In January 1972, the four joined forces to form Planxty, recording their first single, "Three Drunken Maidens"/"Sí-Bheag, Sí-Mhór", in Trend Studios on 18 January 1972. The band performed on RTÉ's The Late, Late Show the following Saturday, and played their first show on 6 March, a 30 minute set at The Mugs Gig on a bill that included balladeer Paddy Reilly. They then assumed a weekly residency at The Mugs Gig, began rehearsing, and started playing live around Ireland.
The group's first major performance–opening for Donovan at the Hangar in Galway, at Easter 1972–was a huge success. Neither the audience nor the band knew what to expect, and both were pleasantly surprised. Irvine, unable to see the audience through the glare of the stage lights, was worried that the crowd might be on the verge of rioting. It took him several minutes to realize that what he was hearing was the expression of their enthusiasm.
"Planxty" was a word used by the classic harper Turlough O'Carolan in many of his works, and is believed to denote a tribute to a particular person: "Planxty Irwin," for example, would be in honor of Colonel John Irwin of Sligo. "Planxty" is thought to be a corruption of the Irish word and popular toast "sláinte", meaning "good health."
By North Utsire