Musical connection sees the Dubliners’ mantle passed on

Alan Owens


Alan Owens

Damien Dempsey, John Sheahan and Declan O'Rourke - the New Triangle, coming to the Lime Tree on October 17
A “NATURAL empathy” between three leading lights of the Irish music scene has led to the ultimate folk collaboration.

A “NATURAL empathy” between three leading lights of the Irish music scene has led to the ultimate folk collaboration.

The New Triangle, coming to the Lime Tree for a very special concert later this month, features John Sheahan of the Dubliners, Damien Dempsey and Declan O’Rourke - a veritable supergroup.

Sheahan, the last surviving member of the quintessential Irish folk band’s ‘definitive line-up’, whose mother hailed from Ardagh and father from Glin, sees himself as the godfather of the group, calling himself the “last man standing”.

The collaboration came about, he says, by accident, when he invited Dempsey and O’Rourke to play a tune in a documentary about the Dubliners. Discovering a musical connection between the fiddle player and poet and the heirs apparent of the Irish folk scene was, it seems, never in doubt.

“While the television thing went very well, I was a little hesitant - just because it worked for five minutes on tv, doesn’t mean it will work for two hours,” admits John of a booking to play the Temple Bar trad fest in February.

“But we got together and planned out a programme and worked it out and sure it worked like a charm. The lads were saying to me it was a pity to leave it like that, why don’t we do a tour. So we did.”

This week the trio played to two standing ovations in the Town Hall in Galway - one for each half of the show, something Sheahan says he had never seen before in a 50 year career.

The trio are performing Dubliner songs, old and new material, poetry - and generally enjoying each other’s company and talents.

“It is all very relaxed,” says John. “Somebody described the show last night as if we were having a session and the audience were eavesdropping on it, and that was a really good description I thought - having the craic and a few jibes at each other, that kind of thing.”

The Dubliners were famous for being able to appear raw and unrehearsed, while a magic formed when all five stood together. The feeling is some of that magic has been captured in the New Triangle. The trio seem a natural fit.

“They are just so open and spirited characters,” John says of Dempsey and O’Rourke. “They adored Luke and Ronnie - they cite them as being big influences in their own singing style. It is a natural bridging of the generations in a way.”