Trad legend's worries for Irish abroad
THE Dubliners are getting their biggest crowds in years on a sell-out European tour --but it's a bitter-sweet triumph because the band have seen their audiences swelled by young Irish who have taken the emigrant's boat.
"It's been a shock to see so many of our best young people now trying to make a fist of it away from home," says singer Patsy Watchorn. "We love to see them but you wonder how many have been forced to leave Ireland. And it's not just in Europe. John (Sheahan) used to organise tours in England once every two or three years. Now it's far more regular. Every place is sold out -- Newcastle, Birmingham, Manchester. The Irish have gone back there looking for work.
Patsy is currently "off the road" himself after getting a disc in his back removed.
"The lads have gone off to Germany without me, but hopefully I'll be back with them before the end of the month," he says. It's been our busiest year so far. The Dubliners are 50 years on the road in 2012, and it is solidly booked out."