From the hauntingly beautiful When You Were Sweet Sixteen to the heartbreaking lyrics of Leaving Nancy, the songs of The Fureys have a special place in the hearts of Irish people. George Furey tells Brian Farrington the stories behind their greatest love songs.

From Wilde to Yeats, Joyce to Kavanagh and all the way through to Moore and MacGowan, Irishmen have a long established global reputation for being hopeless, and not so hopeless romantics, and The Furey brothers along with Davey Arthur are a group of troubadours-cum-raconteurs that continue to keep some of the country’s most popular love songs alive on the contemporary live music scene.

newfureysFor a case in point, George Furey tells a very amusing story about possibly the greatest of Irish love songs, When You Were Sweet Sixteen.

“We were invited to perform on The Late Late Show many years ago,” he recalls. “It was a live special being broadcast from Goffs in County Kildare – The Boomtown Rats were on the same night. We were staying in the Cill Dara Hotel and decided to go for a few ‘lemonades’ before the performance. We were standing at the bar and this young fella comes up and asks us if we could do him a big favour.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own Valentine’s Special (issue 5589)