Barleycorn Feature (1971-1995)
Photo Gallery -
Band Lineups -
- Audio samples -
Where Are They Now?
Few bands get the attention and notoriety that came to the
Barleycorn with the release of their first single in December, 1971.
Released a month before "Bloody Sunday" (January 30, 1972) the song
highlighted the growing tensions in the North which would soon
change Ireland forever.
The first mention we can find of Barleycorn was in the January 15,
1972 issue of Spotlight magazine. In reporting the story behind the
record, The Men Behind The Wire, the article told a little
bit of the band's history. Pat McGuigan was an out of work plumber
in Belfast who sang in pubs. In June, 1971, he got together with
Liam Tiernan, Brian McCormick and John Delaney (referred to several
times in Spotlight as John Knox) to form Barley Corn (written
at the time as two words). Francis McPeake would also play
with the band for a short time in place of Liam during Lent, 1972.
However, we also found a picture of the band as a three piece which
was labeled "the first picture of the Barleycorn," so we're not
quite sure whether they started with 3 or 4 members.
They sang rebel songs, along with the odd song written by Pat. In
November, 1971 Pat wrote the now infamous song about the internees
in the North. The song was recorded by Belfast music mogul,
Billy McBurney, but was to be pressed (manufactured) in London.
English companies reportedly refused to press the record and it was
then sent to Release records in Dublin.
The song was released on December 14th and quickly went to Number 1
in the Irish Charts, making it one of the fastest selling Irish
singles ever. The article goes on to describe that Pat was, himself,
interned by the British Army under the Northern Ireland Special
Powers Act. The record was released on the new CRC (Civil Resistance
Committee) record label. All this success was despite the fact that
the record was receiving no airplay at home or abroad. Royalties
from the record's sales were donated to the families of the
With Paddy interned, the group carried on as a three piece and
toured constantly in support of their massive hit record.
More to come......
click on thumbnails for full image
||Paddy McGuigan: Paddy
was the first to leave the band, despite arguably
contributing the most to its success with his songwriting.
In 1975 he brought out a solo album called, My Country, My
Songs and Me. As far as we can tell, he is living north of
Dublin, but we don't know if he is still in the music
||Liam Tiernan: Liam
left the band in 1981 and as far as we can tell, he
emigrated to Boston were he started his own pub, Tiernan's.
A check of the Internet in 2010 shows that Tiernan's website
no longer exists and Liam's postal address is now in San
||John Delaney: Founder
of the band, John stayed with the group through its entire
history. Finally in 1995, the group broke up and John
emigrated to the States. He had met Alec DeGabriele
(formerly of the Fairways) several years earlier and they
became friends. When Barleycorn broke up in Ireland, John
ended up in Cleveland, Ohio where Alec and his bride Mary
O'Toole (Karen King) had emigrated many years earlier. They
teamed up to form The New Barleycorn, which is based in
||Paddy Sweeney: Paddy
left the band around 1986 and joined the Dublin City
||Derek McCormack - RIP:
Derek sadly passed away on January 30, 2005. After the break
up of BThe Barleycorn, her continued to sing and worked with
such luminaries as The Fureys and Daniel O'Donnell. He
released a solo album in 2000 and regularly took part in