SINGER Damien Dempsey believes The Dubliners are having "a massive session in heaven".
The last original member of the band, Barney McKenna, passed away while having a cup of tea and a chat.
Today Dempsey paid tribute to the banjo player, saying he was a huge inspiration to him -- and paid tribute to his wit, intelligence and talent.
He said he expects there is a huge Dubliners session in heaven -- and the slagging would be "fierce".
Damien played with The Dubliners many times at their Vicar Street concerts.
"I had the huge privilege of performing with Barney on many occasions," Damien said. "He was such a deep and highly intelligent man who genuinely cared about what was going on in the world.
"I remember we were talking about Iraq and I could have been at a lecture by a professor in Trinity College, he was so informed and caring about it."
President Michael D Higgins said he counted the musician as a friend.
He said his influence on and generosity to other musicians was "immense". Barney's death yesterday means a 10-date Dubliners tour is now in doubt.