Belfast Telegraph

Dubliners honoured at Folk Awards

The Dubliners capped a fine night for the Irish at this year's BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, accepting a lifetime achievement award and ending the night in style.

The veteran Irish band received a message of praise from President Michael D Higgins for their contribution to Irish culture, which had raised the band to the level of "ambassadors" for the whole nation.

And the Young Folk Award went to the band Ioscaid, a group of youngsters from the counties of Down, Armagh, Tyrone and Londonderry.

John Sheahan, from The Dubliners, said: "It has been a great night for the Irish. It is wonderful and a real honour to receive this award and get that message from the President. He's a lovely guy and we didn't know about it."

The climax of the award ceremony, broadcast live on Radio 2 from The Lowry in Salford, came with The Dubliners singing Dirty Old Town, a traditional folk standard, written by Ewan MacColl, about the city of Salford.

Sheahan, who said the award was for the band's "first 50 years in the business", added: "There is something special about that, it came from this immediate area and Ewan MacColl was such a talented writer we have recorded lots of his songs."

American Pie singer Don McLean also performed live and also received a lifetime achievement award.

He said: "I thank the BBC for thinking of me and honouring me with this award. The UK audience has been among the most loyal for over 40 years and without them certainly I wouldn't be considered for this honour, so I thank the BBC and I thank the British public."

Hosted by Mike Harding, the awards, now in its 13th year, aimed to celebrate the UK's vibrant folk scene - currently undergoing a resurgence.

The night in part belonged to June Tabor and Oysterband who picked up four awards for Best Album, Best Traditional Track, Best Group, while June was crowned Folk Singer of the Year.

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