Luke Kelly sang the definitive version of Raglan Road

Luke Kelly was the first professional artist to sing and record Raglan Road and for many people, his version is still the definitive one.

Raglan Road
Kavanagh’s love identified
Raglan Road meaning
Mystery of the secret sign
Raglan Road Videos
Lyrics and Chords

His soaring, haunting rendition captures the sadness and desperation of the young lover perfectly.

Kelly first came across the song when he met Patrick Kavanagh in Baileys pub in the centre of Dublin in the mid 1960s.

Patrick Kavanagh

Patrick Kavanagh

Kelly described Kavanagh as a rough kind of man and he felt slight intimidated by him.

Kavanagh had written the words to the song in 1946 but he only set it to music years later, using the melody of Dawning of the Day.

There were several friends drinking together that day with Kelly and Kavanagh and a singing session began.

After Kelly had sung a song, Kavanagh turned to him and suggested that he should sing Raglan Road.

Kelly later said that he felt proud to have been given permission or the “imprimatur” from the great man himself to perform the song.

Kelly brought Raglan Road to a wider audience.

Luke Kelly recorded Raglan Road

Luke Kelly

Kelly soon added Raglan Road to his repertoire with the Dubliners and they recorded it on the Hometown album in 1972.

It soon began a standard on the folk circuit, with many people believing it was an old traditional song that had just been rediscovered after years of neglect.

Luke Kelly’s recording of Raglan Road was used in the 2008 film, In Bruges.
Find out about the meaning of Ralan Road

Raglan Road
Kavanagh’s love identified
Luke Kelly
Raglan Road meaning
Mystery of the secret sign
Raglan Road Videos
Lyrics and Chords

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