Music stopped Shane MacGowen joining the IRA

Shane MacGowen has said that if he hadn’t have become a musician he might have joined the IRA.

Shane-MacGowan_-CreativeCommons2_Masao-Nakagami

Shane MacGowen

The Pogues singer grew up in London in the 1960s and 1970s. He had Irish parents and was angry with the hostile way they were often treated. The anger turned to hate and MacGowen was tempted to join the Provisionals.

His parents didn’t like the idea and persuaded him to pursue his musical talent as a way of venting his anger.

MacGowan said: “I was brought up by Fenians. I was told, ‘Watch out for the f**king Brits – them bastards!’ That was true when I came over here [London], and it’s still true – all the ‘no blacks, no dogs, no Irish’. That was true. You were hated.

“I was told not to get involved in the Provisionals. I was brought up in an official IRA family – they [his parents] didn’t like the indiscriminate bombing, the stupid bombing. They didn’t like the punishment squads.

“The people that brought me up told me to steer clear of all that and to do it with the music.”

MacGowen went on to have worldwide success with the Pogues until he was sacked because of his alcoholism. The band reformed in 2001 and have continued to sell out big venues ever since.

However, MacGowen has said that last weekend’s gig, supporting the Libertines in London’s Hyde Park, will be the end of the road of the Pogues. He said: “I didn’t intend it to go on for this long. Anyway, this is the last gig.”

He is looking to get into the studio with his new band The Cronins.

This article was first published on 1 July 2014

Did you know?


Fans of Game of Thrones can soon visit some of the key filming locations in Northern Ireland, in a move that will provide a huge tourism boost for the area. Find out more.

Have you heard about…

A two-minute film from showcases Irish dancing in all its glory. It sees Cork trio Kieran Hardiman, Alan Kenefick and Ciaran Plummer performing their perfectly choreographed routine around the grounds of University College Cork. Find out more.

What about this…

Female Irish warrior Grainne Ni Mhaile, or Grace O’Malley is one of the most colourful characters in Irish history. Born around 1530, she was a Pirate Queen and became a constant thorn in the side of British Queen Elizabeth I. Find out more.

Personalised framed prints

Illuminated Letters

Stunning Illuminated Letters based on the ancient Book of Kells

Michael Kehoe

Michael Kehoe is a writer for Irish Music Daily and Ireland Calling. His favourite Irish Music bands are Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copy Protected by Chetan's WP-Copyprotect.