AGE has done nothing to wither the spirit of George Furey.

The 61-year-old booms with good health, while his vigorous guitar style still drives the rebel rousing sound of Ireland’s folk legends, The Fureys, who have been together for 34 years and who arrive at Clitheroe’s Grand Theatre on Wednesday..

“We started off in a bar called O’Donoghue’s in Dublin when we were paid two pounds.....and we ended up playing for Pope John Paul when he came to Ireland,” said George.

“That’s a day I’ll never forget - we put the aunties and my mum in the bandwagon, so they got to be near the Pope.

“But in those early days, sometimes we’d play on the street to get something to eat, until someone would come along and give us a gig in a pub.

“It was a bit of a struggle, but I always say keep at it, keep working.

“Music is our life, it courses through us.”

Eventually, they enjoyed huge success, with a string of hits including When You Were Sweet Sixteen, The Green Fields of France and Red Rose Cafe.

“To play some of the biggest concert halls in the world, such as Sydney Opera House and New York’s Carnegie Hall, well, we’d just never have imagined that when we were kicking around a tough council estate as kids, dreaming that one day we’d play our instruments for a living, ” said George.

He credits the brothers’ musical ability to their parents, Ted and Nora, who encouraged their sons to play music from a very early age.

“My father was a showman, so there were always sing-songs in the house,” said George, whose brother Eddie also plays in the band.

“He played the banjo, fiddle, guitar and bodhran drum and my mother was a great accordion player.

“Mum said I was born singing songs.

“My father taught us how to pick up instruments and play them - he was my teacher.

“I loved it then, and I still love it.

“I savour the music and I love the feedback from the people.

“We like to try something new in our shows, but we always play the hits - they’re what people still want to hear.”

  • The Fureys, Clitheroe Grand, Wednesday, November 28. Details from the box office on 01200 421599.