Five years on: the anniversary of the Trinitones

From humble beginnings in a dingy Budapest bedroom to performing at Electric Picnic, how have the past five years been for Trinity’s all-male a capella group?

The Trinitones celebrated their fifth birthday on the evening of April 1 with the event “Trinitones Present V: The Fifth Anniversary Concert”. Selling out days in advance, generations one through six came together for an evening of a cappella music in Bello Bar, Portobello. Each generation performed several songs during the evening, interspersed with tunes from the current Trinitones.

During their five years of existence, the group have become festival regulars at Electric Picnic and Trinity Ball, as well as having performed in the Aviva Stadium, Croke Park, and the Mansion House and even capturing the attention and praise of Wheatus themselves following a “confused cover” of Teenage Dirtbag. The Trinitones have become one of Trinity’s most popular and successful musical groups and have now emerged from their toddler years. As they celebrate this milestone, Trinity News takes a look back at their journey to date, and asks: where did this all-male a cappella group begin?

“Barrett spoke of the group’s humble beginnings, as himself and Callaghan came up with the idea in a dingy, dark room in Hungary.”

Following an introduction from the current Trinitones, the first generation took to the stage to set the tone for the night. The group was founded in 2012 by two students from Trinity’s music department, Lynsey Callaghan and Patrick Barrett. Barrett spoke of the group’s humble beginnings, as himself and Callaghan came up with the idea to form an all-male a capella group in a dingy, dark bedroom in Hungary. The concept was realised into a reality following the pair’s return from their Erasmus studies. Despite being a founding member of the group, Callaghan was not a singer with the Trinitones and has remained the only female member of  the group since its inception. She acted as artistic director alongside Barrett, arranging music and making sure “the lads weren’t acting like complete fools”. The first generation went on to perform Rolling In The Deep as well as Mumford & Sons’ Sigh No More, much to the delight of many in the audience.

The original Trinitones were followed by the current group, who debuted their version of “Rag ‘n’ Bone Man”, arranged by Senior Freshman member Sam White. This went down as one of the hits of the night, receiving a great response from the audience members.

The majority of the same faces from Generation One, along with a few new ones, appeared again as the second generation took to the stage. 2013 marked a milestone in the Trinitones’ journey as the group reached a crossroads: go hard or go home. Generation Two decided to release a cover of Wheatus’ “Teenage Dirtbag”, which, if did not prove successful, could have marked the end of the group.

Ultimately it did not come to this as the video went viral and the group experienced significant growth in its wake. Their version of the hit classic captured the attention and praise of Wheatus themselves, which proved to be a turning point for the group as, according to White, it “made the group what it is today, despite the bizarreness of the video”.

Generation Two’s performances included a rendition of Jose Gonzales’ Heartbeats, followed by another Mumford & Sons hit, Timshel. The current Trinitones, Generation Six, followed this up with a sean-nós style version of Shape Of You, intermixed with Sia’s Cheap Thrills, in a satirical style which is not unusual for the group.

Ben Jacob and Daragh Kneeshaw took over as artistic directors in 2013 and spearheaded Generation Two as well as Generation Three. The duo became the Trinitones’ first elected directors and “the poster boys for a generation of Irish a cappella fans”. Generation Three saw the group travel to both “London-Derry and London-London”, as well as “attracting a wealth of international signings”, according to the group themselves. This generation performed the classic Beatles hit Help, as well as one of the Trinitones’ most renowned tunes, Stacy’s Mom.

Generation Three was followed by an unexpected guest appearance from “Generation minus 44”, a fellow all-male a cappella group of a more mature demographic. The Brook Singers first met the Trinitones in the National Concert Hall and are avid supporters of their younger counterparts. “Generation minus 44” sang their own arrangements of the classics Dixie and When the Saints Go Marching In. The harmonies, along with the depth of sound, filled the venue and made for one of the standout performances of the evening.

Generation Four took to the stage to perform Akon’s Beautiful as well as yet another Mumford & Sons song, After the Storm. Next up was Generation Five, marking another change of artistic directors with Daragh Kneeshaw staying on and Ben Jacob being replaced by Robert Somerville. This generation is acclaimed for releasing R.Kelly’s Ignition (Remix), another successful video for the group.

“Generation 6 performed the infamous Teenage Dirtbag and finished the evening with a rendition of The Auld Triangle.”

The current generation of Trinitones were the final group to take to the stage. This generation saw Neil Dunne, a member since 2014, take over the reins as the sole artistic director. This year has proved to be a huge success for the group, from hosting fellow Australian a cappella singers The Tiger Tones to going viral on Following a successful Fundit campaign, the group have raised sufficient funds to travel to Australia for a tour this summer. Dunne credited a large part of this success to his fellow members, stating that this was one of the first years that the whole group got involved, not only from an entertainment and performance point of view, but also in a managerial and organisational capacity.

Generation Six performed the infamous Teenage Dirtbag and finished the evening with a rendition of The Auld Triangle, with all six generations along with The Brook Singers joining in. The success of the event mirrored the overall success the group has achieved throughout the past five years. Looking towards the future of the group, Sam White outlines what the group are anticipating in the next few months: “Now we look ahead to Trinity Ball and an Alumni Ball in London which we are all looking forward to. We have a busy summer ahead with corporate events, weddings, Electric Picnic and the small matter of a tour to Australia”.

Mary Hartnett

Mary Hartnett is the current Managing Editor of Trinity News. She is a Senior Sophister BESS student, and a former Trinity Life Editor.