Tom Leader aged 5, was talking to the roadsweeper. Four Irishmen emerged from a house nearby. "They look like 4 nannygoats said the Roadsweeper". "No", said Tom, who had heard them sing, "Nannygoats have horns".
Ciaron Bourke, Barney McKenna, Ronnie Drew and Luke Kelly have beards. Barney's is big, black and bushy and Barney is big, giving an overall impression of a benign Californian black bear. Barney plays the banjo with a dexterity unmatched by anyone else in Britain. Ronnie Drew's beard is still blacker than Barney's, but smaller and trimmer. It encircles his face in such a way that his eyes resemble a cat's peering out of a coal cellar, or a devil glaring out of hell. Ronnie plays guitar and sings in a voice like coke being crushed under a door.
Ciaron's beard is lighter in colour and straggles a little. The hair is not so wiry either. Ciaron is the quiet member of the group. He plays the whistle and his voice has a softer texture than Luke's or Ronnie's. Luke has a smart, sharp ginger beard. The others accuse him of being an intellectual. He is more lone wolf than nannygoat. He sings in a voice to wake the dead and scare recording engineers, and plays the banjo.
Together as the Dubliners they are enough to warm the heart of any Irishman and to frighten the British immigration authorities. They are Dublin's darlings; impossible for an audience to resist and impossible to record. We recorded them.
The Wild Rover was collected by Luke in England. There is also a Dublin version of the song.
Preab San Ol is an old Irish drinking song which was translated by Donald O'Sullivan. Its philosophy appeals particularly to Irish people — since you can't take money with you, you might as well drink it.
The High Reel is a fine example of a Scottish reel which came to Ireland and was much enhanced with Irish grace notes and decorations. Barney uses a lot of trick playing when he plays this reel.
In Cobh, Co. Cork, where Transatlantic Liners dock, there is a spot called The Holy Ground where sailors enjoyed themselves while ashore. It was Luke who collected the next song, Tramps and Hawkers while singing with the group in Scotland.
The last song on this side Home Boys Home has a moral for all tardy women. There are many versions of this song.
The Rocky Road to Dublin is a slip jig and is really our signature tune. It was collected by Colm O'Loughlin.
The Banks of the Roses, a love song, is sung a lot in Ireland.
Barney got the next song The Swallow Tail Reel from Sonny Brogan, an old Dublin accordian player.
While travelling around Ireland Ciaron collected verses of the blackguarding song The Jar of Porter.