‘Oh Me, Oh My’: Masculinity, Popular Music and Reviving Joe Dolan

  • Méabh Ní Fhuartháin


This essay explores the projection and reception of masculinity in the revival of Joe Dolan’s singing career in Ireland from the mid-1990s. The discussion examines diverse cultural performances up to his unexpected death in 2007 and the contexts in which his success continued postmortem. Following a discussion of Joe’s early career, I consider Dolan’s late album releases, which coincided with the emergence of the Celtic Tiger. The intersection between a changed national cultural space and Dolan’s revitalized popularity sheds light on the reconfiguration of the past executed in the present. My second point of critical engagement develops these ideas further, looking at the use of the Dolan hit ‘You’re Such a Good Looking Woman’ in the 2007 Meteor phone campaign and offers an opportunity to explore the transformation of his celebrity status within a culture of zealous Tiger consumption. This campaign was significant in acknowledging and consolidating Joe’s place within the wider sphere of popular culture in Ireland to both older and newer fan bases. Finally, I discuss how, since his demise on St Stephen’s Day (26 December) 2007, Dolan’s persona continues to be drawn upon in a variety of contexts including The Joe Dolan Reunion Tour and the theatre production, The Night Joe Dolan’s Car Broke Down. Collectively, these performative moments are identified as key points in an Irish cultural soundtrack during the period 1990 to 2010, offering a window on Joe Dolan, masculinity and popular music in Ireland.


Popular Culture Popular Music Dance Hall Celtic Tiger Eurovision Song Contest 
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© Méabh Ní Fhuartháin 2014

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  • Méabh Ní Fhuartháin

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