Christy Moore

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Christy Moore
Christy Moore in the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, October 2008
Background information
Birth nameChristopher Andrew Moore
Born (1945-05-07) 7 May 1945 (age 75)
Origin Newbridge, County Kildare, Ireland
Genres Folk, traditional Irish
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, bodhrán
Years active1969–present
Associated acts Planxty, Moving Hearts, The Dubliners, Luka Bloom

Christopher Andrew "Christy" Moore (born 7 May 1945) is an Irish folk singer, songwriter and guitarist. He is one of the founding members of Planxty and Moving Hearts. His first album, Paddy on the Road was recorded with Dominic Behan in 1969. In 2007, he was named as Ireland's greatest living musician in RTÉ's People of the Year Awards. [1]


Early life

Moore was born in Newbridge, County Kildare, Ireland and attended Newbridge College. He was originally a bank employee who wanted to express himself using traditional music. During a bank strike in 1966, which lasted twelve weeks, he went to England, as many striking officials did, but didn't return when the strike was settled. "I had a wild and wonderful time in England, with no bank manager looking over my shoulder," he said. Doing general labouring work, he frequented the folk clubs and the Irish music pubs where he met Seamus Ennis, Margaret Barry, Luke Kelly, Martin Byrnes and many other traditional musicians. [2] When Irish singing trio The Grehan Sisters, with whom Moore was previously acquainted, moved to the north of England from Dublin in 1967, they assisted Moore to get a higher profile by giving him contacts and support slots on their concerts.

Musical career

1973 brought his first major release, Prosperous , which brought together the four musicians who shortly thereafter formed Planxty: Liam O'Flynn, Andy Irvine and Dónal Lunny. For a time they called themselves "CLAD", an acronym of their names, but soon decided on Planxty. [2]

After leaving Planxty in 1975, Moore continued on his solo career, reforming his old band on occasion (which he has been doing ever since). He also formed the band Moving Hearts with Lunny and five other musicians in 1980. In 1987 he appeared on Gay Byrne's The Late Late Show performing with The Dubliners for their 25th anniversary. In 2000, he published his autobiography, One Voice. [2]

Moore's earlier lifestyle resulted in a decline in health and several operations. Moore's battle with alcohol, and subsequent heart operations, have taken their toll. At the end of the 1990s, Moore reduced his workload for medical reasons. [2]

Some of Moore's songs are heavily influenced by drink and the effects of drink, his song "Delirium Tremens" being a good example. Listening to Johnny Mulhern's song "Hard Cases" caused Moore to recall the Galway drinking scene with local musicians Mickey Finn, Pete Galligan, Corky and Terry Smith.

On 17 April 2009, Moore released his first new studio album in four years, entitled Listen, and promoted it through a series of live gigs. [3]

In December 2011, Moore released the album Folk Tale. His next album Where I Come From was released in November 2013 and features a new protest song called "Arthur's Day". The album peaked at number three in the Irish album charts. [4] On the road was released in November 2017, while his most recent album Magic Nights was released in November 2019.

Political and social commentary

Moore is best known for his political and social commentary which reflects a left-wing, Irish republican perspective, despite the fact that his mother was a Fine Gael county councillor and parliamentary candidate in Kildare. [5] He supported the republican H-Block protestors with the albums H-Block in 1978, the launch of which was raided by the police, and The Spirit of Freedom . [6] He has also recorded songs by the hunger striker Bobby Sands, including "Back Home in Derry" which is based on Gordon Lightfoot's song "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald". He ceased supporting the military activities of the IRA in 1987 as a result of the Enniskillen bombing. [7]

Political songs he has performed throughout his career include Mick Hanly's "On the Blanket" about the protests of republican prisoners, "Viva la Quinta Brigada", about the Irishmen who fought in the Spanish Civil War against Franco, and "Minds Locked Shut" about Bloody Sunday in Derry.

Moore has endorsed a long list of leftist support causes, ranging from El Salvador to Mary Robinson in the 1990 presidential election. [2] At the Glastonbury Festival in 2005, he sang about the Palestinian solidarity activist Rachel Corrie. He supported the anti-nuclear movement in Ireland playing in many concerts and at festivals in Carnsore Point for the cause.

Banned songs

"They Never Came Home" is a song about the Stardust fire of 1981 where 48 people died. The song was recorded on the Ordinary Man album and was released on the B-side of a single in 1985. The song achieved notoriety when Moore was taken to court over claims in the song prejudical to an ongoing court case determining compensation. For instance, the song claimed, "hundreds of children are injured and maimed, and all just because the fire exits were chained". Mr Justice Murphy ordered the Ordinary Man album to be withdrawn from the shops, and costs were awarded against Moore. "Another Song is Born" was recorded for the album's re-release. "They Never Came Home" later appeared on his box set and on the album Where I come from. [8] [9]

Musical style

His solo style includes driving rhythms on guitar and bodhrán as well as slower ballads.


Moore's brother Barry, whose stage name is Luka Bloom, is also a successful singer-songwriter. [10] His nephew, Conor Byrne, is also an accomplished traditional flautist and tin whistle player, with Christy appearing on his Wind Dancer album. [11]

Memorable events

Detention incident, 2004

In October 2004, Moore was stopped and detained by Special Branch officers at the Welsh port of Holyhead, taken into an office and questioned about the lyrics of his songs. [12] [13] The following day, he released a statement saying: "My driver and I were stopped and held for two hours at Holyhead last Monday, under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2002. My driver and I were held separately in two interrogation rooms. I found the whole experience threatening. I was questioned about the contents of my briefcase." Despite initial reports to the contrary, the singer's van, which was full of musical equipment, was not searched. "I was questioned about lyrics of songs and I was asked a lot of personal questions about members of my family and my children and about my home. At no time was I given any explanation as to why I was being held and interrogated in this manner", he added. He said the fact that Irish people are still being treated this way on their way to Britain is very "saddening". "I had hoped to deal with this matter out of the public domain. But seeing as it has become a news item, I feel the need to offer my side of the story. I found the whole affair quite frightening." [14]

Desert Island Discs

In June 2007, Moore was a guest on the BBC radio programme Desert Island Discs . [15] He selected mainly Irish folk music that had inspired him and spoke of personal and political issues that had shaped his life.

Penguin book of Irish poetry

In 2010 Christy Moore's song "Lisdoonvarna" which he wrote gained entry in The Penguin Book of Irish Poetry. [16]


On Sunday 10 July 2011 Moore joined Coldplay on stage at the 2011 Oxegen Festival performing the song "Ride On".





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<i>Prosperous</i> (album) Album by Christy Moore

Prosperous is the second album by Irish folk musician Christy Moore, released in 1972. His first album, Paddy on the Road, was recorded by Dominic Behan in 1969 and has long been out of print. In addition to Moore's guitar and voice, Prosperous featured musicians Andy Irvine, Liam Óg O'Flynn and Dónal Lunny. These four musicians later gave themselves the name Planxty, making this album something of the first Planxty album in all but name. Other musicians included Kevin Conneff on bodhrán, Clive Collins on fiddle, and Dave Bland on concertina.

Frank Harte

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<i>Planxty</i> (album) Album by Planxty

Planxty is the first album by the Irish folk group Planxty, recorded in London during early September 1972 and released in early 1973.

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<i>Ordinary Man</i> (Christy Moore album) 1985 studio album by Christy Moore

Ordinary Man is the tenth studio album by Irish folk artist, Christy Moore. It features songs like "Ordinary Man", "St. Brendan's Voyage" and "Another Song is Born". The album featured songs by Peter Hames, Johnny Mulhearn, Hugh McDonald, Colm Gallagher and Floyd Red Crow Westerman; as well as some backing vocals by Enya on "Quiet Desperation", "Sweet Music Roll On" and "The Diamondtina [sic] Drover" and some fine uilleann pipes work by Liam O'Flynn.

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Declan Masterson is an Irish uilleann piper, traditional musician, composer and arranger. In addition to pursuing a solo career and playing with Moving Hearts and Patrick Street, Masterson was one of the Riverdance musicians.

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Between the Jigs and the Reels: A Retrospective is a two-disc anthology by the Irish folk band Planxty. It includes a 17-track CD and a 36-track DVD with over two hours of previously unreleased footage (1972–1982) from RTÉ archives.


  1. "Rehab Press Room". Archived from the original on 30 April 2008. Retrieved 22 September 2008.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Moore, Christy (2000). One Voice. London: Lir/Hodder and Stoughton. ISBN   0-340-76839-8.
  3. "Listen Its Christy Moore". Irish Music Magazine. 30 March 2009. Retrieved 18 April 2009.
  4. "Christy Moore – Music Charts". Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  5. " 19th Dail – Kildare First Preference Votes". Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  6. H-Block Archived 9 November 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  7. – 15:00 (17 June 2007). "Desert Island Discs – Castaway : Christy Moore". BBC. Retrieved 17 April 2012.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  8. "The story of Christy Moore and the Stardust song". The Dublin People: Northside East. 2 February 2016. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  9. Moore, Christy (2003)."One Voice"p.168. Hodder and Stoughton.London.
  10. Article in Hot Press mentioning that Christy and Luka Bloom are brothers
  11. "Christy Moore". 26 October 2008. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2009.
  12. Melia, Paul (22 October 2004). "Christy Moore 'frightened' by detention at Holyhead". The Irish Independent. Retrieved 22 October 2009.
  13. "Irish singer's port quiz anger". BBC. 22 October 2004. Retrieved 22 October 2009.
  14. "Irish singer Christie Moore was questioned by the British authorities – Irish Music Daily". Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  15. "BBC Radio 4 Desert Island Discs". BBC. 17 June 2007. Retrieved 17 June 2007.
  16. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 February 2014. Retrieved 17 February 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. "IRMA – Irish Charts". Irish Recorded Music Association . Retrieved 25 November 2017.
  18. 1 2 "IRMA – Irish Charts". Irish Recorded Music Association . Retrieved 30 November 2019.