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Self Aid was a benefit concert for unemployment held in Dublin, Ireland on 17 May 1986.[1][2] The concert performances were primarily by Irish musicians, although Elvis Costello and Chris Rea, both Englishmen of Irish descent, were designated "honorary Irishmen" for the day; the event was promoted by Jim Aiken.[3] The concert included the last performance by The Boomtown Rats until they reformed in 2013.[4]

Self Aid
Self-aid poster.jpg
Self-Aid poster with logo
GenrePop music
Rock music
Traditional Irish music
Dates17 May 1986
Location(s)RDS Arena in Ballsbridge, Dublin, Ireland
Years active1986
Founded byTony Bolland
Niall Matthews

The purpose of the concert was to highlight the chronic unemployment problem in Ireland at the time, with nearly 250,000 people unemployed. The 14-hour concert was the largest that had ever been staged in Ireland.[3] All musicians that took part donated their time free of charge.[2] All profits from the concert and subsequent album, Live for Ireland, went to the Self Aid Trust. The telethon raised millions of pounds for a job creation trust fund as well as over 1000 job pledges.[1] The song chosen for the finale was "Let's Make it Work", written by Christy Moore and Dublin songwriter Paul Doran.[2] Tributes were paid to Phil Lynott who had died just 4 months earlier, including a performance by a reformed Thin Lizzy with Gary Moore on lead vocals.[5]

The concept of the concert - job creation through pledges - attracted criticism both at the time and subsequently, with many claims that no jobs had actually arisen as a result other than vacancies that already existed.[1]


Concert performersEdit

Live For Ireland songsEdit

  • Maggie's Farm - U2 (6:46)
  • Seven into the Sea - In Tua Nua (3:53)
  • Many Rivers to Cross - Elvis Costello and the Attractions (2:41)
  • Dirty Old Town - The Pogues (3:45)
  • Don't Pay the Ferryman - Chris DeBurgh (3:32)
  • Harry's Game - Clannad (2:32)
  • The Bridge - Cactus World News (4:19)
  • Looking after No. 1 - The Boomtown Rats (4:50) [not on US release]
  • Here Comes the Night - Van Morrison (3:58)
  • Don't Believe a Word - Thin Lizzy (2:23) [not on US release]
  • Steel River - Chris Rea (4:48)
  • Make it Work - Christy Moore / Paul Doran (Larry Mullen) (3:13)
  • The Lark - Moving Hearts (5:35)
  • The Island - Paul Brady (5:09)
  • Feel it Now - The Fountainhead (5:01)
  • Exiles - Auto Da Fe (5:17)

Alternate Tracks on US ReleaseEdit

  • Boil the Breakfast Early - The Chieftains
  • Joey's on the Street Again - The Boomtown Rats

Alternate Tracks on Double Vinyl/Double cassette ReleaseEdit

  • My Friend John - Those Nervous Animals
  • A Sense of Freedom - Les Enfants
  • The Arrival of Queen Sheeba in Galway - De Dannan
  • Old Pal - Brush Shiels
  • Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy - Bagatelle
  • Keep on Climbin' - Freddie White
  • Tell Me - Blue in Heaven
  • Follow Me - Rory Gallagher
  • Carol - Scullion
  • Leave My Kitten Alone - Elvis Costello and the Attractions
  • Skidoo - Stockton's Wing
  • Independence - Big Self

Note: There have been multiple versions of this album, with varying tracks, in different formats and across different territories


  1. ^ a b c Carroll, Jim (19 May 2008). "Self Aid 22 Years On". Irish Times. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Lynch, Mick. "Self-Aid: Looking Back Twenty Years On". Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Self-Aid to Help Irish Unemployed". Billboard. 98 (19): 90. 10 May 1986. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  4. ^ "History of the Boomtown Rats". Boomtown Rats. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  5. ^ Putterford, Mark (2002). Phil Lynott: The Rocker. Omnibus Press. pp. 271–272. ISBN 0-7119-9104-9.

External linksEdit