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Last session for Barney

FRIENDS of Barney McKenna gathered to say their final farewell to the musician ahead of his funeral today.

Dozens turned up to O'Donoghue's pub on Merrion Row in the capital to toast the late banjo player.

Fans, including the sister of Luke Kelly, Betty Kelly, arrived at the Dubliners' favourite haunt, to raise a glass to Mr McKenna.

Betty has spoken of her early memories of the legend, who used to visit her family home in Whitehall with his mother.

"Mrs McKenna would always call him Bernard and was very proud when he bought her a half-ton of coal.

"And my mother used to speak about Luke making a show of the family with his mad red hair.

"Barney didn't have the same quick wit as Ronnie or Luke, but he would come around to telling a story in his own convoluted way. But he could talk about anything. He was a very intelligent and knowledgeable man. And women loved him."

Mr McKenna was to be laid to rest in Trim, Co Meath, following a funeral Mass at 12.30pm in St Patrick's Church today.

The last remaining original member of the Dubliners was to be buried at St Loman's Cemetery.