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Barney's way

• In the age of hollow fame, we must appreciate our real authentic musicians, and remember the fallen greats, like 'Banjo Barney'.

In decades past, the charismatic Barney McKenna along with the original Dubliners played in O'Donoghue's pub on Merrion Row.

At first, I'm sure the hallowed sounds of Luke and Ronnie's voices, and Barney's banjo, wafted through the then smoke-filled airs of the bar, while nattering patrons were unaware of their presence -- almost believing the music made itself.

The Dubliners' reputation grew and they filled venues across Ireland, England, and Europe -- but modern talent still goes unnoticed. How many pubs have you sat in while beautiful music played, and when it finished you didn't even know its makers' names.

I admire their success, but bands like One Direction are manufactured by businessmen to create hysteria and popularity, while the music comes last on the list.

The likes of The Dubliners started playing in O'Donoghue's for the love of music, not for the want of money, and the friends of Barney who played in the same bar after his death were doing likewise.

In that, and in the artistry of the Irish musician, is the essence of great music. There can be no glory in a beast known as the music 'industry', but there is glory in the industry of the musician.

Ireland has lost the great sound of Barney's banjo, as no banjo will ever be played the way he played it -- Barney's way.

Justin Kelly
Edenderry, Co Offaly

Irish Independent