RTE Review: Andy Irvine 70th Birthday Concert Vicar St DVD/CD

Year: 2014

Duration: 91 minutes

Friends and guests gathered to perform with Andy at Vicar Street in 2012, now on CD and DVD

Friends and guests gathered to perform with Andy at Vicar Street in 2012, now on CD and DVD

Through nigh on 50 years Andy Irvine has been a constant star in the firmament of Irish music. Many of us first came to know the legendary musician through Planxty, but those of us of a certain age knew him well before that through his work with Sweeney’s Men.

In that unit, Andy’s comrades were Johnny Moynihan and Terry Woods. Both gentlemen feature on this lively recording of Andy’s celebratory nights at Vicar Street in 2012, when a gang of friends and guests in various combinations – LAPD, Mozaik, Paul Brady, Donal Lunny –  performed with the legendary balladeer.

“Only thing missing here is the audience of 1,000 people singing Happy Birthdayto me!“ writes Andy in the liner notes. “That was very touching. All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better 70th birthday experience.”

The immortal West Coast of Clare – simply one of the greatest love songs ever written – is there towards the end of the set list, which concludes with a version of the always spirited A Blacksmith Courted Me. Many of us first heard these songs on that first Planxty album, sometimes known as `the black album.’ My Heart’s Tonight in Ireland is also in there, another Andy classic that is uniquely his, bearing the stratum of all his musical experience, by way of a deeply touching ode to his native land.

What is Andy’s gift? It can be best evoked in the listener’s sense of one who is at ease with the traditional songs he is singing, be they of English, American or Irish provenance. Central to the gift is that oak-smoked voice and that lyric gift resplendent in his own vivid songs.There is an accompanying DVD featuring five extra tracks from the Vicar St celebrations, which is available from Andy’s website.

As long as Andy Irvine sings about his youth in Eastern Europe and the Balkans where he was inclined to ramble, as long as he invokes precious nights in O’Donoghues on Merrion Row, or recalls that moment he sat down in a pub in Milltown, he has the secret of eternal youth.

Paddy Kehoe


Andy Irvine is still going strong into his seventies | Irish Examiner

Thursday, February 05, 2015

By Gerry Quinn

HE MAY have been 72 by the time it hit the record stores, but Gerry Quinn says musician Andy Irvine is justifiably proud of the CD and DVD of his 70th birthday concerts in Dublin’s Vicar St.

For the recording, the indomitable folk-singer brought together, over two nights, bands and performers with whom he has been associated to perform a pair of remarkable gigs.

The concept was to gather the various bands of which Irvine has been a member, starting with Sweeney’s Men. This was a trio that comprised Andy, Johnny Moynihan and Terry Woods. “Next up was one of my favourite bands, Mozaik, featuring Dónal Lunny, Rens van der Zalm, Bruce Molsky and Nikola Parov. Then, we had the incomparable Paul Brady, who was in fantastic form over the two nights,” says Irvine. “I’ve never seen him as ebullient. Paul is ebullient at the best of times, but he was super-ebullient on those nights.”

Featured on the Vicar St recordings are rousing versions of ‘Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore’ and ‘Mary and the Soldier’, both originally heard on Irvine and Brady’s seminal album from 1976, Andy Irvine and Paul Brady. LAPD, a quartet of Irvine, Lunny, Paddy Glackin and Liam O’Flynn closed out the concerts on both evenings.

“Unfortunately, LAPD is no more,” says Irvine. “We have changed into Usher’s Island, which is a new band that Dónal, Paddy and myself have formed with Mike McGoldrick and John Doyle — I might even have a 75th birthday bash,” he laughs.

Brought up in London, with an Irish mother from Co Antrim, Irvine began as an actor with the BBC Radio Rep, before coming to Dublin in 1962. “When I came to Ireland, I discovered a whole bunch of people — a whole kind of society of people who were into the same kind of music I was into. But, also, they had the same attitude as me to society and life. I hadn’t come across anything like that before. In London, there weren’t many people I could feel that content with, the way O’Donoghue’s became the centre of my world.”

Irvine is referring to the famed music pub on Dublin’s Merrion Row. On the album’s liner notes, he writes: “It was my epiphany and I spent my days and nights there, following the musical track that has led me onwards ever since.”

His epic song, ‘O’Donoghue’s’, is one of the many fine tracks featured. “But I’m not sure it conveys the excitement and the thrill of almost discovering a new planet,” he says. “When I came over first, I hung out in Neary’s on Chatham Street. I was an actor and that’s where the actors were to be found. But when I went to O’Donoghue’s, I immediately abandoned Neary’s. I continued to act, because it was the only way I had of making a living.

“But in O’Donoghue’s I was immediately made welcome by Paddy O’Donoghue. There were lovely people there, who welcomed me and excited me and entertained me. I was never made to feel happier in my whole life that in that bar in the early 1960s,” says Irvine.

Irvine’s proclivity for touring and travelling is legendary. But has his wanderlust diminished in recent years?“I would love to say it has, but it hasn’t,” he says. Recent gigs with Sweeney’s Men have been followed by more rehearsing and gigging with Usher’s Island. There are also plans for a new album by Mozaik, followed by further concerts.

“All this stuff is happening and it’s fantastic. I’m 72 and I’m still right in the middle of some of the best music available,” says Irvine.

Andy Irvine’s 70th Birthday Concert At Vicar Street 2012, featuring Sweeney’s Men, Mozaik, LAPD, Andy Irvine and Paul Brady, is out now. See

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via Irish Examiner.

This Sunday 9pm hear in full 70th Birthday Concert CD!

ANDY IRVINE – 70th Birthday Concert @Vicar Street – CD Review by Folk All

Andy Irvine is without doubt one of the most respected, prolific and talented folk musicians to come out of Ireland, and as he reached 70 to mark the milestone he decided to put on a two night show in Dublin surrounded by a gathering of impressive musicians from his past and present.
Andy Irvine


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