Christy Moore

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Christy Moore
Moore performing in 2008
Moore performing in 2008
Background information
Birth nameChristopher Andrew Moore
Born (1945-05-07) 7 May 1945 (age 78)
OriginNewbridge, County Kildare, Ireland
GenresFolk, traditional Irish
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar, bodhrán
Years active1969–present

Christopher Andrew "Christy" Moore (born 7 May 1945) is an Irish folk singer, songwriter and guitarist. In addition to his significant success as an individual, he is one of the founding members of Planxty and Moving Hearts. His first album, Paddy on the Road was recorded with Dominic Behan in 1969. In 2007, he was named as Ireland's greatest living musician in RTÉ's People of the Year Awards.[1]

Early life[edit]

Moore was born in Newbridge, County Kildare, Ireland and attended Newbridge College. His mother Nancy Moore was a Fine Gael election candidate. He was originally a bank employee who wanted to express himself using traditional music. During a bank strike in 1966, which lasted twelve weeks, he went to England, as many striking officials did, but didn't return when the strike was settled. "I had a wild and wonderful time in England, with no bank manager looking over my shoulder," he said. Doing general labouring work, he frequented the folk clubs and the Irish music pubs where he met Seamus Ennis, Margaret Barry, Luke Kelly, Martin Byrnes and many other traditional musicians.[2] When Irish singing trio The Grehan Sisters, with whom Moore was previously acquainted, moved to the north of England from Dublin in 1967, they assisted Moore to get a higher profile by giving him contacts and support slots on their concerts.

Musical career[edit]

1973 brought his first major release, Prosperous, which brought together the four musicians who shortly thereafter formed Planxty: Liam O'Flynn, Andy Irvine and Dónal Lunny. For a time they called themselves "CLAD", an acronym of their names, but soon decided on Planxty.[2]

After leaving Planxty in 1975, Moore continued on his solo career, reforming his old band on occasion (which he has been doing ever since). He also formed the band Moving Hearts with Lunny and five other musicians in 1980. In 1987 he appeared on Gay Byrne's The Late Late Show performing with The Dubliners for their 25th anniversary. In 2000, he published his autobiography, One Voice.[2]

Moore's earlier lifestyle resulted in a decline in health and several operations. Moore's battle with alcohol, and subsequent heart operations, have taken their toll. At the end of the 1990s, Moore reduced his workload for medical reasons.[2]

Some of Moore's songs are heavily influenced by drink and the effects of drink, his song "Delirium Tremens" being a good example. Listening to Johnny Mulhern's song "Hard Cases" caused Moore to recall the Galway drinking scene with local musicians Mickey Finn, Pete Galligan, Corky and Terry Smith.

On 17 April 2009, Moore released his first new studio album in four years, entitled Listen, and promoted it through a series of live gigs.[3]

In December 2011, Moore released the album Folk Tale. His next album Where I Come From was released in November 2013 and features a new protest song called "Arthur's Day". The album peaked at number three in the Irish album charts.[4] On the road was released in November 2017, while his most recent album Magic Nights was released in November 2019.

Political and social commentary[edit]

Moore is best known for his political and social commentary which reflects a left-wing, Irish republican perspective, despite the fact that his mother was a Fine Gael county councillor and parliamentary candidate in Kildare.[5] He supported the republican H-Block protestors with the albums H-Block in 1978, the launch of which was raided by the police, and The Spirit of Freedom.[6] He has also recorded songs by the hunger striker Bobby Sands, including "Back Home in Derry" which is based on Gordon Lightfoot's song "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald". He ceased supporting the military activities of the IRA in 1987 as a result of the Enniskillen bombing.[7]

Political songs he has performed throughout his career include Mick Hanly's "On the Blanket" about the protests of republican prisoners, "Viva la Quinta Brigada", about the Irishmen who fought in the Spanish Civil War against Franco, and "Minds Locked Shut" about Bloody Sunday in Derry.

Moore has endorsed a long list of leftist support causes, ranging from El Salvador to Mary Robinson in the 1990 presidential election.[2] He has incorporated songs about Salvador Allende ('Allende') and Ronald Reagan ('Ronnie Reagon') into his repertoire.[8]

At the Glastonbury Festival in 2005, he sang about the Palestinian solidarity activist Rachel Corrie. He supported the anti-nuclear movement in Ireland playing in many concerts and at festivals in Carnsore Point for the cause.

Banned song[edit]

"They Never Came Home" is a song about the Stardust fire of 1981 where 48 people died. The song was recorded on the Ordinary Man album and was released on the B-side of a single in 1985. The song achieved notoriety when Moore was taken to court over claims in the song prejudicial to an ongoing court case determining compensation. For instance, the song claimed, "hundreds of children are injured and maimed, and all just because the fire exits were chained". Mr Justice Murphy ordered the Ordinary Man album to be withdrawn from the shops, and costs were awarded against Moore. "Another Song Is Born" was recorded for the album's re-release. "They Never Came Home" later appeared on his box set and on the album Where I Come From.[9][10]

Musical style[edit]

His solo style includes driving rhythms on guitar and bodhrán as well as slower ballads.


Moore's brother Barry, whose stage name is Luka Bloom, is also a singer-songwriter.[11] His nephew, Conor Byrne, is also a traditional flautist and tin whistle player, with Christy appearing on his Wind Dancer album.[12]

Memorable events[edit]

Detention incident, 2004[edit]

In October 2004, Moore was stopped and detained by Special Branch officers at the Welsh port of Holyhead, taken into an office and questioned about the lyrics of his songs.[13][14] The following day, he released a statement saying: "My driver and I were stopped and held for two hours at Holyhead last Monday, under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2002. My driver and I were held separately in two interrogation rooms. I found the whole experience threatening. I was questioned about the contents of my briefcase." Despite initial reports to the contrary, the singer's van, which was full of musical equipment, was not searched. "I was questioned about lyrics of songs and I was asked a lot of personal questions about members of my family and my children and about my home. At no time was I given any explanation as to why I was being held and interrogated in this manner", he added. He said the fact that Irish people are still being treated this way on their way to Britain is very "saddening". "I had hoped to deal with this matter out of the public domain. But seeing as it has become a news item, I feel the need to offer my side of the story. I found the whole affair quite frightening."[15]

Penguin book of Irish poetry[edit]

In 2010 Christy Moore's song "Lisdoonvarna" which he wrote gained entry in The Penguin Book of Irish Poetry.[16]


Solo albums[edit]

Live albums[edit]


With Planxty[edit]

Live and compilation


With Moving Hearts[edit]

Compilation albums[edit]



  • Christy (1995) 54 mins – Christy reflects on his life and career.


  • Christy Moore Uncovered (2001) 104 mins – features collaborations with Jimmy MacCarthy, Wally Page, Shane MacGowan, Sinéad O'Connor and John Spillane.
  • Live 2004 (Planxty DVD) The reunion of the hugely popular and influential group after a 20-year hiatus.
  • Christy Moore Live in Dublin 2006 (2006) 143 mins – First time a live solo concert has been recorded and released outside CD format. Filmed over 4 nights in December 2005 and January 2006.
  • Christy Moore's Come All You Dreamers – Live at Barrowland (2009) – Filmed in Barrowland in Glasgow featuring Declan Sinnott.


  1. ^ "Rehab Press Room". Archived from the original on 30 April 2008. Retrieved 22 September 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d e Moore, Christy (2000). One Voice. London: Lir/Hodder and Stoughton. ISBN 0-340-76839-8.
  3. ^ "Listen Its Christy Moore". Irish Music Magazine. 30 March 2009. Archived from the original on 5 May 2009. Retrieved 18 April 2009.
  4. ^ "Christy Moore – Music Charts". Archived from the original on 1 April 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  5. ^ " 19th Dail – Kildare First Preference Votes". Archived from the original on 7 September 2007. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  6. ^ H-Block Archived 9 November 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Desert Island Discs – Castaway : Christy Moore". BBC. 17 June 2007. Archived from the original on 22 September 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  8. ^ Moore, Christy (2003). One Voice. Hodder and Stoughton.
  9. ^ "The story of Christy Moore and the Stardust song". The Dublin People: Northside East. 2 February 2016. Archived from the original on 20 July 2020. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  10. ^ Moore, Christy (2003)."One Voice"p.168. Hodder and Stoughton.London.
  11. ^ Article in Hot Press mentioning that Christy and Luka Bloom are brothers Archived 3 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Christy Moore". 26 October 2008. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2009.
  13. ^ Melia, Paul (22 October 2004). "Christy Moore 'frightened' by detention at Holyhead". The Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 21 October 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2009.
  14. ^ "Irish singer's port quiz anger". BBC. 22 October 2004. Archived from the original on 22 July 2020. Retrieved 22 October 2009.
  15. ^ "Irish singer Christie Moore was questioned by the British authorities – Irish Music Daily". Archived from the original on 20 January 2014. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  16. ^ "Song Lisdoonvarna in Penguin poetry collection | Ramblinghouse". Archived from the original on 23 February 2014. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  17. ^ "IRMA – Irish Charts". Irish Recorded Music Association. Archived from the original on 23 November 2016. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
  18. ^ "IRMA – Irish Charts". Irish Recorded Music Association. Archived from the original on 22 August 2017. Retrieved 30 November 2019.

External links[edit]