The late great George Donaldson sings the Parting Glass

The Parting Glass - poignant performance from the late great George Donaldson

A poignant look back at the wonderful George Donaldson singing the folk classic The Parting Glass.

The trad scene tragically lost one of its most beloved sons in 2014 when ‘the Voyager’ passed away following a heart attack in his Glasgow home aged just 46.

Donaldson was the eldest member of Celtic Thunder and was affectionately given the nickname because of his upbeat character.

He had been a regular performer around Glasgow’s famous folk scene for most of his life being selected as a founding member of the energetic Celtic music group in 2007.

Donaldson was the only married member of Celtic Thunder and would travel back home to Glasgow to his wife and daughter in between tours across North America.

He was a leader of the band with younger members such as Ryan Kelly and Neil Byrne always looking up to him. Emmet Cahill and Damien McGinty were both more than 20 years younger than Donaldson and he was a protective and guiding figure to many.

He was also beloved by his fans thanks to his generous nature. He would always mingle and chat with fans after gigs and was happy to hear their stories. Some of them even inspired him when writing his own songs.

The world of music mourned when we lost George Donaldson.

Poignantly, one of the last songs he recorded and posted onto his YouTube channel was The Parting Glass.

It is a hugely powerful farewell ballad, with the singer bidding all his fondest wishes and thanks.

The tone of the song is one of both sadness and hope as the singer says goodbye to his friends and loved ones and looks to the future wishing good fortune for all.

It is frequently performed at funerals as the words and music brilliant capture the array of emotions felt at such a time.

Donaldson sang beautifully in his strong gentle voice, in one of his favourite places, Jinty McGuinty’s Pub in Glasgow.

Take a look below.

George Donaldson

Music stars pay tribute to George Donaldson

Music fans in mourning for George Donaldson

The Parting Glass

Categorized as Blog

By Andrew Moore

Andrew Moore is a writer for Irish Music Daily and Ireland Calling. His favourite Irish music bands are the Dropkick Murphys and the Pogues.