Sweeney's Men

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sweeney's Men
General information
Genre (s) Irish folk
founding 1966, 2012
resolution 1969/2013
Founding members
Johnny Moynihan
Andy Irvine
acoustic guitar
"Galway Joe" Dolan
former members
Concertina , acoustic guitar, mandolin, banjo , vocals
Terry Woods
acoustic guitar, electric guitar
Henry McCullough
acoustic guitar
Al O'Donnell

Sweeney's Men were an Irish folk band that existed from 1966 to 1969. It was the first Irish band to use the Irish bouzouki , along with numerous other plucked instruments . Occasionally they are seen as the band that started the Irish folk revival.

Origin of the band name

The band was named after the legendary, pagan and crazy King Sweeney (also Sweeny) of Antrim , who played a leading role in the novel Two Birds Swim by Flann O'Brien . The choice of the name should also express criticism of the overwhelming Catholic Church .

Band history

The band was formed in 1966 by Johnny Moynihan, Andy Irvine and Joseph "Galway Joe" Dolan. The first two singles reached the Irish top ten. In June 1967 Dolan, who had participated in the Masada project in Israel in 1965, left the band to take part in the Six Day War on Israel's side . Allegedly he reached Israel on the "seventh day" of the war. He was replaced by Terry Woods , with whom the first album, Sweeney's Men, was released in 1968. In addition to Irish, it also contains American and Scottish pieces. In May 1968 Irvine left the band to study the music of Eastern Europe, especially the Balkans . For him came Henry McCullough , who also played electric guitar and brought about a brief turn to psychedelic , progressive music before he switched to Joe Cocker's Grease Band in July 1968 . He was replaced by Al O'Donnell. The second album, The Tracks of Sweeney, recorded Moynihan and Woods as a duo before the band split up in November 1969.

In 2012 Irvine, Moynihan and Woods played a concert for Irvine's 70th birthday as Sweeney's Men , and in 2013 they continued the concert series.



  • 1968: Sweeney's Men
  • 1969: The Tracks of Sweeney


  • 1967: Old Maid in the Garrett / The Derby Ram
  • 1968: Waxie's Dargle / Old Woman in Cotton
  • 1968: Sullivan's John / Rattlin 'Roarin' Willie


  1. Not to be confused with the Irish singer Joseph Francis Robert "Joe" Dolan

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Portrait on the Town Hall Theater Galway website , accessed August 14, 2015
  2. a b c d Sweeney’s Men on Andy Irvine's website ( Memento from September 23, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) (English)
  3. Overview at irishrock.org (English), accessed on August 14, 2015
  4. Description of the concert ( Memento from March 9, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) at andyirvine.com (English)
  5. Concert preview at advertiser.ie (English), accessed on August 14, 2015