Eamonn Carr (left) and the Horslips.

Horslips come to an end after half a century

Horslips, the great Irish music phenomenon of the 1970s, has finally come to an end, with a concert in Belfast's Ulster Hall in Belfast on Wednesday evening last.

The original band, which included drummer Eamonn Carr from Kells, had never officially split up, but had gone their separate ways, before a revival in the 2000s when they got back control of their back catalogue after a copyright court case.

Horslips was made up of Charles O’Connor from Middlesborough (mandolin, flute and concertina), Jim Lockhart from Dublin (keyboard and flute), Johnny Feighan from Clare (guitar and banjo), Barry Devlin, Tyrone (bass guitar) and Eamonn Carr from Kells on drums.

Horslips came amongst the youth of Ireland in 1972, when they were most needed, with their thigh length boots, electric fiddles, smoke machines, purple satin flares and most importantly, their thumping, electrifying Celtic rock. In an eight year period from 72 to '80, they produced a staggering 12 albums and performed over 2000 times across the world.

Having disbanded in 1980, the group gathered together in 2004 and recorded a stripped down acoustic album of their favourite tracks.

The resulting album was Rollback and the release brought the seminal sound of Horslips to a brand new audience.

Eamonn Carr learned his music in Kells where he was in a band called ‘Toneage’ with John Olohan, now a well-known actor, Pat Dunne from Trim, now an RTE radio producer and author, Joe Rourke of the silver band and Gene Mulvany, the bass player.

Carr left for Dublin and then England, and was “scribbling a lot of lyric and stuff at the time.” On his return to Dublin, he was involved in a ‘poetry in music’ group called ‘Tara Telephone’ with others, including Peter Fallon.

The name ‘Horslips’ came from a discussion over lunch in a Chinese restaurant on Grafton Street, Carr told the Meath Chronicle during their revival period.

“A name was needed for a poster. Someone suggested a flamboyant name like ‘the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’. A guy called Spuddy Murphy said what about the ‘Four Poxmen of the Horslips’. It eventually became Horslips,” Carr explained.

In Belfast on Wednesday. singer and bassist Barry Devlin performed with keyboardist and flautist Jim Lockhart, a fellow founder member, and with friends of the group Ray Fean and Fiach Moriarty, the rest of the classic Horslips line-up having alreadyretired.