The Dubliners at Nykøbing/Mors, Denmark
This is going to be a very personal report about a gig of The Dubliners
which was unusual in many respects.
The venue, situated in Nykøbing/Mors is in the Limfjord area that we like to
call our second home. Therefore we felt we should to be there for the
special occasion of the 50th anniversary of the group and bought tickets
with the number 1 and 2 in Fall 2011.
A lot has happened since then. I had the great luck to witness the unique
und unforgettable party of The Dubliners at the Royal Albert Hall. Then,
only a few weeks later the news spread about Barney passing away and a world
So we did the 1000 km ride up to Northern Denmark with quite double-edged
feelings: looking forward to a weekend off and the concert itself but how would that be without Barney just two weeks after he passed
At the very beginning John was leading the lineup onto stage: Barneys place
was empty. After a few sentences explaining the sad news John invited banjo
player and Barney’s student Gerry O’Connor on stage and they began to play
the introduction reels.
At first glance the setlist and tributes did not change so much compared to
London but where they did, the effects were overwhelming.
The most emotional situation came soon when they put in Barney on screen singing “Fiddlers Green” exactly at the place when he had always sung live and the group playing and singing along with him. When I closed my eyes it seemed like Barney was still around. Deepest respect to The Dubliners for that!
Later during the first half of the concert Gerry O’Connor reported about a
trip to Nashville,TN he and Barney had done last year and met Bluegrass
legend Earl Scruggs, who died just a week before Barney. Paying tribute to
this music Barney also loved and played so much Gerry and Eamonn did two
instrumental pieces, one Irish and “sounding Bluegrass” (Billy in the Low
Ground) and the other vice versa (The Moving Cloud).
During the second half especially John got high attention and warm applause
later when he performed the “Farewell to Harstad”. Due to the historic and
geographic closeness of the Limfjord region and Norway the atmosphere in the
hall was solemn and quiet while John and Eamonn paid tribute to the victims
of the terror attacks in Oslo and Uttøya last year.
More real emotional situations were to come as they put in Barney’s “I wish
I had someone to love me” on screen and still later when John invited
Padraig Drew on stage. Padraig was one of Barney’s personal assistants on
tours over the last years and has also been – like Gerry O’Connor - one of
his most talented banjo students. Completing the Céilí-band as John called
it he played the reel set (Cooley’s Reel, The Dawn, The Mullingar Races)
with the others. Another touching impression is to be reported about this,
as Padraig’s way of sitting and his finger technique in playing is so close
to his legendary and sadly missed teacher.
No question of course that the final piece “Molly Malone” was dedicated to
the late Barney McKenna.
Summing up the impressions of the evening we can report that the show DOES
go on and Barney is still a part of it – like all the other late founders of
And even the untouchable weather in Nothern Denmark payed its true tribute
to the emotions of the evening: it started raining heavily when we were going home after the
Barney McKenna will always stay in our hearts not only as a dedicated lover of animals but also as a shining example of how to cope with burdens that life may put upon you with a positive attitude full of humour and will to fight.
We had a strong impression that night that The Dubliners were decided to
fulfil that legacy. No words can express how much this is to be appreciated
Thank you John, Séan, Eamonn and Patsy plus Gerry, Padraig, Tom and Pat and
your team for doing this Denmark-Tour!
& pictures by Barbara & Peter