Planxty was an Irish folk music band formed in the 1970s by Christy Moore, Donal Lunny, Andy Irvine (a founder of the Irish mid-sixties group Sweeney's Men), and Liam O'Flynn (piper).

The name Planxty comes from a word used by the classic harpist Turlough O'Carolan in many of his works, and is thought to mean a tribute to a particular person ("Planxty Irwin", for example, being a tribute to Colonel John Irwin of Sligo). "Planxty" is believed to be a corruption of the Irish word and popular toast "sláinte", meaning "good health". Others claim that the word is not Irish in origin but comes from the Latin "plangere," meaning to strike or beat.


In 1972 Christy Moore released his second album Prosperous, which he recorded with his old schoolmates, Lunny, Irvine, and O'Flynn. After recording Prosperous, they formed Planxty. The group's first major performance, opening for Donovan in Galway, was a major success. Neither the audience nor the band knowing what to expect, both were pleasantly surprised. Irvine, unable to see the audience through the lighting, was worried that the crowd was on the verge of rioting. It took him several minutes to realize what he was hearing was enthusiasm.

Planxty released the highly acclaimed single, The Cliffs of Dooneen, after which, they were promptly signed to an exclusive contract in conjunction with Polydor Records. The bandmembers, inexperienced in the world of business, signed a contract for &pound 30,000, but for six albums, and with a low royalty percentage. They were never to make much money from album sales, and were substantially in debt by the time the group dissolved.

The group became very popular in the next few years in Ireland, Britain and Europe, and they recorded two more albums in the following two years. After that they split up, and a compilation called The Planxty Collection was released. As time passed, the personnel changed - Johnny Moynihan replaced Donal Lunny in July of 1973, and Paul Brady stepped in for Christy Moore in 1974.

Christy, Andy, Donal and Liam, the original lineup, reformed Planxty in 1979. They recorded three albums, and made several changes and additions to their lineup, most notably the joining of Matt Molloy, flautist from the Bothy Band, later with The Chieftains.

In 1983, Donal Lunny and Christy Moore left to concentrate on Moving Hearts, and Andy and Liam started pursuing solo careers (the former in the band Patrick Street). The band broke up for the final time.... or so it seemed. A low-key gig in Lisdoonvarna led to gigs in Dublin and County Clare in 2004, and the release of "Live 2004" on DVD and CD. It remains to be seen if this is a new lease of life.


  • Planxty, 1973
  • The Well Below The Valley, 1973
  • Cold Blow And The Rainy Night, 1974
  • After The Break, 1979
  • The Woman I Loved So Well, 1980
  • Words & Music, 1983
  • The Planxty Collection, 1989
  • Live 2004, 2004

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