‘Danny Boy belongs to Limavady’

Elvis also sang Danny Boy. 1105SJ45)
Elvis also sang Danny Boy. 1105SJ45)

A campaign to have Danny Boy played in Limavady year-round to celebrate the songs’s history with the town has gathered momentum. 

Organisers of Derry, City of Culture 2013, are putting out an international appeal for new versions of the legendary tune on Youtube as part of the year-long celebrations but, search now for the song online and instantly millions of links appear. 

Elvis, Johnny Cash, Bing Crosby, Roy Orbison, and dozens more, have sung it. Actors, including Hollywood A-lister George Clooney, have also crooned the song. 

Sinn Fein Colr. Anne Brolly says for these reasons, and its origins in the town, it should be played 365 days in Limavady by different artists. 

“Danny Boy is the most inclusive tune in the world,” she told the ‘Journal’, which first reported on the campaign. 

“No matter where you go people know it.”

Colr. Brolly has even recorded a version of the song, along with her husband Francie.

Along with now retired SDLP Colr. Michael Carten, she introduced the idea more than two years ago. Since then it has got somewhat of a cool reception from some councillors, one who said it made the town “a laughing stock”. 

“There are too many councillors giving reasons why we shouldn’t do it,” she said, “but it’s for three minutes, once a day. When I was in Africa and when they heard I was Irish, they started to hum the tune! The question is, who hasn’t sung Danny Boy?”

Given the massive number of respected artists who have recorded the song, the All-Ireland singing Fleadh winner says there are too many reasons not to play it daily. 

“We would have no shortage of artists if we were to play it 365 days of the year,” said, adding: “No-one has what we have - Danny Boy. Derry would love to have it and Donegal too, but it’s ours and we must do something with it!”

Council officials have said they are investigating costs associated with performing rights in connection with the idea.

“We are looking forward to future discussions with the City of Culture Company and Derry City Council on their draft programme of events. Obviously with Limavady being the home of Danny Boy, the 2013 City Of Culture programme provides a great opportunity to ensure that Danny Boy receives the international recognition it deserves,” said a spokesperson. “We look forward to working with both bodies in delivering a programme of events over the next 12-18 months which reflects the history and culture of the wider North West region.”