Luke Kelly’s life and music is ‘worth celebrating’

May 2, 2024

A festival celebrating legendary musician Luke Kelly will return to Dublin next month after its successful debut last year.

Mary Black, Lisa O’Neill, Phelim Drew, The Dublin Legends, fiddle master Kevin Burke, and local folk artists will perform over two days in Smithfield Square on May 18 and 19.

Luke Kelly’s nephew, Luke McCann, said the family is “delighted” to see the festival running for another year.

“He’s 40 years gone now, just this January, and our family is still amazed by how popular he still is to this day,” he said.

“I was fourteen when he passed, but my grandmother used to host these grand Christmas parties which I have great memories of with him. I used to play football in Whitehall, and he’d be visiting my granny then. He loved the sport and anything with a ball he’d watch. He achieved a lot for someone from Sheriff Street and has a life worth celebrating,” he added.

Reflecting on his uncle’s continued popularity, Mr McCann added: “I can only suspect that it’s because people relate to him. It may sound cliché, but Luke was one of them.”

The folk singer with the Dubliners was described as a “happy-go-lucky kind of fella”.

A statue of Luke Kelly’s face remains at the bottom of Sheriff Street to mark the impact of the singer who was born into a working-class household in the inner city.

The festival will also offer those looking to learn more about Luke, the Dubliners, and Dublin folk a special opportunity with a dedicated workshop and discussion tent.

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