Ronnie Drew, the late lamented leader of The Dubliners, was a musician and raconteur who introduced this guide to Dublin called The Dubliners’ Dublin. It’s informative, sure, but works much better as a primer for getting his accent right. This clip ends, as you get the feeling most of the Dubliners’ afternoons did, in O’Donoghue’s shop in Baggot Street.

They are, of course, reciting the pome titled The Workman’s Friend be Jem Casey, as recorded in Flann O’Brien‘s At Swim-Two-Birds. Although the boys are reading the text from cue cards (quite badly, in some cases) you can be sure their hearts and livers were in it.

In the last years of his life Ronnie Drew was supposed to be off the gargle, and the story goes that some bloke asked him what it was he was drinking.

Gin and tonic, he replied. I find it helps me mind my own fuckin’ business.

A darlin’ man. I last saw him, bald as the day he was born from the cancer treatment, sitting at the bar in The Hut in Phibsboro, with what looked suspiciously like a pint of plain porter in front of him. He must have been minding it for someone.

Just in case you haven’t seen it, though, there’s a definitive recitation of the great pome. Eamon Morrissey toured for many years in a one-man show titled The Brother, based on the writings of O’Brien. Here’s his take on The Workmans’ Friend:

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