I stumbled across this photo recently online and it brought back so many memories for me. Being at this show was one of two gifts that I ever got off Ronnie (Ronnie Drew) and this is probably one of the best I’ve ever got.
Back in 2006 I was doing my leaving cert in school (final exams of high school) and as part of my music exam I decided I would sing 4 songs. One song was Queens Bohemian Rhapsody another was Master of the House from Les Miserablè, I can’t remember the third and the last one was Raglan Road written by Patrick Kavanagh. I decided i would go and ask Ronnie for help with the song as he had recorded and performed it countless times. He told me to come back next week and he would dig out some sheet music for me to work off. The week later I got a wrapped gift and inside was a new song book that he went out and bought for me. (Later on in college someone borrowed that book and I never saw it again).
Later on in the year I did my exam and went on to pass with high honours. I got in touch with Ronnie to let him know how I did and he was delighted for me. As a gift he went and got me tickets for this Legends of Irish Folk gig in the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin. I remember sitting there watching the show with his wife Deirdre and being in awe of these men and also a bit jealous of the fact I wasn’t up on the stage either. After the show I got to meet most of the performers and Ronnie told them about my exam and the fact I was singing Raglan Road as part of it. I remember being told to “keep going with it”, I wish I could remember by who, but I thought to myself “I will keep going”.
Later on Ronnie gave me a lift home after the gig. We had to walk first from the Gaiety to the car park which was half way down Grafton Street. This was a weekend night so there was crowds of people out on the streets. I remember Ronnie chatting away to me but I can’t remember what he was saying as there was crowds of people swarming around him and screaming and I was so blown back by all this. It was my first time I really experienced his fame as up until then I had only meet him in various family scenarios. This was such a driving factor for me in pursuing my new dream of being a folk singing.
The next day I went and bought the Legends of Irish Folk CD and started to learn the songs and well the rest as they say is history.
Ian Drew Debut Album is out now.