The Dubliners was founded as The Ronnie Drew Ballad Group in 1962. Drew wasn’t happy with the name, and they changed it after the first change in line up. Many of those were to follow, but the name stayed. The last original member left the band in 2012. Some of the remaining members are still playing, but under a different name: the Dublin Legends.
Something I never realised is that The Dubliners got big in the rise of folk music in the Sixties. In fact, they were very much part of the movement. In those early years they also sang more protest songs, especially Irish nationalist songs, like Roddy McCorley and The Patriot Game. That last song was written by Irish poet Dominic Behan, who wrote more songs for the band.
The Patriot Game tells the story of IRA volunteer Fergal O’Hanlon who died in 1957 at the age of 20 in an attack on a police barracks in the town of Brookeborough in Northern Ireland. The song has been known in many different versions, some more nationalist than others. In some versions it actively supports cop killing. This kind of nationalism Behan distanced himself from in later years.
I don't mind a bit if I shoot down police They are lackeys for war never guardians of peace And yet at deserters I'm never let aim The rebels who sold out the patriot game