Th Great Ronnie Drew Passes Away

Irish musician Ronnie Drew dead at 73
The Associated Press
Published: August 16, 2008

LONDON: Ronnie Drew, a founding member of the Irish folk group The
Dubliners, died Saturday, a family friend said. He was 73.

Drew passed away in Dublin after a lengthy battle with cancer, friend
Brian Hand said.

Drew, born in Dublin in 1934, formed The Dubliners in 1962 with Luke
Kelly, Ciaran Bourke and Barney McKenna.

Their songs include "The Molly Maguires," "Dirty Old Town" and "Seven
Drunken Nights." The Dubliners also recorded with The Pogues, and
together they had a hit with "The Irish Rover." Drew also released a
string of solo albums.

Earlier this year, a group of musicians — including Bono of U2,
Christy Moore, The Pogues' Shane MacGowan, and Sinead O'Connor —
released a song called "The Ballad of Ronnie Drew." All profits from
the single went to the Irish Cancer Society.

The first chorus, sung by Bono, celebrated Drew's gravelly voice:
"Here's to the Ronnie, the voice we adore; Like coals from a coal
bucket scraping the floor; Sing out his praises in music and malt; And
if you're not Irish, that isn't your fault."

Irish President Mary McAleese called Drew a "champion of traditional
Irish music.

"With The Dubliners, he re-energized and refreshed our unique musical
heritage," she said. "He brought great pleasure to the people of
Ireland and yet more around the world. Ronnie will be greatly missed."

In a statement on U2's official web site, Bono said Drew created
"music to inspire, to console."

"Ronnie has left his earthly tour for one of the heavens," the
statement said. "They need him up there ... it's a little too quiet
and pious."

Drew's wife, Deirdre, died last year. He is survived by two children
and five grandchildren.