Friday, December 29, 2023

Ireland in 2023: Music and tax haven shenanigans

'Fairytale of New York' played at funeral: Glen Hansard & Lisa O'Neill in lead

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John Sheahan (born 1939), the last surviving member of 'The Dubliners' (the famous group that was founded in 1962) played at the funeral.

"The Rare Auld Times - John Sheahan – 80th Birthday Concert Celebration"

I was in Ireland in the first 3 weeks of December 2023. I was there to attend the funeral of my youngest brother in West Cork.

In Dublin despite the cold, the Christmas spirit was high. I visited The Ginger Man pub and the crowd spilled onto the pavement. A kind doorman prioritised me (I shocked him later by giving him a tip!).

Inside, the iconic Irish Christmas ‘Fairytale of New York’ played with the late frontman for the Pogues Group – Shane MacGowan and the late Kirsty MacColl singing.

James Patrick Donleavy (1926-2017), a New Yorker whose parents were Irish migrants, had served in the US Navy during World War II and came to Ireland in 1946. Trinity College in Dublin after the war was a mecca for adventurous Americans who used the GI Bill as a passport to higher education and he enrolled in the university.

Donleavy's book ‘The Ginger Man’ (1955) was banned in Ireland. ‘A Fairytale of New York’ (1973) had an Irish theme. In the 1980s the London-Irish group the Pogues popularised the song version.

Five years ago Saoirse Ronan, the Irish-American actress, sang 'Fairytale of New York' with Jimmy Fallon, the host of NBC's 'The Tonight Show.'

The Pogues achieved 2nd place in the UK single charts in 1987, and last week 'Fairytale of New York' got a 6th ranking.

SinĂ©ad O'Connor (1966–2023); Shane MacGowan (1957–2023), and Christy Dignam (1960–2023) were leading Irish musicians who died in the year.

In The Ginger Man, Dublin, Ireland