Dónal Lunny

Dónal Lunny: biographical information

  • Dónal Lunny
    • "Lunny has been at the forefront of the evolution of Irish traditional music for more than thirty-five years and has participated within the renaissance of that genre during that period." [1]
    • Lunny was-born March 10, 1947 in Tullamore.
    • His family moved to Newbridge, County Kildare.
    • As a teenager, Lunny joined a band called Rakes of Kildare, with Christy Moore — beginning their long association.
    • I was at his house once …


  • 1965
    • Circa 1965, Dónal plays in different bands, including the Parnell Folk Group and the Emmet Folk Group, both with Mick Moloney.
  • 1966
    • In February, the Emmet Folk Group (Dónal Lunny, Mick Moloney & Brian Bolger) comes in 2nd at the Wexford Ballad Competition.
      • First place goes to the Johnstons — of which, Moloney will became a member.
  • 1967
    • Mick Moloney leaves the Emmet Folk Group to join the Johnstons.
    • Dónal Lunny & Brian Bolger join forces with The Spicelanders, brothers Mick & Brian Byrne, to form Emmet Spiceland.
    • Emmet Spiceland wins the Wexford Ballad contest, which leads to a recording deal.
    • In December, Brian Bolger leaves the group.
  • 1968 image
    • In February, Emmet Spiceland's debut single "Mary From Dunloe" tops the Irish singles chart.
    • In May, the group's second single, "Baidin Fheidhlimi", also makes the top 10 in Ireland.
    • The group releases their only album, The First … — produced by Phil Coulter.
  • 1969
    • Emmet Spiceland releases 2 more singles:
    • Dónal Lunny leaves the group. [2]



  • 1971
    • Dónal Lunny, along with Andy Irvine and Liam O'Flynn, play on Christy Moore's second album, Prosperous.
  • 1974
    • Dónal Lunny leaves Planxty in July.
    • Planxty releases one more album, during this period, Cold Blow and the Rainy Night.
      • This is the only Planxty album without Dónal as an official member.
      • However, he does play on the album and contributes with the mixing.
      • Johnny Moynihan replaces Dónal.
    • Lunny forms the Bothy Band, the second of his very influential Irish bands.
  • 1975
    • The Bothy Band makes its debut on February 2nd at Trinity College, Dublin.
    • The group releases their first self-title album, which receives critical acclaim and establishes their reputation as a significant musical force in Irish traditional music.
  • 1976
  • 1979
    • The Bothy Band releases a live album, After Hours (Live in Paris), and the groups disbands.
    • The four original members, along with Matt Molly, reform Planxty.
    • Planxty releases After The Break.
    • Molloy leaves the group in the fall to join The Chieftains.



  • 1980
    • Planxty releases The Woman I Loved So Well.
      • Matt Molloy, Noel Hill, Tony Linnane & Bill Whelan also play on this album
    • Dónal, along with Christy Moore, Matt Molly, Mick Hanly and others, take part in the LP, H-Block — an album "to give support to the men and women on the Blanket in the H. Blocks and Armagh Jails". [3]
      • Lunny and Moore also produce the album.
  • 1981
    • Chirsty Moore and Dónal Lunny form Moving Hearts, playing their first gig in The Baggot Inn, Dublin in February.
    • The Timedance EP is released.
      • This was music — written by Dónal Lunny & Bill Whelan — specially commissioned for Eurovision (April) 1981, and features Planxty.
      • Bill Whelan and Nollalg Casey join Planxty on this release.
      • Timedance was the genesis for what Whelan would later develop into Riverdance.
    • Recorded in summer, Moving Hearts release their first self-titled album.
    • For a period Lunny and Moore continue to record and perform with both Planxty and Moving Hearts.
    • The Gathering is released.
      • "Recorded in 1977 as a favour for Diane Meek (née Hamilton)", the album features, Dónal Lunny, Andy Irvine, Paul Brady, etc. [4]
  • 1982
    • Moving Hearts' 2nd album, Dark End Of The Street, is released.
    • The original 4-piece line up of Planxty play their last show together (at this time) on the 24th of August 1982, at the National Stadium in Dublin.
    • Dónal leaves Planxty to concentrate on Moving Hearts.
    • Christy leaves both groups to concentrate on solo career.
  • 1983
    • Recorded in the fall of 1982, Words and Music is released, the last Planxty album for 21 years.
      • Bill Whelan, James Kelly, Nollaig Casey & Eoghan O'Neill also play on this recording
    • Mick Hanly joins as Moving Hearts' new vocalist, and the group releases their next album, Live Hearts.
  • 1984
    • Mick Hanly leaves Moving Hearts and is replaced on vocals by Flo McSweeney, then Anto Drennan.
    • At some point (in 1984), Moving Hearts performs as an instrumental group, before the band ceases touring by the end of the year.
  • 1985
    • Dónal accepts an invitation to join Andy Irvine's band "Mosaic" — "made up of musicians from various different European countries".
      • The band plays a series on summer concerts, before breaking up. -ANDY IRVINE, January 2002 [4]
    • Moving Hearts releases the all instrumental album, The Storm, more than likely recorded in 1984.
    • Between the break up of Moving Hearts through Planxty reunion in 2003 — Donal Lunny is involved some 200 plus recordings, as producer, writer, arranger and musician.
  • 1987
    • Lunny records a self-titled solo album, which includes many guest musicians playing his music and arrangements.



image image
  • 1998
    • The album Coolfin is released — a concept is similar to the 1987 LP, Dónal Lunny.



  • 2003
    • In March, the RTÉ alternative-music TV show "No Disco" aired a one-hour Planxty documentary, by Leagues O'Toole.
    • On October 11th, Planxty play a one-off, unannounced gig in The Spa Hotel in Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare, for about 200 people.
  • 2004
    • The four original members Planxty tour again, playing shows in Dublin, Belfast and County Clare.
    • Planxty Live 2004, from concerts at Vicar St., Dublin, is released on CD and DVD.
    • Lunny joins Andy Irvine's second multi-cultural band, "Mozaik"
      • Same name (as the 1985 band) — different spelling and group members.
    • Mozaik releases the album, Live from the Powerhouse.
  • 2005
    • Planxty, featuring: Moore, O'Flynn, Irvine and Lunny, play their last concerts to date.
  • 2007
    • Mozaik release their 2nd (and last album to date), Changing Trains.
    • Moving Hearts reforms as an all instrumental band — playing their first concerts in February at Vicar Street, Dublin
      • Original members, Dónal Lunny, Davy Spillane, Eoghan O'Neill & Keith Donald, are joined by Matt Kellaghan, Noel Eccles, Anto Drennan and Graham Henderson
  • 2008
    • The DVD, East Meets West With Dónal Lunny, is released.
      • "This documentary celebrates the bringing together of two very different musical traditions: the drumming techniques of the Kodo Drummers of Sado Island, Japan, and the traditional Irish music performed by Dónal Lunny and Coolfin."
    • Moving Hearts releases Live in Dublin on CD and DVD.
  • 2012
    • Dónal Lunny joins Liam O'Flynn, Andy Irvine & Paddy Glackin to form LAPD
      • The group kicks off the year with concerts in Vicar St.
      • LAPD also performs at Andy Irvine's 70th party in June, and at the Eclectic Picnic