the violin for five years, playing Irish traditional music in Ceili bands. He is a qualified draughtsman.