Entertainment Music

Monday 22 July 2019

One million tune in to Ronnie’s tribute show

Campbell, Andrea Corr,
John Sheehan, Bono, Patsy
Watchorn and Barney
McKenna on the show
MASSIVE DRAW: Eamon Campbell, Andrea Corr, John Sheehan, Bono, Patsy Watchorn and Barney McKenna on the show

Almost one million people tuned in to the Late Late Show tribute to legendary musician Ronnie Drew last Friday.

A staggering 941,000 tuned in at the peak of the programme, making it among the most-watched shows of the season.

The show saw a host of Ireland’s best musicians and singers stage a very special tribute to Ronnie, a founding member of the Dubliners and one of the greatest Irish musicians of all time.

And it included a musical tribute to the artist put together by some of the country’s top talent.


An average of 770,000 viewers tuned in to Friday night’s show overall with the show taking an average of 53pc of the total audience watching television at that time.

A spokesperson for RTE said the station was delighted with the response from the public and added that it was gratifying for everyone who got involved in the tribute.

“It turned out really, really well. Logistically it was a very large undertaking.

“We had one of the world’s biggest bands and Ireland’s top musicians all in studio.

“Even logistically to ensure that the song sounded as good as it possibly could, not just for the audience and viewers at home but for Ronnie who was sitting in the front row. But he was absolutely delighted with it,” added a spokesperson.

Special guests on the night included U2, Andrea Corr, The Dubliners, Sinead O’Connor, Shane MacGowan, Damien Dempsey and Kila. The artists all got together to perform the specially composed “Ballad of Ronnie Drew” which was written by Robert Hunter of the Grateful Dead with Bono, The Edge and Simon Carmody.

Bono described the song as a tribute to the man he saw as the “King of Ireland”.

The performance was the first time the song had aired on television. “The Ballad of Ronnie Drew” is now available as a digital download. It is set to be released as a CD single from Friday, February 29.

All profits from the release of the single will go to the Irish Cancer Society at the request of Ronnie Drew.

“Friday night’s Late Late Show saw an historical musical gathering is Studio 4, all there to honour one of our true living legends.

“Ronnie Drew has had a long association with The Late Late Show during his distinguished career, and it was great to bring such a warm tribute to such a large audience,” said host Pat Kenny.

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