You wouldn’t think it, to look at the head on him, but Ronnie Drew had a deep fondness for the horses.
Bouncing around the countryside – and Greystones harbour – on them, as opposed to betting on them, that is.
His pride and joy was a mare called Bacardi, although why the nag got this name, we have no idea. Maybe the horse ran really fast with coke…?
Bought from the larger than life Ernie Evans, the County Kerry hotel owner and horse trainer, Bacardi became well-known around Greystones, and beyond. To the point that the million-selling songwriting duo Phil Coulter and Bill Martin – who gave us such hits as Congratulations, Puppet On A String and, eh, Shang-A-Lang – decided to write a song all about this equestrian love affair, called, fittingly enough, The Ballad Of Ronnie’s Mare.
The lyrics of this 1973 masterpiece are above, whilst the song itself – which featured on The Dubliners’ autobiographical Plain & Simple album – is below. Now, we’re just off to Hozier’s castle, to see if he’ll pen a paean to one Maximilian Danger Byrne…