Pecker Dunne performs 'O'Sullivan John' on 'The Late Late Show'.
Born in Castlebar in 1932, Patrick Dunne's father was a Traveller who made his living from busking, and his mother was from the settled community in Wexford. During his early years the family travelled, but eventually settled in Dublin.
Pecker Dunne followed in his father's footsteps and as a teenager took to the road. He performed the length and breadth of Ireland at Fleadhanna Ceoil, country fairs, race meetings and football matches. In the 1960s he became part of the folk scene and appeared regularly with The Dubliners, and also busked in Europe, Australia and the United States.
In addition to the five string banjo, he mastered the mandolin and the fiddle, but it is his distinctive singing voice that is considered to be his truly unique gift.
A champion of Traveller culture, he celebrates the life of the Travelling Community in many of the songs in his repertoire.
'O’Sullivan John’ also called ‘Sullivan’s John’ is his own composition. The song revolves around a man who wanted to join the Travellers, but had not envisaged exactly how hard life on the road could be.
Sullivan’s John to the road you’ve gone far away from your native home
You’re gone with the tinker’s daughter for along the road to roam
Sullivan’s John you won’t stick it long till your belly will soon get slack
Up along the road with a mighty load and your tool box up on your back.
This episode of The Late Late Show was broadcast on 6 April 1985 and was a special programme dedicated to the Traveller Community. The presenter is Gay Byrne.