Den Helder, NL - 4 Oct 2008

Alive and kicking in Den Helder
Den Helder, Netherlands
4 October 2008

Being a Dubs fan usually is wonderful as you are going to meet a lot of wonderful people. I'm talking about the two folks who make this page possible: There is our own Ria, delivering a summary translation of an article about the lads' gig in Den Helder last October, as well as Henk van Kuijk, the original author, who not only gave us his kind permission to use his piece, but also sent along a couple of photographs. Since you all have met Ria through these pages before, let us ask Henk to tell us a few words about himself:

"I studied English literature and Theatre Science, besides performing as singer/guitarist for many years, with a Dutch, Irish and international programme. I saw the Dubliners for the first time and was delighted. I sang in Belfast, Downpatrick (in the troubled times), and two years ago in Killarney. I recently translated "The Island" by Paul Brady in Dutch, a splendid song."

[Begin Update 17 March 2009]

When Peter wrote to Henk Van Kuijk among the stuff he asked was this:
"Is Van Kuijk a popular name in the Netherlands? Colonel Parkers' (Elvis' manager) name actually was Van Kuijk."
Imagine how they loved it (Patsy and your webmaster are huge Elvis fans) when we received his answer:
"Thank you for your letter. I like the set-up of the article, with the photos nicely mixing! No, van Kuijk is not a common name. Yes, it seems that I am a faraway nephew of Colonel Parker, alias Dries van Kuijk. A director who spoke to him in Las Vegas told me that Dries said that every van Kuijk was family-related. Last week I was filmed for both provincial and national tv, for a documentary about the manager. I happen to sing some songs of Elvis, partly a bit in his voice. So they recorded me singing "Love me tender", sitting against a statue of love outside here in Julianadorp/Den Helder. The documentary will be first presented on 26 June 2009 in Breda, Netherlands, the city of birth of the manager, together with an exhibition about him"

[End Update 17 March 2009]

The full article was published in Dutch at and Ria wrote a summary aout of it for us:

Henk seems proud that impresario Blue Eagle Events, managed to get a topact group as The Dubliners to Den Helder, this town occupying the nothernmost point of the North-Holland peninsula. About 1200 fans, young and old, from all over the country and from Den Helder assembled in sports centre "Quelderduyn". 
It was striking that there were several men with beautiful beards in the audience! 

While the wind was howling around the place, people inside enjoyed every part of The Dubliners' very varied repertoire. Although they are not that young anymore, they keep on bringing new elements in their gigs. Henk van Kuijk says that for part of the audience in The Netherlands, songs as "The Rare Auld Times " and "I wish I had someone to love me" were rather new. The Dubliners were very inspiring and did not make things easy for themselves. Classics as "Paddy on the Railway", "Dirty Old Town" and "Whiskey in the Jar" were also greatly appreciated and the audience sang them along with enthusiasm. 69-year-old Barney regularly made the audience laugh and in the meantime also taught a little Irish lesson to people who were talking in the bar at the back of the venue: "Hey guys, sing and drink, don't talk". The jigs and reels were played with a smaller cast. John plays his fiddle and tinwhistle masterly.

At the end of the gig the audience gave our lads a long and standing ovation and was rewarded with two encores: "The Wild Rover" and "Molly Malone" . Everybody in the audience was singing and clapping.

The hall in this sports centre had been renewed recently and the quality of sound and light were perfectly suited for this kind of topact. It can contain a large audience and still has an atmosphere of intimacy because there were broad rows of seats.

From the reactions on Henk's article on the site, we learn that the entrance to the venue was difficult to find, which was especially annoying because of the bad weather circumstances. Some fans express their appreciation for the intimate atmosphere in the venue. Others would have preferred tables and chairs, so as to create a large and cosy Irish pub. But they all agree that The Dubliners' two-hour programme, with a break of half an hour, was in one word perfect! 

Article & photograph by Henk van Kuijk
Originally published at
Translation by Ria Voet
All photographs taken 4 October 2008

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