Ronnie Drew: The Patron Saint of Culture Night

It’s somewhat fitting that Ireland’s annual Culture Night – when all the venues and art centres around the country open their doors for free – should fall each year pretty much on Ronnie Drew’s birthday…


Here was a man who understood that art was in pretty much everything, once you knew where to look.


The Greystones native was most famous, of course, for his incredible work with The Dubliners, keeping many an ancient Irish ballad alive and kicking for a new generation. That the band also managed to keep that rather ancient stereotype of the wild Irish rover also alive and kicking for a few years only added to the band’s appeal, and the man’s legend.


In truth, Ronnie Drew was made of much more potent stuff than the hard stuff, as happy exploring our country’s musical history as he was heading to Spain to learn flamenco guitar or collaborating with the likes of former PiL bassist Jah Wobble.


For Ronnie, it was a simple case of, it’s got soul, or it doesn’t. And Ronnie had soul. In spades. And pints.


So, we’re very proud to be following in the great man’s tradition of seeking out hidden gems to place alongside the star attractions, and this year’s Culture Night line-up is a fine example of that.


Not only do we have the new choral ensemble Cordé working their magic, but there’s also local dancer extraordinaire Karen Gleeson – who will be bringing together some of the new breed – and ballet queen Rachel Goode, representing dance’s rich past.

So, once again, here’s to you, Ronnie Drew. Thanks for setting on such great adventures. And for encouraging us to have a party or two along the way…


Culture Night at The Whale is on Friday, September 22nd. Free admission, you can find out more here.


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