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With Phil Lynott and Rory Gallagher seeking their fortune in London, Horslips were the beginning and end of 1970s Irish rock. Indeed, they were virtually the only home-grown influence on U2.

Blending punk sensibility with a genuine love and understanding of folklore and tradition, their classic 1970s albums Happy To Meet Sorry To Part (1972), The Táin (1973) and The Book Of Invasions: A Celtic Symphony (1977) gave young Irish audiences a compelling sense of identity.

The band based some of their lyrics on Irish legends and many of their songs on traditional Irish tunes (Dearg Doom fair rattles along), yet they avoided the trap of sounding cod-Irish – save the occasional pipe.

Instead, they were a thoughtful rock band, almost quick enough on their feet to avoid being swept away by New Wave.

Despite a nine-album output in the seventies, though, Horslips were so neglected and overlooked that they remained obscure to all but the most avid import fans.

The Boomtown Rats certainly picked up a trick or two from the lively Sword Of Light, while The Man Who Built America is as epic as the title promises.


Barry Devlin 
Vocals, bass
Charles O’Connor 

Vocals, guitar, fiddle, mandolin
John Fean 

Guitar, banjo, mandolin
Jim Lockhart 

Keyboards, pipes, flute
Eamon Carr 

Declan Sinnott