Dubliners at end of rocky road with Jools swansong
TRAD legends The Dubliners insist they'll honour a promise to late member Barney McKenna and call it a day at the end of the year.
The folk group, who celebrated their 50th anniversary this year, suffered a huge loss last April with the sudden death of the banjo player, who had helped form the band in 1962.
But fiddler John Sheahan, the only other original member, said he'd already agreed with Barney shortly before his death that The Dubliners should think about bowing out at the end of this year.
And Sheahan, who also acts as the band's manager, said he won't break his promise to his late pal.
It means the group's three Christmas concerts at Dublin's Vicar Street from December 28 to 30 will be their final live performances.
The veteran outfit will be seen for the last time on the BBC's ' Jools Holland's Hootenanny' on New Year's Eve – a performance which has already been recorded.
Sheahan confirmed he would bring the curtain down on the band's incredible career by the year's end.
He said: "There are times in life when things reach a natural finishing point.
"Barney and I had spoken about this and it was his feeling that we should take a break from touring at the end of the year."
Earlier this month in front of 3,000 fans in Hamburg, the band received a five-minute standing ovation before they'd even played a note.
The emotional gig marked their last ever concert in Germany, the country which is home to their largest number of fans.
Sheahan was speaking on a new TG4 programme on The Dubliners, 'Geantrai na Nollag', which airs tomorrow night.
The programme documents the band as they played a gig in Howth, Co Dublin, last month, in tribute to 72-year-old Barney.
Tony Mulcahy, the programme's producer, said: "They played the Abbey Tavern in Howth specifically for the programme. It was a nostalgic celebration of 50 years in music and a great way of remembering Barney, who lived in Howth."