Northern Ireland

Whole lotta shakin' - fans rock Dolan showbiz statue

The statue was unveiled in 2008
Image caption The statue was unveiled in 2008

Adoring fans have rocked - and better rocked - the statue of a late showband legend so much that it has had to be taken away and reinforced.

Joe Dolan who was famous for hits like "Good Looking Woman" and "Make Me An Island" died in 2007.

A bronze life-size statue of the singer was put up in his hometown of Mullingar, County Westmeath in 2008 and quickly became a mecca for fans.

The statue became loose because so many people got on to it to have their photographs taken.

It has now been removed and taken to a foundry in Dublin for urgent repairs.

The late singer's brother, Ben, greeted the news of the removal with the quip: "Joe's gone on tour!", Westmeath County Council chairman Michael Dollard told the Irish Times.

"The statue became loose as a consequence of people literally getting up on the statue," he said.

"I would say it is the most photographed statue in Ireland."

In a statement, the council said the original installation company was working on additional foundation fixings to make it more stable.

Joe Dolan died aged 64 from a suspected brain haemorrhage in Dublin.

He was a showband singer, who enjoyed musical success for over 40 years in Ireland and around the world.

Born in Mullingar, his first job was with the local newspaper, the Westmeath Examiner, but after completing his apprenticeship he let his passion for music take over.

A string of hits followed in the showband era of the 1960s and 70s as he entertained fans across Europe and as far afield as Argentina and Brazil.

Dolan also earned fame for being the first western pop singer to play in Moscow at the height of the Cold War in 1978.

His biggest hit, Make Me An Island, went as high as number three in the UK chart in 1969, and reached number one in 14 other countries.

In a statement issued at the time of his death, his family said he was a "most charitable and unassuming man who often gave of his time and undoubted talent to support those less fortunate then himself".

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