The Black Donnellys, world-record breaking band, in Costa Mesa

The Black Donnellys from Dublin will be in Costa Mesa, at the Harp Inn Irish Pub Thursday night and Anchor Bar Friday night. Both shows start at 8 p.m.

For nearly five days, Dave Browne strummed at his guitar in the Temple Bar in Dublin. He was out to break a world record.

He took 25-second breaks in between some songs. Also, he could never play the same song twice within a four-hour period.

When it was over he was the new Guinness World Record Holder for a marathon guitar playing of 114 hours. At that point, he probably could’ve used a Guinness beer.

“I gave up drinking,” Browne said of his training for the world record set in 2011. “That is really hard to do when you are where I’m from.”


Browne won’t be going for world records (or avoiding drinks) this week, yet his highly talented guitar playing, part of The Black Donnellys, will be in Costa Mesa, at the Harp Inn Irish Pub Thursday night and Anchor Bar Friday night. Both shows start at 8 p.m. There is no cover charge at either bar.

Browne said he worked with an ultra-marathoner trainer for strict preparation for nine weeks so that he could break the record. During the final month before attempting to break the world record, he tested his body by playing for 55 hours.

During the marathon guitar set, he went 10 hours straight without a break. He also never slept or showered during the world-record breaking performance.

He originally thought 100 hours was the record, so he delivered some improvised guitar playing during the final 14 hours.


These days, Browne is still breaking records. This past October, The Black Donnellys broke the world record for the longest gig, playing for 16 days (372 hours) with multiple artists at Ri Ra Las Vegas, where the band continues to perform and continues to attract music lovers.

The Black Donnellys, who also feature lead singer/guitarist Dave Rooney, were based in Temple Bar before taking their high energy act to Las Vegas.

Their lively performances were just what the atmosphere called for on Fleet Street in Dublin.

“It’s a cultural quarter in Dublin,” Rooney said of Fleet Street. “It’s a place where all the tourists flock to. We get a lot of Americans and Europeans. Playing there is great. They want to hear traditional tunes and something fresh. The energy is great there. You’ll always be hit with a waft of music and some of that atmospheric chatter on Fleet Street.”

The Black Donnellys aim to bring that same energy to their shows while in Costa Mesa. Browne met Tony Altobelli in Dublin and Altobelli, a Newport Harbor High alum and the Orange Coast College sports information director, became an instant fan, wanting to get the band to Southern California.

They performed in Long Beach and Costa Mesa back in February and hope to keep returning, while maintaining their shows in Las Vegas.

The band plays a wide variety of music that includes traditional tunes and original songs.

“It’s got everything,” Browne said of The Black Donnellys’ shows. “Dave Rooney played all the resorts through Europe and Spain. He’s really great. There is a lot of good music. There are a lot of good stories. It’s got a mixture of everything, to pop, traditional and our originals. It’s a high energy, very entertaining show. That’s how we got to Vegas.”