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Memories of a bearded prophet who remained a real aul Dubliner



In December 1964, when I was 15 months old, The Dubliners recorded a live album at Cecil Sharp House in London, and at some point in the next few years my parents must have bought it, for it's the first record I can remember ever hearing.

The photograph on the cover was of a huddle of bearded prophets; they reminded me of Moses in a prayer-book a nun in school had shown me, but gruffer, dark-eyed, low-lidded, cool, like seamen come home from some forbidden adventure and sworn to fraternal secrecies. There were other records in the house -- Danny Doyle, The Clancy Brothers -- but nobody on their covers looked even remotely like a Dubliner. The handsomest of this pantheon was a young man called Ronnie Drew, who came, as did I, from Dun Laoghaire.