Andy Irvine (musician)

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Andy Irvine
Patrick Street Andy Irvine smile.jpg
Background information
Birth name Andrew Kennedy Irvine
Born (1942-06-14) 14 June 1942 (age 72)
Origin St John's Wood, London, England
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter
Years active 1962–present
Associated acts

Andrew Kennedy 'Andy' Irvine is an Irish folk musician, singer-songwriter, and a founding member of popular bands Sweeney's Men, Planxty, Patrick Street and Mozaik. He is an accomplished player of the mandolin, mandola, bouzouki, guitar-bodied bouzouki, harmonica and hurdy-gurdy.


Early life and career[edit]

Andy Irvine was born in St John's Wood, north-west London on 14 June 1942 to an Irish mother from Lisburn, County Antrim, and a Scottish father from Glasgow.[1]:35

His mother, Felice Lascelles, had been a musical comedy actress and Irvine would later say that "she may have given up the stage, but she never stopped acting!".[1]:35–36 As a child, he was offered opportunities to appear on stage and in films.[2] In the summer holidays of 1950, at the age of nine, his first role was to play 'Jimmy' in the film A Tale of Five Cities.[3][4] At thirteen, he starred as 'Nokie' (short for Pinocchio)[4] in the ITV children's series Round at the Redways[5] and joined a school for child actors.[1]:36 He made his stage debut in the Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton and, at fifteen, also received rave reviews for his performance in the ITV Television Playhouse drama The Magpies (7 February 1957).[1]:36[6] The same year, he played the role of John Logie Baird as a boy in the film A Voice in Vision.[7] At sixteen, he performed in Brouhaha with Peter Sellers,[1]:36–37 and also had an acting part—which was cut from the final release—playing opposite Laurence Harvey in Room at the Top.[4][8] At eighteen, Irvine was offered a two-year contract with 'The Rep' (the BBC's Repertory company).[9] However, he eventually gave up acting in his early twenties, after moving permanently to Dublin at the end of his time with the 'Rep'.[1]:41

Musical influences[edit]

Classical guitar[edit]

As a teenager, he studied classical guitar, initially with Julian Bream and later under one of Bream's pupils[1]:36 but switched to folk music after discovering Woody Guthrie during the Skiffle boom of the 1950s.[1]:39 Guthrie was to become an enduring influence on his music, on his choice of additional instruments (mandolin and harmonica) and general outlook on life.[1]:38–40

Woody Guthrie[edit]

In a 1985 interview,[10]:20–23 Irvine expanded on how, in the mid-1950s, he discovered Woody Guthrie through Lonnie Donegan's recordings:

About learning the harmonica, Irvine later explained:[13]

In 1959, Irvine finally located Guthrie at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in Morristown, New Jersey, and began corresponding assiduously with Sid Gleason who, with her husband Bob, would take Guthrie out of hospital and entertain him at weekends.[1]:38–40 It was Sid Gleason who first called him "Andy", and who thereafter remained a conduit between him and Guthrie.[14] However, Irvine's dream to join Guthrie in the States faded when his mother died in 1961.[1]:41

Tribute song: "Never Tire of the Road"[edit]

In 1991, Irvine wrote his tribute song to Woody Guthrie: "Never Tire of the Road", first released on the solo album Rude Awakening.[15] He recorded it again for the album Rain on the Roof, released in 1996, after including another verse plus the chorus from a song Guthrie recorded in March 1944: "You Fascists Are Bound to Lose".[16]

In a 2000 interview,[17]:14 Irvine added: "I never met Woody, but I corresponded with him in hospital. (...) The kind of values that Woody represented are one of my great passions."

Music career[edit]


Move to Dublin and transition from acting to folk music[edit]

In 1962, when his two-year contract with the BBC's 'Rep' ended,[1]:41 Irvine moved to Dublin and continued earning a living as an actor for a while, playing "at The Olympia, The Gaiety, The Gate, The Eblana, The Pike Theatre and in a play by Padraic Colum during the Dublin Theatre Festival in 1963, and also featuring in Tolka Row, a popular RTÉ soap."[1]:42

However, he very quickly noticed that a burgeoning folk scene was emerging, centered around the Baggot Street–Merrion quarter of Dublin's City centre. "As soon as I found my feet there, I thought, 'That's it, goodbye acting!'".[1]:42–43 After discovering Irish music through Séamus Ennis on a BBC programme called As I Roved Out,[1]:41 Irvine studiously spent many hours at the National Library, scouring old songbooks like the Child Ballads and Sam Henry's Songs of the People,[18] as well as Bert Lloyd's Penguin Book of English Folk Songs. While in the process of adopting the itinerant lifestyle of a musician and modern-day minstrel, he also drew inspiration from Ewan MacColl – notably the songs he wrote for his radio-ballads.[1]:44

Gravitating around Paddy and Maureen O'Donoghue's pub,[1]:42–45[19] Irvine met like-minded people such as Ronnie Drew, Luke Kelly and Barney McKenna, who would later form The Dubliners.

Sweeney's Men – Sweeney's Men[edit]

He also met Johnny Moynihan with whom he created a musical partnership which, with the addition of 'Galway Joe' Dolan, turned into Sweeney's Men in 1966.[1]:63–77[20][21][22] To quote Colin Irwin: "They merged the familiar American folk style so popular in the early sixties with a distinctively home-grown Irish flavour; it was not Irish music but it was real and exciting, it had verve, imagination and style."[23]:35

In 1996, Irvine wrote:[24]

In a 2005 interview, Irvine added:[26]

The band recorded their first single "Old Maid in the Garrett"/"The Derby Ram" for Pye Records at Eamonn Andrews Studios in the spring of 1967.[1]:71 The week the single was in the Irish charts, Dolan departed for Israel and the Six-Day War (famously arriving on the seventh!),[1]:72 and was replaced by Terry Woods – later of Steeleye Span and The Pogues.[20]

In early 1968, the new line-up recorded the eponymous album, Sweeney's Men,[27] produced by Bill Leader at Livingston Studios, Barnet.[1]:75 In addition to playing either guitar, mandolin or harmonica on most tracks,[28] Irvine contributed four songs:

However, Irvine was thinking of getting away after his previous hitch-hiking expeditions around Europe. So, he left Sweeney's Men after a final performance at Liberty Hall in Dublin, where he played the first half of the set with Moynihan and Woods before making way for his replacement, Henry McCullough, who played the second half.[1]:75–76

Discovering Eastern Europe[edit]

In the spring of 1968, Irvine headed off to Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

He later wrote several songs about his experiences there:

During a series of journeys criss-crossing Southeastern and Central Europe (Istanbul, Bulgaria, Romania and Ljubljana),[1]:79–80 Irvine discovered the elaborate styles of the region's folk music and was particularly attracted to the Bulgarian tradition.[1]:80

This lasting fascination with Bulgarian music would inform several of his later projects—first with Planxty, then in the recording of his first solo album (1980) and of the album East Wind (1992), and also with the creation of two multicultural, similarly named bands: Mosaic (1984-85) and Mozaik (2002-present day).[35] In turn, Irvine's integration of characteristic elements of Bulgarian folk music into his playing, such as asymmetric rhythms, would also have a profound influence on the sound of contemporary Irish music, including—via Bill Whelan—the original Riverdance score.[1]:296–300[35][36]:75[37]:39–41

He also went to Thessaloniki, a Greek-Macedonian town near the Bulgarian border, to buy a bouzouki.

While in Ljubljana, he met Rens van der Zalm,[38] a young, classically trained violinist from the Netherlands who also played guitar, mandolin, piano, accordion and tin whistle; they would later join forces in several of Irvine's projects.[35][39]:67–69

When he returned to Dublin in the autumn of 1969,[1]:81 Sweeney's Men—now reduced to Moynihan and Woods—was breaking up and Irvine played a final gig with them at Nottingham University in October or November 1969.[1]:82


Duo with Dónal Lunny – "The Blacksmith"[edit]

After the demise of Sweeney's Men, a new Irish-English folk super-group was almost formed in 1970, with Irvine, Moynihan, Woods and his wife Gay, plus ex-Fairport Convention Ashley Hutchings joining on bass guitar, but this never happened.[1]:82

For a while, Irvine performed regularly at Slattery's on Capel Street. He met Dónal Lunny, with whom he formed a duo after an initial gig at a party for the Irish-Soviet Union Friendship conference organised by Seán Mac Réamoinn:[1]:84[40]

To quote Leagues O'Toole: "This partnership also furthered the presence of the bouzouki in Irish music. Just as Johnny Moynihan had introduced the instrument to Andy Irvine, he in turn passed it on to Dónal Lunny".[1]:85 As Lunny himself recalled:

By that time, Irvine had put together his own version of "The Blacksmith", followed by a self-penned coda[1]:81—in the Bulgarian rhythm of 5/8—which would later be given the title of "Blacksmithereens" by Christy Moore, at a Planxty concert in 1973.[41]

Christy Moore – Prosperous[edit]

Before too long, Irvine got his big break. Moore, who had moved to England during the National Bank Strike of 1966,[1]:54 had become an established musician in the British folk music scene and even recorded his first album (Paddy on the Road) there, in 1969, at the Sound Techniques studio in Chelsea.[1]:58–59

After that, Moore decided to record his second album in Ireland and, among the musicians he asked to perform with him were: Irvine, Lunny, and uilleann piper Liam O'Flynn. The album, Prosperous,[1]:86–91 was recorded by Bill Leader who had brought his mobile recording unit (a Revox tape machine and two microphones[23]:35) to Ireland in the summer of 1971.[1]:86

In the words of Colin Irwin:

This was released as an album by Moore, but the four musicians soon thereafter formed Planxty in January 1972, to be managed by Des Kelly.[1]:99[42]

Planxty – Planxty ("the black album")[edit]

The group was an instant success, signing a six-record contract and touring throughout Europe. They played mostly traditional songs and tunes, but several were Irvine compositions, making him the lone composer of the band. Instrumentally the group was notable for the intricate bouzouki and mandolin counterpoint of Lunny and Irvine, along with O'Flynn's exceptional pipering; Irvine and Moore (who also played guitar) were the principal vocalists.

Irvine contributed four songs to their first album, Planxty, recorded at the Command Studios in London during early September 1972 and released in early 1973:[1]:130–145[43]

Planxty – The Well Below The Valley[edit]

Their second album, The Well Below The Valley was recorded at Escape Studios in Kent, England, from 18 June 1973 until the end of the month, and released the same year.[1]:169–181 It features three songs by Irvine:[30]

  • "Pat Reilly" is another anti-recruiting song, about "a silver-tongued sergeant who meets a callow youth, inveigles him into a public house and offers him the king's shilling". It is listed as entry H574 in Sam Henry's collection, Songs of the People.[18]:80–81[29]:16–17[46]
  • "As I Roved Out", which Irvine learned from "the singing of Paddy Tunney who lives in Letterkenny, County Donegal". It dates "back to the days of the famine, when any bit of property at all was enough to tempt a man to jilt his true love in favour of the lassie that had the land".[45]:6–7[46]
  • "Time Will Cure Me" was one of a series of four songs that Irvine wrote "while on my travels in Eastern Europe in 1968-69. Suffice it to say that time did cure my aching heart!".[29]:18–20[46]

After the completion of this second album, Lunny left the group and was replaced by Johnny Moynihan.[1]:184–185

Planxty – Cold Blow and the Rainy Night[edit]

Planxty's third album, Cold Blow and the Rainy Night, was recorded in Sarm Studios, Whitechapel, London during August 1974 and released the same year.[1]:191–202 It includes four pieces by Irvine:[31]

  • "Johnny Cope" was "written after the battle of Prestonpans in 1745, when the Scots were jubilant after their defeat of the English forces".[45]:24–25[47]
  • "Băneasă's Green Glade" was written by Irvine "after living in Băneasă forest just outside Bucharest for two months, busking outside the nearby zoo on Sundays and generally living a life of indolent drunkenness".[29]:98–100[47]
  • "Mominsko Horo" is a Bulgarian dance adapted by Irvine and Lunny.[47][48]
  • "The Green Fields of Canada" is another song Irvine learned from the repertoire of Paddy Tunny. "Unlike most emigration songs, the émigré in this one appears to believe he has done the right thing".[1]:200–201[47]

After the completion of this third album, Moore departed and was replaced by Strabane native Paul Brady.[49] The band's new line-up (Irvine, O'Flynn, Moynihan, and Brady) toured extensively but released no recordings, breaking up after playing their final show in Brussels on 5 December 1975.[1]:220

Duo with Paul Brady – Andy Irvine/Paul Brady[edit]

Irvine continued to tour with Brady, including a series of concerts in the USA in 1977 (Irvine's first ever visit there) highlighted by a very successful gig at the Town Hall in New York.[50] Irvine was also invited by Alec Finn to join De Dannan after Dolores Keane had left,[50] but he soon had to relinquish this new venture because of scheduling conflicts.[1]:243 Nonetheless, Irvine performed with De Dannan at 'The 3rd Irish Folk Festival' in Germany on 30 April 1976,[51] playing "Martinmas Time/Danny O'Brien's Hornpipe", "Maíre Rua/Hardiman The Fiddler", "The Emigrant's Farewell", "The Boys of Ballysodare" and "The Plains of Kildare".[52]

In August 1976, Irvine and Brady recorded an album together at the Rockfield Studios,[50] Andy Irvine/Paul Brady,[1]:243–247 produced by Lunny who also plays on most tracks, and with Kevin Burke on fiddle; it was released in December 1976 by Mulligan Music Ltd. This album included "Autumn Gold", on which Irvine commented: "Written in Ljubljana in 1968, while sitting in a sunny park, stood up on a date. Waiting, as ever, for Vida."[29]:29 It is the final song of a quartet written during his sojourn in Eastern Europe during 1968-69, after spending several months in the Slovenian capital.[53]

Duo with Mick Hanly – As I Went Over Blackwater[edit]

Irvine also toured extensively in Europe with Mick Hanly,[50] including at 'The 4th Irish Folk Festival' in Germany on 30 April 1977.[54] They started their set with Irvine performing a full version of "Johnny Cope": first the song,[45]:24–25 followed by the 6-part hornpipe of the same name, which Irvine played complete on bouzouki. Hanly then sang "A Kiss in the Morning Early". Irvine followed with "Bonny Woodhall", accompanying himself on Fylde 'Octavius' bouzouki (with the bottom two courses strung in octave). This recording of "Bonny Woodhall"[29]:24–25 is Irvine's interpretation of "Bonny Woodha' " (H476 in Sam Henry's Songs of the People)[18]:84 and would later appear as a bonus track on the CD version of Rainy Sundays... Windy Dreams.[55] Their set ends with Hanly singing "John Barleycorn" and "The Verdant Braes of Skreen".[56]

The following year, Irvine and Hanly were joined on stage by Liam O'Flynn at 'The 5th Irish Folk Festival' in Germany on 28 April 1978,[57] playing "I Buried My Wife And Danced on Top of Her", a jig learnt from the great uilleann piper Willie Clancy; "Molly Bawn", sung by Hanly (with Irvine on hurdy-gurdy first, then on bouzouki); "Brian O'Lynn/Sean Bun"; "I Courted A Wee Girl"; "The Longford Weaver" sung by Irvine accompanying himself on hurdy-gurdy and harmonica; and "Masters Return/Kittie's Wedding".[58]

Two years later, in 1980, Hanly released his second solo album As I Went Over Blackwater,[59] featuring Irvine on four tracks: "Jack Haggerty" (harmonicas), "The Guerriere and The Constitution" (harmony vocals and a superb hurdy-gurdy accompaniment, suggesting an aural impression of tall ships in motion), "Every Circumstance" (mandolin) and "Miss Bailey/Jessica's Polka" (harmonica).[60]

The Gathering[edit]

Sometime during 1977, Irvine also recorded The Gathering,[61] along with Paul Brady, Dónal Lunny, Matt Molloy, Tommy Potts, Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill and uilleann piper Peter Browne. This album was funded by Diane Meek, a Guggenheim heiress who had used the pseudonym 'Hamilton' as her maiden name to disguise her wealth. She was the owner of Tradition Records and a patron of traditional music in Dublin at the time. She had lent Mulligan Records money in the early days and had also formed a small record label for traditional music called Srutháin [a stream], on which she had intended to release The Gathering. However, the album was finally released in 1981 on Greenhays, a label connected with Rounder Records.[1]:247

Irvine contributed two songs to the album, and also accompanied Brady on a third track:

  • "There's Sure To Be A Row" is a song Irvine learnt from "an old tape of the inimitable, much loved, late Willie Clancy." It is "obviously of Music Hall origin and sung to the ubiquitous tune [of] "Star of the County Down".[29]:100–102 Irvine sings the song, accompanied by Brady (tin whistle) and Lunny (bouzouki and guitar)[62]
  • "The Mall of Lismore" is a song written in the first person—and as a warning to "other fair maids"—by a girl who was disowned by her father for falling in love with a "dashing young soldier" who, in turn, leaves her "all alone on the Mall of Lismore, when to Dublin his regiment was ordered". Irvine sings and plays harmonica & mandolin, accompanied on harpsichord by Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill.[62]
  • He also plays mandolin and harmonica on Paul Brady's cover of "Heather on the Moor".[62]

Paul Brady – Welcome Here Kind Stranger[edit]

On Friday 21 July 1978, Brady launched his album Welcome Here Kind Stranger[63] with a concert in the auditorium of Liberty Hall in Dublin. He decided to record the concert on his own domestic Akai reel-to-reel tape machine with Brian Masterson in attendance, who had engineered the album and was doing the sound that night.[64]

Performing with him were: Lunny, O'Flynn, Paddy Glackin, Matt Molloy, Noel Hill and Irvine, who played on nine of the ten numbers performed that night: "Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore" (harmonica, mandolin); "I Am A Youth That's Inclined To Ramble" (hurdy-gurdy); "The Creel/Out The Door And Over The Wall" (mandolin, bouzouki); "The Jolly Soldier/The Blarney Pilgrim" (harmonica, bouzouki); "Mary And The Soldier" (mandolin, harmonica); "Jackson And Jane" (hurdy-gurdy); "Don't Come Again" (mandolin); "The Lakes Of Pontchartrain" (bouzouki); "The Crooked Road To Dublin" (Portuguese guitarra with 8 tuners [4 removed],[65] re-strung with 4 courses and tuned like a mandola).[64]

After the concert, Brady took the tapes home, put them somewhere so safe that he only found them again in November 2000, still in good enough condition to be transferred onto CD and released, in 2002, under the title The Missing Liberty Tapes![64]

Planxty – After The Break[edit]

By the autumn of 1978,[1]:256 Moore was ready to re-form the original Planxty line-up, complete with Lunny, who brought along flutist Matt Molloy from The Bothy Band, and rehearsals began on Tuesday, 19 September 1978.[1]:259 Their new manager, Kevin Flynn, then organised a mammoth European tour for the following year, from 15 April to 11 June 1979, during which the band played forty-seven concerts in fifty-eight days, in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, France and Ireland.[1]:259–262

After the tour, the band went to Windmill Lane Studios from 18 to 30 June 1979[1]:260–262 to record After The Break,[1]:262–268[66] released the same year. Irvine contributed three pieces to the album:

  • "You Rambling Boys of Pleasure" is a song that Irvine learned from the singing of Len Graham and Joe Holmes from County Antrim.[29]:35–36 Irvine adds: "This is the song that was half remembered by W.B. Yeats and re-written by him as 'Down by the Sally Gardens'."[67]
  • "The Rambling Siúler" is another song from Sam Henry's collection, Songs of the People,[67] where it is listed under entry H183.[18]:268 Irvine explains: "If songs about girls dressing up as men are commonplace, songs about Gentlemen dressing up as beggars occur quite frequently also."[29]:32–34
  • "Smeceno Horo" is a Bulgarian dance in 9/16 time,[67] from an album that Irvine bought in Sofia. "I had it in my rucksack for nine months after that before I got a chance to play it. It was in bits when I got home but this tune was on it without a scratch".[29]:37–38 Irvine would later refer to this recording as "the closest I ever got to melding two traditions together".[1]:266


Rainy Sundays... Windy Dreams[edit]

At the end of 1979, Irvine recorded his first solo album at Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin: Rainy Sundays... Windy Dreams, produced by Dónal Lunny and released on Tara Records in 1980.[1]:274 Personnel included Irvine, Lunny, O'Flynn, Brady (guitar and piano), Frankie Gavin (fiddle), Rick Epping (accordion, harmonica, jaw harp), John Wadham (bongo and congas), Paul Barrett (Fender Rhodes and Polymoog), Keith Donald (soprano sax) and Lucienne Purcell (vocals).[68]

As was to be expected, this first solo album showcased songs and tunes from two of his main influences:

  • side one (on the 33rpm, vinyl LP) featured pieces inspired by the Irish tradition, while
  • side two luxuriated in Balkan music played by some of the most adventurous Irish musicians of the time.

The original, vinyl album[33] closed with the self-penned "Rainy Sundays",[29]:72–76 a nostalgic song reminiscing about Vida, with whom Irvine pursued "a one-sided romance in Ljubljana years ago."[29]:72

High Kings of Tara[edit]

In 1980, Tara Records released High Kings of Tara,[69] a compilation album showcasing tracks previously released by some of its artists: Shaun Davey, Oisín, Jolyon Jackson, Paddy Glackin, Paddy Keenan, Stockton's Wing and Christy Moore.[70]

This album also included five previously unreleased tracks by Planxty, Irvine and Moore. Two of these, Irvine's "The Bonny Light Horseman" and a set of reels by Planxty, "Lord McDonald/The Chattering Magpie", were subsequently added to the CD version of After The Break.[71] The remaining three tracks were:

  • "General Monroe" – a majestic, traditional song re-arranged by Irvine (bouzouki, harmonica) in duet with Lunny (guitar), about Henry Munro who was chosen to lead the insurgents of County Down in the 1798 rebellion and who, defeated at the battle of Ballynahinch on 13 June 1798, was hanged in front of his house three days later.[29]:53–55
  • "First Slip/Hardyman The Fiddler A&B/The Yellow Wattle" – a set of jigs by Planxty, with Matt Molloy on board.

Planxty – The Woman I loved So Well[edit]

In April and May 1980, Planxty returned to Windmill Lane Studios to record The Woman I Loved So Well, released in July of the same year.[1]:275–281[72] Irvine contributed three songs to the album:[73]

  • "Roger O'Hehir" is a song from Sam Henry's collection, Songs of the People,[73] where it is listed as entry H486 under the title of "Eight Mile Bridge".[18]:121 Irvine says: "Roger seems to have been quite famous as a highwayman in the early nineteenth century. However his crimes, as listed here, are pretty petty and he certainly doesn't seem to have been very good at it."[29]:39–41 "He seems to have been best at breaking out of jail."[73]
  • "Kellswater" is also from Sam Henry's collection,[73] where it is listed under entry H695.[18]:442–443 In the sleeve notes, Irvine comments: "The story appears to be that the girl's father did not consider Willie to be a suitable match for his daughter and had him sent away overseas."[73] "If a father did not care for the boy his daughter had set her heart on, he would either have him murdered or sent away to America".[29]:41–44
  • "Johnny of Brady's Lea" is Irvine's version of "a famous Scottish ballad, usually called 'Johnny O'Breadislee'. It has the drama of a Greek tragedy, Johnny's fate being sealed from the outset."[29]:45–47 Irvine adds: "Johnny is evidently an outlaw or at least a man who pays little regard to the game-laws."[73]

Parallel Lines with Dick Gaughan[edit]

In his online autobiography, Irvine recalls:[74]

In August 1981,[74] Irvine and Gaughan recorded Parallel Lines[76] at Günter Pauler's Tonstudio in St Blasien/Herrenhaus, Northeim, Germany, released in 1982 on the German FolkFreak-Platten label.[77] It was produced by Gaughan, Irvine and Carsten Linden, with a line-up including Gaughan (acoustic and electric guitars, bass guitar and vocal), Irvine (bouzouki, mandola, mandolin, harmonica, hurdy-gurdy and vocal), Nollaig Casey (fiddle), Martin Buschmann (saxophone), Judith Jaenicke (flute) and Bob Lenox (Fender Rhodes piano). Dónal Lunny also overdubbed the fiddle parts and remixed the album at Lombard Studios in Dublin.[77]

In 1997, Parallel Lines was re-issued on CD, including "Thousands Are Sailing" as a bonus track that Irvine and Gaughan had recorded during the above-mentioned Folk Friends 2 recording sessions, held in 1980.[74][75]

About the recording of Parallel Lines, Irvine would later comment:[26]

Planxty – Words & Music[edit]

In late October and early November 1982, Planxty reconvened at Windmill Lane Studios to record Words & Music,[1]:301–304 released in 1983.[78] Irvine contributed three pieces to the album:

  • "Thousands Are Sailing" is Planxty's version of the song that Irvine recorded with Dick Gaughan on their album Parallel Lines. Says Irvine: "I first heard this song sung by another hero of mine, Eddie Butcher from Magilligan, County Londonderry".[29]:48–49
  • "Accidentals" is an instrumental piece Irvine wrote "somewhere between Windmill Lane Studios and Milan".[79]
  • "Aragon Mill" is a song Irvine learned from Si Kahn, the singer-songwriter from North Carolina,[79] who said of this song: "This is a true song about Aragon, Georgia, a small town near the Alabama border, in 1971. The red brick chimney with the white brick letters 'Aragon' is real. So is the line "It's so quiet I can't sleep" spoken by a loom fixer whose front porch overlooked the now silent weave room."[80]

After Planxty[edit]

With Moore and Lunny actively developing a parallel project with Moving Hearts, Planxty again broke up at the end of April 1983,[1]:306[10]:21 and Irvine resumed his solo career, playing occasionally with Arty McGlynn and Nollaig Casey. He also travelled to Hungary, where he played and fraternised with local musicians:

He would later write a song about this period of his life in Budapest: "The Wind Blows Over The Danube", released on the album Changing Trains.[83]


In the winter of 1984, Irvine gathered a collection of musicians from throughout Europe and formed Mosaic,[82] with a line-up including Irvine, Dónal Lunny along with his former Moving Hearts associate, uilleann piper Declan Masterson, Danish bassist and singer Lissa Ladefoged, Dutch guitarist and singer Hans Theessink, and singer Márta Sebestyén from Muzsikás.[84]:11

Their first public gig was in Budapest on 12 July 1985, followed by a further two gigs in Hungary and an appearance at the Dranouter festival in Belgium in early August, prior to their English tour.[84]:11 Their seventh gig was billed at the Southport Arts Center, which Chris Hardwick of Folk Roots reviewed with the following introduction: "Every once in a while the folk scene throws up a new permutation in which exceptionally gifted individuals come together to produce something so innovative and exhilarating that it goes way beyond the sum of the parts".[85]:42–43

Their set included: Stan Rogers's "Northwest Passage", an unspecified Macedonian dance tune ("one of Andy's 90 mph specials"[85]:43), a solo Hungarian love song from Sebestyén, a brooding cover of Eric Von Schmidt's Caribbean lament "Joshua Gone Barbados" from Theesink, the Irish three (Irvine, Lunny and Masterson) on a set of reels including "The Spike Island Lasses", and Irvine singing Andy Mitchell's "Indiana". However, the band lasted only that one summer.

A couple of years later,[86]:15 Irvine stated that he would have liked to try the experiment again by concentrating on the Irish and East European sound without bringing in the blues influence.

Patrick Street[edit]

Also in 1985, Irvine joined up with fiddler Kevin Burke and guitarist Mícheál Ó Domhnaill (who had been gigging together around America for some time) and toured as a trio in the USA; when Ó Domhnaill wasn't available for some of the dates, guitarist/vocalist Gerry O'Beirne stepped in.[87]:34–35 "This tour was such fun and so successful that we decided to expand the outfit into a four-piece by adding Jackie Daly", Irvine wrote.[88]

Initially billed on a 1986 American tour as "The Legends of Irish Music", they soon chose to call themselves Patrick Street.[87]:34 The line-up for the band underwent several changes, but always included Irvine, Burke, and Daly. The guitar role, however, passed:

  • from O'Beirne to Arty McGlynn – before the recording of their first album, Patrick Street, which began in August 1986;[89]
  • from McGlynn to Ged Foley – after the band recorded their fourth album, All in Good Time, released in 1993;[90]
  • back to McGlynn – when they resumed touring after the completion of their ninth album, On the Fly, released in 2007.[91]

After Jackie Daly retired from Patrick Street, John Carty joined on fiddle, flute and tenor banjo in time to record On The Fly.[92]

Originally agreed to as a part-time band, they have nevertheless recorded eight studio albums together, plus one live album (Live from Patrick Street) and two compilations (The Best of Patrick Street and Compendium: The Best of Patrick Street).

On their first album, Patrick Street, released in 1986,[93] Irvine sings four songs: the traditional "Patrick Street" set to new music by the whole band, Gerry O'Beirne's "The Holy Ground", Andy Mitchell's "Indiana" (which is introduced by Irvine's own instrumental composition, "The Dream") and Colum Sands' "The Man with the Cap".[89]

No. 2 Patrick Street, released in 1988,[94] again features four songs sung by Irvine: "Tom Joad" (his adaptation of Woody Guthrie's two-part recording of the ballad inspired by John Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath), "Facing the Chair", his composition about Sacco and Vanzetti and two traditional songs, "Braes of Moneymore" and "William Taylor".[95]

Their third album, Irish Times, released in 1990,[96] includes three songs by Irvine: "Brackagh Hill"–which he set to new music–is a traditional song about a man who travels to Scotland to see the world, doesn't care for it and promptly returns home; "Forgotten Hero", his composition about Michael Davitt, and the traditional song "The Humours of the King of Ballyhooley".[97]

Playing style – The Irish Bouzouki[edit]

In 1989, Irvine's style of playing the bouzouki was summarised thus in The Irish Bouzouki,[98] an instructional guide:

The tutor also provided simple standard notation scores and lyrics for two of Irvine's songs: "Brackagh Hill" (which he recorded with Patrick Street on the album Irish Times released the same year) and "Bridget",[29]:93–96 a song written by Jane Cassidy which he never released elsewhere. The cassette accompanying this tutor provided both songs, with Irvine accompanying himself on bouzouki.[98]:38–41 In the same tutor, Irvine's Irish bouzouki tuning (GDAD',[98]:15 one octave lower than the open-tuned mandolin) was also contrasted with the traditional Greek bouzouki tuning (CFAD').[98]:5


Rude Awakening[edit]

In December 1990 and January 1991, Irvine recorded his second solo album, Rude Awakening,[99] produced by Bill Whelan. The line-up included Whelan (keyboards), Rens van der Zalm (fiddle, mandolin, guitar), Carl Geraghty (soprano saxophone), Arty McGlynn (guitar), Davy Spillane (whistle) and Fionnuala Sherry (fiddle). The album was released on Green Linnet Records, later in 1991.[15]

It features "Never Tire of the Road", Irvine's tribute song to Woody Guthrie, alongside mainly self-penned material celebrating some of his other heroes:

The only other traditional song is "Allan McLean", for which Irvine wrote new music also. The sleeve notes of "Love To Be With You"[15]—a poignant song of longing—show a faded, black & white photo of Vida, the heroine of his song from ten years earlier: "Rainy Sundays".[29]:72–76

East Wind[edit]

Irvine had also played some Balkan tunes to Whelan and mentioned his aspiration to record them.[100] So, shortly thereafter, he was rehearsing again with Davy Spillane (uilleann pipes and low whistle) to record East Wind, a collection of Bulgarian and Macedonian tunes played Irish-style[101] and produced by Whelan, who also contributed keyboards and piano.[102]

The extensive line-up included Nikola Parov on Bulgarian instruments (gadulka, kaval, gaida) & bouzouki, Máirtín O'Connor (accordion), Noel Eccles & Paul Moran (percussion), Tony Molloy (bass), Carl Geraghty & Kenneth Edge (saxophones), John Sheahan (fiddle), Anthony Drennan (guitar), Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin (piano), Márta Sebestyén (vocals) and Rita Connolly (backing vocals).[102]

In an interview with Folk Roots in August 1992,[34]:29–33 Irvine stated: "We finished it eighteen months ago but (...) John Cook at Tara wanted to try the avenue of big companies." The album was eventually released on the Tara label itself in mid-1992.[103]:42

For a while, Irvine and Parov were joined by Rens van der Zalm and toured together in Europe as the 'East Wind Trio',[39]:69 and then again in the US during 1996.[104]

Patrick Street – All in Good Time[edit]

Irvine contributed six pieces to Patrick Street's fourth album, All in Good Time, released in 1992.[105]

  • First comes "A Prince Among Men (Only a Miner)"–a song about the hazards and dangers of working underground in a mine–which Irvine wrote from the perspective of a man whose late father, James Doyle, had been a miner. About the origins of the song, Irvine stated in the sleeve notes:[106]
  • Lintheads is one of Irvine's trilogies; in this case, he assembled two songs–linked by an instrumental piece–about the lives of mill workers on both sides of the Atlantic:
1. "The Pride of the Springfield Road" is an optimistic song Irvine learned from Maurice Leyden of Belfast, about the courtship of a young couple from the community around the cotton spinning mill located on that road;[106][107]
2. "Lawrence Common" is Irvine's instrumental composition inspired while walking on the Common in Lawrence, MA, "a piece of park land forever associated with the struggle and victory of the striking woolen mill workers in 1912";[106]
3. "Goodbye, Monday Blues" is the story of an old 'linthead' reminiscing about a whole life spent working in cotton mills, from "when I was a little boy" until "cotton dust has got my lungs";[108] it was written by Si Kahn from North Carolina.[106]
  • "Carrowclare" is Irvine's rendition of a song written in about 1870 by James McCurry, a blind fiddler from Myroe. It is listed as entry H169[18]:298–299 in Sam Henry's collection, where it appears under the title of "The Maid of Carrowclare".[106]
  • Finally, "The Girls Along the Road" is another song Irvine learned from Maurice Leyden, who collected it from Willy Nicholl in Cullybackey, County Antrim.[106]

Patrick Street – Cornerboys[edit]

Patrick Street's fifth album, Cornerboys, was released in 1996[109] and includes seven pieces provided by Irvine.[110]

  • "Sweet Lisbweemore" is a lively, traditional song re-arranged by the band.
  • "Morlough Shore" is another poignant song Irvine learned from Eddy Butcher of Magilligan, County Londonderry.
  • Pity the Poor Hare is the title of a suite assembled by Irvine,
1. beginning with "On Yonder Hill", a song he arranged from the singing of Geordie Hanna from Derrytresk, County Tyrone;
2. it is followed by "Merrily Tripping O'er The Plain", a lively jig composed by Irvine and leading into
3. "The Kilgrain Hare", his adaptation of entry H12[18]:31 in Sam Henry's collection;
4. the whole suite was named after its closing piece, "Pity the Poor Hare", a slow air also composed by Irvine.
  • "Down By Greer's Grove", written by Irvine, is an amusing song "based on a fragment recorded in the '50s by Robert Cinnamond of Glenavy, County Antrim, who was a fairly old man by the time the folk song collectors got to him".[110]

Rain on the Roof[edit]

Recorded in June, July and August 1996, Irvine's third solo album, Rain on the Roof,[111] is the closest the listener could get to the experience of attending one of his gigs. It was also the first released on his own label, "Andy Irvine", under product number "AK-1" (presumably: "Andrew Kennedy-1"). The album mixes some of Irvine's compositions with traditional songs and Bulgarian tunes.

Other instruments were added (on four of the eleven tracks) by Rens van der Zalm (fiddle and mandolin), Stephen Cooney (didgeredoo, Kpanlogo drum), Declan Masterson (low whistle) and Irvine himself, who played a second mandolin on two of the tracks.[16]

Patrick Street – Made in Cork[edit]

Patrick Street's sixth album, Made in Cork, was released in 1997,[112] to which Irvine contributed four songs.

  • Irvine learnt the words of "Her Mantle So Green" from a recording of Jim O'Neill from Markethill, County Armagh.[113] It is also listed as entry H76[18]:314 in Sam Henry's collection, Songs of the People.[113] In the sleeve notes, Irvine added:
  • "Rainbow 'Mid The Willows" is a song collected by Alan Lomax in the Ozark Mountains, set by Irvine to a tune adapted from a Hungarian Csángó song previously recorded by Hungarian folk group Muzsikás.[113]
  • "Spanking Maggie from the Ross" is a song about the sport of harness racing and was learned from Arthur Coulter.[113]
  • "When Adam Was in Paradise" is another song Irvine learned from Eddie Butcher.[113]

Patrick Street – Live from Patrick Street[edit]

Live from Patrick Street, released in 1999,[114] was Patrick Street's seventh album, recorded during a tour of Ireland and Britain in November 1998. It features five of Irvine's songs.

  • "Braes of Moneymore" is a poignant song of emigration, which the band had previously recorded on their second album: No. 2 Patrick Street. Irvine first learnt it from an old 78 rpm recording, made in 1952 by Sean O'Boyle and Peter Kennedy, of Terry Devlin, a shoemaker local to the little town of Moneymore in County Londonderry.[115] Irvine changed the tune and added a verse.[116]
  • Although "My Son in Amerikay" was written by Alf Mcloughlin, one-time Chief Librarian at the National Library in Dublin, Irvine learnt it from the repertoire of Eddie Butcher.[116]
  • "Wild Rover No More" was learnt from Sean Corcoran, who collected it from the singing of a Mrs Carolan of Drogheda.[116]
  • "Stewball and the Monaghan Grey Mare" was first recorded by Irvine on the 1976 album: Andy Irvine/Paul Brady, under the title of "The Plains of Kildare". At the time, Irvine wrote this version to new music, based on earlier versions from Eddie Butcher and A.L. Lloyd, while also using additional sources supplied by Frank Harte.[116]
  • "The Holy Ground" was written by former Patrick Street guitarist Gerry O'Beirne; Irvine had previously recorded this song on the band's first album: Patrick Street.[116]


Way Out Yonder[edit]

In 2000, Irvine released his fourth solo album, Way Out Yonder,[117] recorded between July and December 1999 and co-produced with Steve Cooney.[118]

Irvine was joined by Rens van der Zalm (guitar, fiddle, mandolin, Bulgarian tambura and bass guitar), Lindsey Horner (double bass), Máire Breatnach (viola), Cormac Breatnach (low whistle), Steve Cooney (Spanish guitar, percussion and kalimba), Declan Masterson (uilleann pipes and low whistle), Liam O'Flynn (uilleann pipes and tin whistle), Nikola Parov (gadulka), plus Lynn Kavanagh, Mandy Murphy and Phil Callery (backing vocals).[118]

Mozaik – Live from the Powerhouse[edit]

On 1 March 2002 the seaside town of Rye, Victoria in Australia witnessed the formation and six-day marathon rehearsals of multicultural group Mozaik[119]—not to be confused with his earlier, similarly named group Mosaic—featuring Irvine, Dónal Lunny, Bruce Molsky, Nikola Parov and Rens van der Zalm.

The Australian tour that followed culminated in two gigs recorded at the Brisbane Powerhouse on 30/31 March and released on the album Live from the Powerhouse in 2004, under license to Compass Records.[120]

Patrick Street – Street Life[edit]

Patrick Street's eighth album, Street Life, was released in 2002.[121] Irvine contributed four pieces:[122]

Planxty ("The Third Coming") – Live 2004[edit]

In late 2002, broadcaster and journalist Leagues O'Toole was working as presenter and researcher for the RTÉ television show No Disco and convinced the programme editor, Rory Cobbe, to develop a one-off documentary about Planxty.[1]:309

O'Toole proceeded with interviewing Moore, Irvine and O'Flynn but Lunny, who was living in Japan, was unavailable. After also shooting links at key landmarks from the Planxty history,[1]:310–314 the programme aired on 3 March 2003, receiving a phenomenal response from the public and some very positive feedback from the Planxty members themselves. In a final comment about the constant speculation of the original line-up regrouping, Moore had stated, on camera: "There's nobody longs for it more than myself and the other three guys. Definitely the time is right. Let's go for it".[1]:314

A few months later, Paddy Doherty, owner of the Royal Spa Hotel in Lisdoonvarna (and co-founder of the Lisdoonvarna Festival), arranged for the band's use of the hotel's old dining room for rehearsals, which led to a one-off concert there in front of 200 people on 11 October 2003.[1]:316 The Planxty magic had been rekindled and it was a night of high emotion, hilarious banter and soaring music during which Moore, on stage, credited the No Disco documentary with inspiring the reunion.[1]:316

Pleased with the results and the experience of playing together again, the original Planxty quartet agreed to the longed-for reunion (dubbed "The Third Coming"[1]:xii) and would perform together again, on and off, for a period of just over a year.

Planxty first played a series of concerts at the Glór Theatre in Ennis, County Clare (on 23 & 24 January 2004) and at Vicar Street in Dublin (on 30 & 31 January and on 4 & 5, 11 & 12 February 2004),[1]:317 which were recorded and from which selected material was released on the CD Live 2004 and its associated DVD.

In late 2004 and early 2005,[1]:322–326 another round of concerts took place at the following venues:

Since then, the original Planxty quartet have neither performed live nor recorded new material together.

In May 2005, Irvine wrote in his website 'Journal': "Also premiered "As I Roved Out" with my own accompaniment. It's always been a Planxty number till now with Dónal playing Baritone Guitar and me just singing it."[123] A recording of this version of "As I Roved Out"[45]:6–7 was eventually released on Peter Ratzenbeck's album Resonances in 2007,[124] where Irvine appeared as a guest and played it solo on his "Stefan Sobell mandola, tuned CGDG (Capo 0)".[125]

Mozaik – Changing Trains[edit]

In January and April 2005, Mozaik rehearsed new material for Changing Trains,[83] their first studio album recorded in Budapest during November of the same year.[126]

This album was initially released by the band in Australia in 2006 and, after additional re-mixing by Lunny at Longbeard Studios in Dublin, was re-released in the autumn of 2007 under license to Compass Records.[126]

Patrick Street – On the Fly[edit]

Patrick Street's ninth album, On the Fly, was released in 2007.[91] Irvine provided three songs:[92]

  • "Sergeant Small" is an Australian song which tells the story of an unemployed man who rides freight trains in his search for work during the Great Depression in the 1930s but gets trapped by Sergeant Small, a policeman masquerading as a hobo. This song is an amalgamation from two sources put together by Brad Tate: the recording made by Tex Morton in the 1940s and the poem written by Terry Boylan in the 1970s. Irvine first heard it sung by Seamus Gill of Canberra, a Donegal man who has lived most of his life in Australia.[92]
  • Irvine learnt "The Rich Irish Lady" from an album Peggy Seeger recorded in the late 1950s.[92]
  • "Erin Go Bragh" is a Scottish song about the experience of Irish people in Britain. Although it is mainly associated with Dick Gaughan, Irvine first heard it sung by Ian 'Jock' Manuel in the Bluebell pub in Hull about 1964.[92]

Marianne Green – Dear Irish Boy[edit]

Irvine arranged and produced Marianne Green's[127] first album, Dear Irish Boy, released in 2009.[128][129] Personnel included: Marianne Green (vocals), Irvine (bouzouki, mandolin, mandola, bass-bouzouki, harmonica), Colum Sands (double bass, concertina) and Gerry O'Conner (violin).[130]

The tracks are: "The Banks of the Bann" (trad.), "You Make Me Fly" (M. Green), "Tá Mé 'Mo Shuí" (trad.), "The Doffin Mistress" (trad.), "Bonny Portmore" (trad.), "Ar A Ghabháil Go Baile Átha Cliath Damh" (trad.), "Cian's Song" (M. O'Hare), "The Dear Irish Boy" (trad.), "The Wife's Lamentation" (M. Green), "The Road To Dundee" (trad.), "The Wreck of the Newcastle Fishermen" (trad.) and "Carrickmannon Lake" (trad.).[130]



In August 2010, Irvine released his fifth solo album: Abocurragh,[131][132][133] recorded in Dublin, Norway, Australia, Hungary and Brittany between February 2009/April 2010 and produced by Dónal Lunny who also plays on all but one of the tracks.[134]

They were joined by Liam O'Flynn (uilleann pipes, tin whistle), Nikola Parov (kaval, nyckelharpa), Máirtín O'Connor (accordion), Bruce Molsky (fiddle), Rens van der Zalm (fiddle), Rick Epping (harmonica), Paul Moore (double bass), Graham Henderson (keyboards), Liam Bradley (percussion), Jacky Molard (violas, violins and string arrangement), Annebjørg Lien (hardanger fiddles), Lillebjørn Nilsen (guitar), plus Kate Burke and Ruth Hazleton (backing vocals).[134]

LAPD (Liam/Andy/Paddy/Dónal)[edit]

Friday, 20 January 2012[135] ushered in the inaugural gig, at Dublin's Vicar Street, of a quartet named 'LAPD'[136] for the initials of its members' first names: Liam O'Flynn, Andy Irvine, Paddy Glackin, and Dónal Lunny.[40]

Dónal Lunny, Andy Irvine, Liam O'Flynn and Paddy Glackin as 'LAPD', March 2012.

They played a set combining tunes and songs from the repertoires of:

  • Planxty: "Jenny's Wedding/The Virginia/Garrett Barry's", "Paddy Canny's" ("The Starting Gate"), "The Jolly Beggar/The Wise Maid", "Arthur MacBride", "As I Roved Out (Andy)", "The Blacksmith/Blacksmithereens" and "West Coast of Clare"
  • Irvine & Lunny: "My Heart's tonight in Ireland/West Clare Reel", "Braes of Moneymore", "Suleiman's Kopanitsa", "The Dream/Indiana", "O'Donoghue's" and "Siún Ni Dhuibhir"
  • O'Flynn & Glackin: "Kitty's Rambles/Humours of Ennistymon", "The Green Island/Bantry Hornpipe", "Young Tom Ennis/Nora Crean", "A Rainy Day/The Shaskeen", "Two Flings", "Speed the Plough/Colonel Fraser" and "The Gold Ring".

LAPD performed only occasionally,[137][138] to rave reviews,[19][139] but never recorded before disbanding; their last performance took place at Sligo Live, on Saturday 26 October 2013.[140]

70th Birthday Concert At Vicar St 2012[edit]

On 16 and 17 June 2012, Irvine's 70th birthday was celebrated at Dublin's Vicar Street venue in a pair of concerts.[49] He was joined onstage by Paul Brady and various combinations of members of Sweeney's Men, Planxty, Mozaik and LAPD, plus brothers George and Manoli Galiatsos who came unexpectedly all the way from Athens for the concerts,[141] which were recorded and released on the CD Andy Irvine/70th Birthday Concert at Vicar St 2012[142] and its associated DVD.

Playing Woody Guthrie again[edit]

A week later, Irvine was invited to participate with Billy Bragg in the Woody 100 Legacy Show scheduled at Dublin's Vicar Street on Monday, 17 September 2012, to celebrate Woody Guthrie's Centenary.[143]

In his web journal, Irvine wrote at the time: "I recently located my old Gibson L0 guitar. It was in the shed where it has been languishing for some years. I used to be able to do a pretty good impression of Woody's 'Church lick' guitar playing. Hope I can get it all back! (...) I'd better get practising!..."[144]

Parachilna with Rens van der Zalm[edit]

On 13 November 2013, Irvine released his first duo album with Rens van der Zalm: Parachilna,[145][146] an album of Irish and Australian songs recorded live in July 2012 while camping in South Australia and New South Wales.

It was co-produced by Irvine (vocals, bouzouki, mandola and harmonica) and van der Zalm (backing vocals, guitar, mandolin, fiddle and viola), and recorded by Cian Burke in disused buildings using top-quality microphones, a laptop and Pro Tools.[115][146] Most of the time, there are only two instruments playing–three when Irvine also plays harmonica–and the resulting sound is bright and pristine.

Usher's Island[edit]

On Tuesday, 27 January 2015, Irvine launched his latest musical association at Celtic Connections 2015 in Glasgow: a band called 'Usher's Island' (a reference to the Dublin quay), with Dónal Lunny (guitar, bouzouki, bodhrán), Paddy Glackin (fiddle), Michael McGoldrick (uilleann pipes, flute and whistle), and John Doyle (guitar).[147][148]

Still touring[edit]

Irvine resides in Letterbreen, County Fermanagh and also has a base in Dublin.[49] He continues to tour in Ireland, UK, Europe, USA, South America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.[149]

Commitment to social justice[edit]

Andy Irvine is a card-carrying member of the Industrial Workers of the World (the 'Wobblies'),[14] with a lifelong commitment to social justice.

For example, by championing the life, social activism and energetic organising leadership of Mary Harris Jones ('Mother Jones') about whom he wrote a song, "The Spirit of Mother Jones", which he recorded and released on his 2010 album Abocurragh.[133] On 1 August 2012, Irvine performed in Shandon, County Cork, for the inaugural Mother Jones Festival which celebrated the 175th Anniversary of the birth of Mary Harris nearby; he performed at the Festival again on 1 August 2013.[150]

Like other artists contracted to perform at Féile Iorrais (a community festival in Erris) in August 2007, Irvine was disgusted to learn that Royal Dutch Shell were partly sponsoring the events. Shell's plans for the Corrib gas project have been the subject of controversy in County Mayo. Irvine pledged to donate part of his fee to the Shell to Sea campaign.[151]

Selected discography[edit]

Summary of recordings[edit]

Chronology of Andy Irvine's album recordings[edit]

Table 1. below lists 55 of Irvine's album recordings, by release date.[152] This list is not intended to be exhaustive, however, since he has appeared on an even greater number of albums, either to supply one or more of his well-known songs such as "The Blacksmith" or "My Heart's Tonight in Ireland", for example, or simply to sit in and contribute vocal and/or instrumental support to other artists.

The songs and tunes of Andy Irvine[edit]

Table 2. below identifies the songs and tunes that Irvine originated and recorded on some of the albums listed in the previous table; "originated" meaning that he either composed or adapted the selected pieces for his own singing and/or lead playing.

Therefore, songs like "The Good Ship Kangaroo", "The Pursuit of Farmer Michael Hayes" and "Little Musgrave", for example, are excluded because they were sung by Christy Moore, even though Irvine had a big hand in putting the music together and in playing it with Planxty. Songs recorded by Patrick Street with Gerry O'Beirne or Ged Foley on lead vocals are similarly excluded from the list, although O'Beirne's "The Holy Ground" is included because Irvine sang it during the recording and in performance.

All the Balkan material is considered his own choice and is therefore included in the list below, even when sung by others.


  • Planxty Live 2004 (2004), DVD
  • Come West Along The Road/Irish Traditional Music Treasures From RTÉ Archives 1960s - 1980s (2005), DVD
  • Come West Along The Road 2/Irish Traditional Music Treasures From RTÉ Archives 1960s - 1980s (2007), DVD
  • Come West Along The Road 3/Irish Traditional Music Treasures From RTÉ Archives 1960s - 1980s (2010), DVD
  • Come West Along The Road/The Collection (2014), DVD (Volumes 1-4 Boxset)
  • The Transatlantic Sessions Series 6 (2014), DVD
  • Andy Irvine 70th Birthday Concert at Vicar St 2012 (2014), DVD
  • Mozaik on Tour 2014 (2014), YouTube video clip


  • Huntington, Gale; Herrmann, Lani; Dr Moulden, John, eds. (2010). Sam Henry's Songs of the People. Athens, GA and London: The University of Georgia Press. ISBN 08-2033-625-4. 
  • Irvine, Andy (1988). Aiming for the Heart (1st ed.). Germany: Heupferd Musik Verlag GmbH. ISBN 39-2344-501-6. 
  • Irvine, Andy (2008). Aiming for the Heart: Irish Song Affairs (2nd expanded ed.). Germany: Heupferd Musik Verlag GmbH. ISBN 978-3-92-344505-9. 
  • Irwin, Colin (2003). In Search of the Craíc. London: André Deutsch. ISBN 02-3300-004-6. 
  • Moore, Christy (2000). One Voice: My Life In Song. London: Lir/Hodder and Stoughton. ISBN 03-4076-839-8. 
  • Ó Callanain, Niall; Walsh, Tommy (1989). The Irish Bouzouki. Ireland: Waltons. ISBN 07-8661-595-8. 
  • O'Toole, Leagues (2006). The Humours of Planxty. Ireland: Hodder Headline. ISBN 03-4083-796-9. 
  • Planxty (Songbook) (1973). London: Mews Music.

See also[edit]

List of Irish theatres and theatre companies


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo O'Toole, Leagues (2006). The Humours of Planxty. Ireland: Hodder Headline. ISBN 03-4083-796-9. 
  2. ^ Andrew Irvine's Filmography page at the BFI ~ Film Forever website. Retrieved on 6 May 2015
  3. ^ A Tale of Five Cities. Page in IMDb (Internet Movie Database). Retrieved on 27 August 2013
  4. ^ a b c Andy Irvine's autobiography – Part 1. Retrieved on 29 July 2013
  5. ^ Round at the Redways. Page in IMDb (Internet Movie Database). Retrieved on 14 December 2013
  6. ^ The Magpies. Listed in Season 2 (1956-57) at the ITV Television Playhouse website. Retrieved on 14 May 2015
  7. ^ A Voice in Vision. Page in IMDb (Internet Movie Database). Retrieved on 15 May 2015
  8. ^ Room at the Top. Page in IMDb (Internet Movie Database). Retrieved on 27 August 2013
  9. ^ The Radio Drama Company, BBC Homepage. Retrieved on 9 October 2013.
  10. ^ a b Andy Irvine – Celtic Roots... Dustbowl Inspiration, in Frets Issue No. 73, March 1985.
  11. ^ More Songs By Woody Guthrie And Cisco Houston, Melodisc Records Ltd MLP12-106, 1955.
  12. ^ "I saw this yellow 12" LP in the window of Melodisc Records in Earlham Street off Shaftesbury Avenue." Rocket Launcher, an interview with Irvine in Folk Roots No.340, October 2011.
  13. ^ About Andy – Instruments. Retrieved on 26 July 2013
  14. ^ a b Andy Irvine at 60 By Susanne Kalweit, in FolkWorld. Retrieved on 28 December 2013.
  15. ^ a b c Sleeve notes from Andy Irvine – Rude Awakening, Green Linnet GLCD 1114, 1991.
  16. ^ a b c Sleeve notes from Andy Irvine – Rain on the Roof, Andy Irvine AK-1, 1996.
  17. ^ Way Out There, in Folk Roots No.208, October 2000.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i Huntington, Gale; Herrmann, Lani; Dr Moulden, John, eds. (2010). Sam Henry's Songs of the People. Athens, GA and London: The University of Georgia Press. ISBN 08-2033-625-4. 
  19. ^ a b Review: Andy Irvine and Friends. (Review of a performance by LAPD). Retrieved on 24 July 2013
  20. ^ a b Sweeney's Men (Interview) (28 October 2013). The John Murray Show with Miriam / Music & Chat with Sweeney's Men. (Podcast). Dublin: RTÉ Radio 1.  Retrieved on 15 December 2013.
  21. ^ Interview with Liam O'Flynn and Andy Irvine, by Paul Magnussen (1982), Andy Irvine's website.  Retrieved on 1 March 2014.
  22. ^ Sweeney's Men article by Colin Harper, 2001. Retrieved on 24 July 2013
  23. ^ a b c Irwin, Colin (2003). In Search of the Craíc. London: André Deutsch. ISBN 02-3300-004-6. 
  24. ^ Sleeve notes from Sweeney's Men CD, Castle Communications Plc, ESM CD 435, 1996.
  25. ^ Singing The Fishing – Various Artists, Topic Records TSCD803, 1960.
  26. ^ a b Moist, Kevin. "Sweet Combinations of Sound - Irish Folk Legend Andy Irvine.".  Retrieved on 2 April 2015.
  27. ^ Sweeney's Men LP, Transatlantic Records Ltd, TRA SAM 37, 1968.
  28. ^ a b c d e Sleeve notes from Sweeney's Men LP, Transatlantic Records Ltd, TRA SAM 37, 1968.
  29. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Irvine, Andy (1988). Aiming for the Heart. Germany: Heupferd Musik Verlag GmbH. ISBN 39-2344-501-6. 
  30. ^ a b Planxty - The Well Below The Valley, Polydor 2383 232, 1973.
  31. ^ a b Planxty – Cold Blow and the Rainy Night, Polydor 2442 130, 1974.
  32. ^ Andy Irvine/Paul Brady, Mulligan LUN 008, 1976.
  33. ^ a b Andy Irvine – Rainy Sundays... Windy Dreams LP, Tara Records TARA 3002, 1980.
  34. ^ a b c Eastern Promise, in Folk Roots No.110, August 1992.
  35. ^ a b c Ritchie, Fiona. "Andy Irvine Interview: Life on the road, Balkan music, East Wind, Riverdance, Mosaic and Mozaik. (Perthshire, 2005)".  Retrieved on 20 November 2014.
  36. ^ a b O'Cinnéide, Barra (2002). Riverdance: The Phenomenon. Ireland: Blackhall Publishing. ISBN 19-0165-790-6. 
  37. ^ Heading East, in Folk Roots No.153, March 1996.
  38. ^ Rens van der Zalm biography Retrieved on 3 April 2015.
  39. ^ a b Transnational..., in Folk Roots No.295/296, Jan/Feb 2008.
  40. ^ a b L. O'Flynn, A. Irvine, P. Glackin, D. Lunny (Interview) (9 December 2012). Miriam O'Callaghan meets... LAPD Liam O'Flynn, Andy Irvine, Paddy Glackin, Dónal Lunny. (Podcast). Dublin: RTÉ Radio 1.  Retrieved on 11 October 2013.
  41. ^ Sleeve notes from Andy Irvine 70th Birthday Concert at Vicar St 2012, Andy Irvine AK-5, 2014.
  42. ^ Moore, Christy (2000). One Voice. London: Lir/Hodder and Stoughton. ISBN 03-4076-839-8. 
  43. ^ Planxty, Polydor 2383 186, 1973.
  44. ^ a b c Sleeve notes from Planxty, Polydor 2383 186, 1973.
  45. ^ a b c d e f Planxty (Songbook). London: Mews Music. 1973. 
  46. ^ a b c Sleeve notes from Planxty - The Well Below The Valley, Polydor 2383 232, 1973.
  47. ^ a b c d Sleeve notes from Planxty - Cold Blow and the Rainy Night, Polydor 2442 130, 1974.
  48. ^ "Mominsko Horo", Published at Mandolin Tab website.  Retrieved on 19 May 2015.
  49. ^ a b c Andy Irvine and Paul Brady (Interview) (20 April 2012). Miriam O'Callaghan meets... Paul Brady and Andy Irvine. (Podcast). Dublin: RTÉ Radio 1.  Retrieved on 11 October 2013.
  50. ^ a b c d Andy Irvine's autobiography – Part 7. Retrieved on 30 July 2013
  51. ^ Sleeve notes from The 3rd Irish Folk Festival in Concert, InterCord INT 181.008, 1976.
  52. ^ The 3rd Irish Folk Festival in Concert, InterCord INT 181.008, 1976.
  53. ^ Sleeve notes from Andy Irvine/Paul Brady LP, Mulligan LUN 008, 1976.
  54. ^ Sleeve notes from The 4th Irish Folk Festival on the Road, InterCord INT 180.038, 1977.
  55. ^ Andy Irvine – Rainy Sundays... Windy Dreams CD, Wundertüte TÜT 72.141, 1989.
  56. ^ The 4th Irish Folk Festival on the Road, InterCord INT 180.038, 1977.
  57. ^ Sleeve notes from The 5th Irish Folk Festival, InterCord INT 180.046, 1978.
  58. ^ The 5th Irish Folk Festival, InterCord INT 180.046, 1978.
  59. ^ Mick Hanly – As I Went Over Blackwater, Mulligan LUN 040, 1980.
  60. ^ Sleeve notes from Mick Hanly – As I Went Over Blackwater, Mulligan LUN 040, 1980.
  61. ^ The Gathering, Greenhays Recordings GR 705, 1981. Marketed by Flying Fish Inc., Chicago, Ill.
  62. ^ a b c Sleeve notes from The Gathering, Greenhays Recordings GR 705, 1981.
  63. ^ Paul Brady – Welcome Here Kind Stranger, Mulligan LUN 024, 1978.
  64. ^ a b c Sleeve notes from Paul Brady – The Missing Liberty Tapes, Abirgreen/Compass Records, 2002.
  65. ^ A photo of this instrument is shown on page 4 of Ó Callanain, Niall; Walsh, Tommy (1989). The Irish Bouzouki. Ireland: Waltons. ISBN 07-8661-595-8. 
  66. ^ Planxty - After The Break LP, Tara Records, TARA 3001, 1979.
  67. ^ a b c Sleeve notes from Planxty - After The Break LP, Tara Records, TARA 3001, 1979.
  68. ^ Sleeve notes from Andy Irvine – Rainy Sundays... Windy Dreams LP, Tara Records TARA 3002, 1980.
  69. ^ High Kings of Tara, Tara Records TARA 3003, 1980.
  70. ^ Sleeve notes from High Kings of Tara, Tara Records TARA 3003, 1980.
  71. ^ Planxty – After The Break CD, Tara Records Ltd, TARACD 3001, 1992.
  72. ^ Planxty - The Woman I Loved So Well LP, Tara Records, TARA 3005, 1980.
  73. ^ a b c d e f Sleeve notes from Planxty - The Woman I Loved So Well LP, Tara Records, TARA 3005, 1980.
  74. ^ a b c Andy Irvine's autobiography – Part 8. Retrieved on 7 March 2015
  75. ^ a b Folk Friends 2 at discogs website. Retrieved on 7 March 2015.
  76. ^ Dick Gaughan & Andy Irvine – Parallel Lines, FolkFreak (FF4007), 1982.
  77. ^ a b Sleeve notes from Dick Gaughan & Andy Irvine – Parallel Lines, FolkFreak FF4007, 1982.
  78. ^ Planxty - Words & Music LP, WEA Ireland, 2401011, 1983.
  79. ^ a b Sleeve notes from Planxty - Words & Music LP, WEA Ireland, 2401011, 1983.
  80. ^ "Aragon Mill", Published at Si Kahn's website.  Retrieved on 4 May 2015.
  81. ^ Ágnes Zsigmondi's biography. Retrieved on 20 March 2015
  82. ^ a b Andy Irvine's autobiography – Part 9. Retrieved on 25 August 2013
  83. ^ a b Mozaik – Changing Trains, Compass Records 744682, 2007.
  84. ^ a b Mosaic, in Folk Roots No.29, November 1985.
  85. ^ a b Live Reviews, in Folk Roots No.28, October 1985.
  86. ^ Andy Irvine, in Folk Roots No.46, April 1987.
  87. ^ a b Street Cred, in Folk Roots No.66, December 1988.
  88. ^ Andy Irvine's autobiography – Part 10. Retrieved on 25 August 2013
  89. ^ a b Sleeve notes from Patrick Street, Green Linnet SIF 1071, 1986.
  90. ^ Sleeve notes from The Best of Patrick Street, NECTAR NTMCD503, 1995.
  91. ^ a b Patrick Street – On The Fly, Loftus Music LM002, 2007.
  92. ^ a b c d e Sleeve notes from Patrick Street – On The Fly, Loftus Music LM002, 2007.
  93. ^ Patrick Street, Green Linnet SIF 1071, 1986.
  94. ^ No. 2 Patrick Street, Green Linnet SIF 1088, 1988.
  95. ^ Sleeve notes from No. 2 Patrick Street, Green Linnet SIF 1088, 1988.
  96. ^ Patrick Street – Irish Times, Green Linnet/Special Delivery Records (a division of Topics Records) SPD 1033, 1990.
  97. ^ Sleeve notes from Patrick Street – Irish Times, Green Linnet SPD 1033, 1990.
  98. ^ a b c d Ó Callanain, Niall; Walsh, Tommy (1989). The Irish Bouzouki. Ireland: Waltons. ISBN 07-8661-595-8. 
  99. ^ Andy Irvine – Rude Awakening, Green Linnet GLCD 1114, 1991.
  100. ^ Andy Irvine's autobiography – Part 11. Retrieved on 28 July 2013
  101. ^ Review of East Wind By Richard Foss (Allmusic). Retrieved on 24 April 2012
  102. ^ a b Sleeve notes from East Wind, Tara CD 3027, 1992.
  103. ^ Reviews, in Folk Roots No.108, June 1992.
  104. ^ Gurr, Julian. "Andy Irvine - 'Supergrouper'".  Retrieved on 6 April 2015.
  105. ^ Patrick Street – All in Good Time, Green Linnet GLCD 1049, 1992.
  106. ^ a b c d e f Sleeve notes from Patrick Street – All in Good Time, Green Linnet GLCD 1049, 1992.
  107. ^ The Story of Belfast by Mary Lowry, circa 1913. From the 'Library Ireland' website. Retrieved on 6 November 2013
  108. ^ "Goodbye, Monday Blues", Published at Si Kahn's website.  Retrieved on 5 May 2015.
  109. ^ Patrick Street – Cornerboys, Green Linnet GLCD 1160, 1996.
  110. ^ a b Sleeve notes from Patrick Street – Cornerboys, Green Linnet GLCD 1160, 1996.
  111. ^ Andy Irvine – Rain on the Roof, Andy Irvine AK-1, 1996.
  112. ^ Patrick Street – Made in Cork, Green Linnet GLCD 1184, 1997
  113. ^ a b c d e f Sleeve notes from Patrick Street – Made in Cork, Green Linnet GLCD 1184, 1997.
  114. ^ Live From Patrick Street, Green Linnet GLCD 1194, 1999.
  115. ^ a b Sleeve notes from Parachilna - Andy Irvine with Rens van der Zalm, Andy Irvine AK-4, 2013.
  116. ^ a b c d e Sleeve notes from Live From Patrick Street, Green Linnet GLCD 1194, 1999.
  117. ^ Andy Irvine – Way Out Yonder, Andy Irvine AK-2, 2000.
  118. ^ a b Sleeve notes from Andy Irvine – Way Out Yonder, Andy Irvine AK-2, 2000.
  119. ^ Andy Irvine's Mozaik. Retrieved on 24 July 2013
  120. ^ Sleeve notes from Mozaik – Live from the Powerhouse, Compass Records 743782, 2004.
  121. ^ Patrick Street – Street Life, Green Linnet GLCD 1222, 2002.
  122. ^ a b c d Sleeve notes from Patrick Street – Street Life, Green Linnet GLCD 1222, 2002.
  123. ^ Andy Irvine's journal – May 2005. Retrieved on 28 July 2013
  124. ^ Peter Ratzenbeck – Resonances, Woodcraft Productions WP-963, 2007.
  125. ^ Sleeve notes from Peter Ratzenbeck – Resonances, Woodcraft Productions WP-963, 2007.
  126. ^ a b Sleeve notes from Mozaik – Changing Trains, Compass Records 744682, 2007.
  127. ^ Short Biography of Marianne Green from Performing Acts. Retrieved on 28 December 2013.
  128. ^ Dear Irish Boy – Marianne Green with Andy Irvine, Glas Records MEGCD02, 2009.
  129. ^ Review of Marianne Green's Dear Irish Boy by Tony Hendry for Living Tradition Magazine. Retrieved on 28 December 2013.
  130. ^ a b Sleeve notes from Dear Irish Boy – Marianne Green with Andy Irvine, Glas Records MEGCD02, 2009.
  131. ^ Andy Irvine – Abocurragh, Andy Irvine AK-3, 2010.
  132. ^ Review of the launch of Abocurragh by BBC News Northern Ireland, 18 September 2010. Retrieved on 8 September 2013.
  133. ^ a b Review of Abocurragh in The Guardian. Retrieved on 27 July 2013
  134. ^ a b Sleeve notes from Andy Irvine – Abocurragh, Andy Irvine AK-3, 2010.
  135. ^ Reviews from 'ticketmaster' website. Retrieved on 2 January 2014
  136. ^ Information sheet for LAPD. Retrieved on 2 January 2014
  137. ^ Schedule from Vicar Street website. Retrieved on 2 January 2014
  138. ^ Schedule page from LAPD website. Retrieved on 2 January 2014
  139. ^ Review of LAPD in Irish Times, March 2013. Retrieved on 27 September 2013.
  140. ^ "Andy Irvine is still going strong in his seventies." in Irish Examiner, 5 February 2015. Retrieved on 13 February 2015.
  141. ^ Andy's 70th Birthday Concerts – June 2012. Retrieved on 5 September 2013
  142. ^ Andy Irvine 70th Birthday Concert At Vicar St 2012. Retrieved on 3 October 2014
  143. ^ Woody 100 Legacy Show – Schedule from Vicar Street website. Retrieved on 2 January 2014
  144. ^ The Woody 100 Legacy Show – June 2012. Retrieved on 26 July 2013
  145. ^ Parachilna, by Andy Irvine & Rens van der Zalm. Retrieved on 7 November 2013
  146. ^ a b Andy Irvine talks to Peter Browne about his album Parachilna (20 April 2014). The Rolling Wave (Podcast). Dublin: RTÉ Radio 1.  Retrieved on 21 April 2014.
  147. ^ News: Usher's Island – December 2014. Retrieved on 24 December 2014
  148. ^ Usher's Island at Celtic Connections 2015 by Rob Adams in The Herald Scotland, Wednesday 28 January 2015. Retrieved on 11 May 2015
  149. ^ Andy Irvine's website Calendar. Retrieved on 2 January 2014
  150. ^ Cork City Council website for 'Mother Jones'. Retrieved on 27 July 2013
  151. ^ "Andy Irvine has pledged to donate some of his fee to Shell to Sea, a massive gesture for which we are hugely grateful." Changed perspectives By Fearbolg – S2S, in indymedia Ireland, 31 July 2007, at 22:45. Retrieved on 28 December 2013.
  152. ^ Andy Irvine's Discography. Retrieved on 4 August 2013.
  153. ^ Re-released on Sweeney's Men CD, Castle Communications Plc, ESM CD 435, 1996.

External links[edit]