Eamonn Campbell

(29/11/1946 - 18/10/2017)

Eamonn Campbell (29 November 1946 – 18 October 2017), an iconic Irish musician and guitarist, left an indelible mark on the world of Irish folk music. Eamonn lived with his family in Walkinstown for the latter years of his life and his funeral mass took place in Crumlin village.

Born in Drogheda, County Louth, Eamonn’s musical journey began with a childhood dream of playing the accordion, but the infectious sound of Elvis singing “That’s All Right” on Radio Luxembourg in the mid-1950s ignited his passion for the guitar.

In the early 1960s, Eamonn played with ‘The Viceroys’ and later ‘The Delta Boys’ under the guidance of the brilliant musician-pianist, Louis Smith. Louis imparted invaluable lessons about chord sequences and structure, fostering Eamonn’s musical prowess. To further enhance his skills, Eamonn joined the local Brass and Reed Band to learn to read music.

His entry into the world of showbands came in 1964 with ‘Dermot O’Brien & The Clubmen,’ marking the beginning of a musical journey that would span decades. The band’s success, including a hit record in Ireland with “The Merry Ploughboy,” led to a fruitful collaboration with ‘The Dubliners’ during a concert tour of England in 1967. This tour not only forged a friendship with ‘The Dubs,’ namely Luke Kelly and Ronnie Drew but also marked the start of a significant chapter in Eamonn’s career.

In 1973, seeking a change from the demanding life on the road and with his marriage ended, Eamonn moved to Dublin to explore a career as a freelance musician. His musical versatility led him to become a sought-after session musician, playing guitar, banjo, and mandolin on hundreds of recordings. Eamonn’s musical journey included stints with theatre productions, tours with various artists, and appearances on radio and TV programs.

Eamonn’s pivotal role in ‘The Dubliners’ began in 1986 when he was tasked with producing a record for their 25th anniversary. This endeavour resulted in the iconic double album, “Celebration,” featuring collaborations with various artists, including The Pogues. Eamonn’s suggestion to work with The Pogues proved historic, giving rise to the hit song “The Irish Rover” and further solidifying his influence in the Irish folk music scene.

Beyond performing, Eamonn became a prolific producer and arranger, contributing to albums for artists like Foster and Allen, Brendan Shine, and Paddy Reilly. His significant contributions extended to his role as the Grand Master for the 2009 Drogheda St Patrick’s Day Parade and as a guitar teacher in his younger years.

Eamonn Campbell’s legacy continued through his family, including his six children and ten grandchildren. Despite facing challenges, such as a successful battle with lung cancer in 2013, Eamonn’s enduring passion for music persisted until his passing in October 2017. His funeral in Crumlin brought together admirers, friends, and family to bid farewell to a musical legend who had, in his own way, shaped the course of Irish folk music history. Eamonn Campbell’s story is one of resilience, creativity, and an enduring love for the art that touched the hearts of many, especially those in his Walkinstown community and beyond.

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Connection with area: Irish musician and member of The Dubliners who lived in Walkinstown and his funeral took place in Crumlin