O’Donoghue’s

It was August 1962
When I first set foot in O’Donoghue’s
A world of music, friends and booze
Opened up before me
I never could’ve guessed as I walked through the door
Just what the future had in store
A crossroads for my life I saw
Lying there to taunt me.

Well, I was an actor, I played straight
I played at the Gaiety, played at the Gate
My mother in 1928
Had trod those boards before me
I was getting tired of the company
An actor’s life did not suit me
I said “Goodbye; you’ll never see me
Back here at Neary’s.”

Johnny Moynihan in his fusty coat
Was the first to play there in Meirion Row
And he brought the bouzouki to Ireland, you know
“Way storm along, John!”
Paddy and Maureen O’Donoghue
Ciaran Bourke, Luke Kelly, Ronnie Drew
Barney McKenna and me and you
In the early 1960’s.

Well, Paddy and Maureen very very sound
Though she liked to camp on the moral high ground
If you had long hair you were outward bound
Go down blood red roses
Ronnie Drew in his fine suit of blue
And a voice like gravel that would cut you in two
We thought he was Dublin through and through
But he blew in from Dun Laoghaire

Joe Ryan and John Kelly in the front bar
There fiddles are form the County Clare
Joe Heaney sings in the cold night air
In the laneway after closing
Our sea shanties in perfect tune
And Séamus Ennis in the afternoon
It was all over much too soon
Days of Wine and Roses.

Well, Banjo Barney calling the tune
Mary Jordan’s a whizz on the spoons
Up the Swannee and Down the Broom
Barney’s rising to it
They carry him bodily out to the jacks
He empties his bladder and they carry him back
He swallows his pint and he’s right back on track
How the fuck does he do it?

Any afternoon you might find there
Luke Kelly and his banjo and his red hair
O what times what an atmosphere
What more could a young man wish for?
How I’d spend my time was never in doubt
This is what life was all about
A bowl of soup and a pint of stout
Agus fáigamid siúid mar a tá sé

David Smythe never short of a witty phrase
Sonny Brogan love the way he plays
Ted McKenna, God bless the days
Of Italian mandolinos
At closing time we didn’t go far
Just down the road to the Pike Coffee Bar
“The usual suspects; there you are!
Have yez no homes to go to?”

Putting up a note on the message board
Sweeney’s Men have a gig, O Lord
We have to meet at 12 o’clock
For the journey down to Galway
Bu the Sweeney van broke down at the door
And we didn’t get started until a quarter past four
To the merry tune of the Dolan snore
Haul away me Rosie

It all came to an end in ’68
The rest of the world was lying in wait
And I started out for a new landscape
Set sail for the Pirin Mountains
From the old North Wall sailed away
And all me friends were there on the quay
Won’t be back for many’s a day
But it was bloody great while it lasted!

It was August 1962
When I first set foot in O’Donoghue’s
A world of music, friends and booze
Hastening towards me
I never could’ve guessed as I walked through the door
Just what the future had in store
A blueprint for my life I saw
Lying there before me.

Words & Music by Andy Irvine

“O’Donoghue’s”, written and sung by Andy Irvinereminiscing about his early days in Dublin, when he first started frequenting this pub in August 1962.

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