Irish Music Stamps


Stamps of note celebrate Irish Music

Dublin, November 7, 2006: The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem; The Dubliners; The Chieftains and Altan, four Irish groups who have succeeded in bringing Irish Music to a worldwide audience over the past four decades – and who continue to delight contemporary audiences – are featured on four new Irish postage stamps issued by An Post today.

The new stamps feature ‘snapshots in time’ photographs of each band and are now on sale online at; by phone at (01) 705 7400, at main Post Offices and the GPO, Dublin.

An Post Chairperson, Margaret McGinley said that the new stamps speak volumes about the fortitude and brilliance of the featured musicians and about the vibrant, living, forward-looking entity that is Irish Music - “Each stamp comprises a snapshot in time and depicts the group at a particular point in their own unique history.  The fact that these groups continue to develop their music and to dazzle and delight their fans – as an ensemble or as individual musicians - is testament to their musical brilliance.”

The An Post chairperson also paid tribute to those featured musicians who have passed away: “We remember today those shining stars of Irish Music no longer with us but who have left a rich and lasting legacy of music and lyrics.   In particular we remember Derek Bell of the Chieftains; Ciaran Bourke and Luke Kelly of the Dubliners; Brothers Paddy, Tom and Bobby Clancy and Frankie Kennedy of Altan.

The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem (75c) emerged as a potent force on the American folk scene in 1955. Their natural exuberance and boisterous style firmly established them as the top Irish music group of the time. Their first Irish tour in 1963 was rapturously received and they blazed a trail for the scores of Irish music groups who followed in their footsteps.  The late Paddy, Tom and Bobby Clancy are survived by their brother Liam who continues to perform as a solo artist and who celebrated the stamp launch with Tommy Makem who travelled from the U.S. for the occasion.

The Dubliners (48c) formed in 1962 out of the backroom sessions in Dublin’s O’Donoghue’s bar and their arrival on the folk scene heralded an irreverent and robust new dimension to the genre. This talented and colourful group featured the raw impassioned vocal power of Ronnie Drew and Luke Kelly, the virtuoso banjo-playing of Barney McKenna and the multi-instrumental talent of John Sheahan.

The Chieftains (48c) had their genesis in the early 1960s at the Ceoltóirí Chualann sessions organised by composer Seán Ó Riada. Signed by the Claddagh record label, the band has built an international reputation as the most remarkable example of Irish traditional music in the world. Multiple Grammy Award winners, the Chieftains have collaborated with contemporary musicians such as Frank Zappa, Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris and Van Morrison.

The founding members of Altan (75c) were the Belfast fluteplayer, Frankie Kennedy and Gweedore singer and fiddler, Máiread Ní Mhaonaigh. Their award-winning music, ranging from melancholic old Irish songs to excitable, hectic reels and jigs, was a combination of old Donegal fiddle music and Northern flute tunes. Signed in 1996 to Virgin Records, they gained gold and platinum albums in Ireland and continue to tour all over the world.

A specially produced limited-edition booklet containing four of each of the four stamps as well as detailed background information about the development of Irish music and the unique role played by each of the featured groups is also available. Priced just €12, it makes and ideal Christmas stocking filler for musically-inclined friends at home and abroad.