Pete St John, the Irish singer-songwriter who wrote the Fields of Athenry and the Rare Auld Times, has died at the age of 90.
St John, who was born Peter Mooney in Dublin in 1932, died peacefully at Dublin's Beaumont Hospital early on Saturday, his family said in a statement.
The legendary traditional musician first trained as an electrician and worked in the US and Canada before returning to Ireland and making his name as a musician.
Many of his songs, including the Rare Auld Times, explored how his beloved Dublin had changed over the years he had been away.
St John described famously described his songs as "magic carpets" that could tell stories and bring people together.
"Songs are magic carpets. They can tell a story over and over again without boring the pants off the listener and maybe take us out of ourselves for a few moments of peaceful escapism," St John once said.
His songs were recorded by famous Irish musicians and groups, including the Dubliners, Paddy Reilly, Mary Black, and Daniel O'Donnell.
St John's songwriting talents won him numerous awards, including the IMRO songwriter of the year award and the Variety Club of Ireland's "Gold Heart" Award for his outstanding contribution to Irish music.
St John is predeceased by his wife Susan and survived by his two sons Kieron and Brian Mooney.
Minister for Culture Catherine Martin paid tribute to St John in a post on Twitter.
"I am so sorry to hear of the death of Pete St John," Martin wrote on Twitter. "A talented songwriter and musician, his songs are deeply interwoven into the fabric of Irish life. My deepest condolences to his family and many friends. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam."
I am so sorry to hear of the death of Pete St John.
A talented songwriter and musician, his songs are deeply interwoven into the fabric of Irish life.March 12, 2022