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Sun Apr 15, 2012, 11:02 AM

The Irish Obituary Thread.

Not to be morbid here, but I'd like to acknowledge the lives and contributions, whether political, artistic, or otherwise, of those who have recently left us.

I'll start with Barney McKenna of the Dubliners.

From the Guardian:


Barney McKenna, who has died aged 72, was the last surviving founding member of the Irish folk group the Dubliners. While Ronnie Drew's gravelly voice gave the band its memorable vocal sound, it was McKenna's playing of the tenor banjo, coupled with John Sheahan's fiddle, that gave the Dubliners their original instrumental quality. In the process, McKenna redefined the role of the banjo in Irish traditional music. His distinctive playing can be heard on the Dubliners' two UK hit singles in 1967, Seven Drunken Nights and Black Velvet Band, as well as on group favourites such as The Wild Rover and McAlpine's Fusiliers. When the Pogues brought the Dubliners back to the vanguard of Irish music in 1987, their joint recording of The Irish Rover has his banjo well to the fore.

McKenna was born in Donnycarney, Co Dublin, and started to play the banjo because he could not afford a mandolin. He was rejected from the Irish army band because of his poor eyesight. In Dublin in the late 1950s and early 60s, there was just a handful of folk musicians, often playing informally in a variety of combinations. McKenna was initially a member of a short-lived group fronted by the uilleann piper Paddy Moloney, who cited that lineup as the first incarnation of the Chieftains.

Barney McKenna performing "Carrickfergus."

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CBHagman Apr 2012 OP
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Response to CBHagman (Original post)

Fri May 11, 2012, 03:21 PM

1. Actress Joyce Redman


Little did I know the lady was brought up in County Mayo! She had a long career on the stage, but film buffs will remember her particularly for the suggestive way she and Albert Finney set upon a meal in Tom Jones (See TCM link above).

IMDB credits:


Obits from The Washington Post and the Guardian:



She starred as Anne Boleyn opposite Rex Harrison in New York in Anne of the Thousand Days (1948) and was twice nominated for an Oscar as best supporting actress: first in Tom Jones, then as Emilia in the 1965 film of Olivier's Othello.

Redman was born and bred in Newcastle, County Mayo, one of four sisters in an Anglo-Irish family. She was educated privately by a governess and trained for the stage at Rada in London, making her debut in 1935 as First Tiger Lily in Alice Through the Looking Glass at the Playhouse. She was established as a regular on the West End stage, and in the club theatres, by wartime. She was George Bernard Shaw's Essie, "a wild, timid-looking creature with black hair and tanned skin", in The Devil's Disciple, at the Piccadilly in 1940, followed in 1942 with Maria in Twelfth Night at the Arts theatre and Wendy in Peter Pan at the Winter Garden.

Those Old Vic and New theatre seasons were the defining period: an acclaimed Solveig in the Ralph Richardson production of Ibsen's Peer Gynt; Louka in Shaw's Arms and the Man; Lady Anne in the legendary Richard III of Olivier; Cordelia to the same actor's King Lear; Sonya in Uncle Vanya; and Doll Tearsheet in Henry IV Part 2 (though James Agate, for some reason, thought her too small to play rampageous bawds).

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Response to CBHagman (Original post)

Tue Jul 31, 2012, 09:31 PM

2. Novelist and journalist Maeve Binchy.

The author of Light a Penny Candle, Circle of Friends, and Minding Frankie was 72.


Tributes also flooded in from the National Union of Journalist and the national broadcaster, RTE, where Binchy had worked on a range of TV and radio programmes throughout her career.

Director general Noel Curran said she would be deeply missed by all in the organisation.

"She was a warm and honest writer, with a sharp and intelligent wit, and she was a warm and honest person too," he said.


Binchy's popular early collections of humorous short stories were based in London and Dublin but her first novel, Light A Penny Candle, became a best-seller when published in 1982.

The author, who was considered a true Irish storyteller, made Britain's top 10 most popular writers, the New York Times' Best-seller List and appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

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