Liam Clancy - Fine man you were

IT is not easy to convey to those who did not live through those years the impact the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem had on Irish culture.

They contributed significantly to rebuilding the best kind of national pride and our self-confidence after the dismal 1950s did so much to break our hearts and spirit.

They brought their brand of Irishness around the world, especially to emigrants living far from home and helped sustain links that might have been lost forever.

Imagine, if you can, the force and power of U2 rooted in the energy and back story of Riverdance and all delivered with great integrity, testosterone and abandon. That might give you some idea of one part of the Clancy Brothers but it is far from the full story.

Liam Clancy, the last of the Clancy Brothers, died in Cork yesterday and his death closes another chapter in the great tradition of Irish music and storytelling.

He was never a virtuoso musician but rather a performer of great emotional depth. He could communicate a sense of longing and injustice, of love and absence that very few could match much less surpass. He told the story of his people and of his country with great dignity and sincerity. There is little more we can ask of any artist.

Fine man you were ...

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