Ronnie Drew was born in Glasthule, Co Dublin in 1934. Until his late twenties he worked - unhappily and often badly - in various jobs: apprentice electrician, trainee draper's assistant, salesman, telephonist, language teacher. In 1962 his casual singing sessions with Barney McKenna, Luke Kelly and Ciarán Bourke evolved into something regular and the men started performing together as the group that became the Dubliners. It was a seismic moment in Irish cultural history. The Dubliners combined brilliance, danger and a raucous earthiness, and they broke down the barriers between popular and traditional music. The group was, and remains, a source of inspiration to artists such as U2 and Shane MacGowan. And at its heart always - even after he had left it - was Ronnie Drew. In the mid-1990s Ronnie developed a solo career that saw him combine his two passions, singing and story-telling, and explore his interests in a range of other artistic activities - everything from acting to jazz singing. He remained working until a few months before his death in August 2008.
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