"Well thank you very much and welcome to Dinglewood."
Among many other incredible lifetime achievements, like funding the Covid vaccine, Dolly Parton was responsible for perhaps the greatest collision of gaelic games and country music when she famously performed at Ireland's most important pub, Páidí Ó Sé's, back in 1990. This was a few years before Tom Cruise turned up during the filming of 'Far and Away'. Parton was on holiday in Kerry at the time, apparently, and turned up in Ceann Tra, where she was inevitably roped into performing. The evening was captured in camcorder glory for RTE's Cursai programme and was uploaded to youtube by Páidí's pub.
Introducing her on the night was the publican himself. A vintage Larry Bird poster hangs in the background.
In honour of the visit, Páidí presented Parton with his jersey from the 1985 All-Ireland final, the jersey O Se wore when he captained Kerry and won his seventh All-Ireland medal. He assured her that the jersey had not been washed since 1985. Parton seemed disappointed.
"I was hoping it had the sweat still in it," she said.
There was a bit of discussion over whether Parton would attempt to put Páidí's Kerry jersey on, but eventually she declined and merely held it over her chest.
"Hello and welcome to Ireland," Parton says. Dolly partnered with musicians Steve Cooganand Seamus Begley for a stripped-back version of Parton's poverty ballad 'Coat of Many Colours'. All things considered, it's a stellar version of the song.
On his website, the photographer Don McMonagle has a melancholic portrait from 2006 of Páidí in his Chrysler, holding a portrait from that famous night in the driver's seat. The caption says he hoped to drive Dolly Parton around Slea Head in that car. He never got the chance.
It was perhaps just another night at Páidí's but it was a momentous night for country music.
This post was originally published in 2016 to mark Dolly Parton's 70th birthday