[Personal message from Patsy to all his fans and friends]


 

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In Memory Of Ronnie Drew

Ronnie Drew passed away last Saturday, 16th August 2008. The media reaction is simply too huge to follow up here - but if you want to read all of the news bulletins, we recommend news services like Google News. Patsy just came home from his holidays, being informed on Saturday morning that it didn't look well. Within minutes of the news being official, newspapers, TV and radio were constantly on to Patsy inquiring statements and memories. The fellow Dubliners are experiencing the same. They all will be present at the funeral tomorrow morning where up to 6.000 people are expected.

We don't try to serve you the ultimate hommage and biography of Ronnie, but being lucky to always find an open ear with the man this website takes its name from, we asked Patsy for a few personal memories. Although not a member of The Dubliners before 2005, he goes back with Ronnie a long time. He remembers touring Germany with him him in the mid-Seventies when Ronnie just left The Dubliners, but his first memory dates back to around 1964 and it is still fresh on his mind:

I was playing with my first band at the small front bar of the Embankment, and The Dubliners were playing the main hall. I went to see their performance and sat front row and looked up to Ronnie and Luke in awe and admiration. These were my heroes, up close, and they played all the old stuff they did better than anyone else, The Twang Man, and, oh, just too many to list. Anyway, I was staring up all evening long and Ronnie was staring down rather bewildered. During the intermission, or it might have been at the end of the gig, I'm not so sure anymore, I overheard Ronnie talking to Mick McCarthy, the manager of the Embankment. 'What's this strange fella doing down there, staring up at me all the time, what's the matter with him, he's scaring me!' Mick chuckled and explained, 'Why Ronnie that's only Patsy Watchorn, he's playing the front bar!' and he introduced me. It all ended up in laughter and that's how we became friends - friends for well over 40 years. My prayers are with his family.

Ronnie's Heaven, by John Sheahan

Is it the way the old masters painted it --
Floating on a damp cloud
In the company of winged creatures
Listening to non-stop harp music?
I could paint you in,
But not your expectations:
"Would somebody for Christ's sake
Get me down from here and show me
The fountain of champagne -- I thought this
Was meant to be a celebration!"
I'll paint a different picture instead:
I see your spirit, freed at last
From earthly shackles,
Soaring to a new consciousness --
Communicating with Kavanagh
Without the encumbrance of words;
Without the embarrassment of being barred
From four Baggot Street pubs.
All is clear now.
Ulysses simpler than the Lord's Prayer,
Beckett no longer waiting for Godot,
And Joe O'Broin sidling over
With an impish grin:
"How'rya Ronnie, you brought me fame at last.
I heard Cliodhna and Phelim picked me poem
For the end of your mass,
But you needn't have hurried ...
There's no closing time up here --
Just one continuous holy hour"
Now Deirdre comes into focus,
Bridging a painful gap of fourteen months.
Unhindered by bodies,
Your spirits embrace and entwine
In a never-ending spiral of joy,
Leaving behind the three great imponderables
That tortured you:
'What is life?'; 'What is art?'
And 'Where the fuck is Barney?'!

Our pictures were taken at The Submarine Bar, 12th December 2005, Ronnie backstage with Eamonn and Patsy discussing some program changes in the second set, and Ronnie and Patsy performing.



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