Bríd O’Riordan Powerful Debut Album

Bríd O’Riordan is from Cill na Martra, a beautiful village in the Muskerry Gaeltacht in West Cork and is now living in West Clare. Scáthán mo Shaoil is the title of her debut album which was produced by Philip Begley and features a host of luminaries from the music world such as Paul Brady, Kevin Glackin, Mick O’Brien, Kevin Burke and others. This recording features two of Bríd’s tracks from the album and a conversation she had with Ger Sweeney for his weekly “Live on Eire” programme on Spain-based Talk Radio Europe.

Chatting with The Raines

Described as a Folk/Americana trio, The Raines, comprising Ruth Dillon, Julianna Erkkonen and Yvonne Tiernan are based in Galway. Each is an experienced and talented folk musician so since joining forces in 2019 it is fair to say that they have been making beautiful music that has caught the attention of audiences far and wide. Ger Sweeney spoke to The Raines in December 2021 and this is how the conversation went.

CallyAnna – Singer Songwriter Breaking Through

CallyAnnaIt is never easy being discovered and as Christie Hennessy said many years ago on The Late Late Show it took him about 40 years to become an overnight success. CallyAnna, a hugely talented Mayo-based singer songwriter told me all about her musical journey as she prepares to launch her second studio album. She’s very talented, very hardworking and very enthusiastic. Hear her story here

 

 

 

 

G2 Summit 18th May 2021

It’s the first G2 of 2021 – Now that there is something to chat about George Lee and Ger Sweeney get together for a chat about the news. Cyber attacks, cuckoo funds, the re-opening of the economy and what about the 99s? are among the topics discussed.

Camilla Griehsel – From Sweden to Ireland and the Journey Taken

It was during the Covid restrictions so the meeting between Camilla Griehsel and Ger Sweeney was via Zoom but the ensuing conversation flowed as freely as if they were sharing a coffee overlooking the sea in beautiful West Cork.

Camilla is Swedish and has been singing since she was five years old. Her journey to her home in West Cork has taken her via Britain, the United States and South America. She sings in many languages and has been an important part of the Irish music scene for many years. Camilla spoke to Ger for his Irish radio programme on Spain-based Talk Radio Europe. Listen below.

 

 

The Day the Music Died

On 3rd February 1959 the death was announced of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and JP Richardson (the Big Bopper). The stars died when the plane they were travelling incrash outside Clear Water, Iowa. The crash also took the life of pilot Roger Peterson. Irish Music producer and author PJ Curtis was a still in secondary school at that time but, as a music fan was shaken by the terrible news. His reponse to the tragedy was to write a short story. He called this story “The Day the Music Died” and he sent it to Ger Sweeney on this, the 62nd anniversary of the tragic crash.

Here, Ger narrates the story

 

Jim Schofield & His Home-Built Boat for Solo Atlantic Crossing

Jim Schofield is busy working away in the garage beside his house in Blessington, Co. Wicklow at present. He hopes that he will complete it before the summer and his plan is to race it across the Atlantic later this year.

Jim took time out to talk to Ger Sweeney about the project. Hear the interview below and keep up to date with his plan and eventual journey by googling “liffeysailor” to find him on Youtube, Tick Tock and other social media platforms.

 

 

President Michael D Higgins’ Christmas Message

President Michael D Higgins has issued his Christmas and New Year message. Read the text or enjoy the video.

Mar Uachtarán na hÉireann, as President of Ireland, may I send each and every one of you greetings and my warmest wishes for a peaceful and Happy Christmas.

What a year we have had, a year in which we have lost so many to this pandemic and during which the lives of so many of our people have been changed utterly as we made our shared efforts to protect each other.

In 2020, as we came together to meet the challenge of a global pandemic, we were called on to undertake a demanding adjustment to our way of life, one that has required considerable resilience, self-sacrifice and compassion from us all.

May I, as President, say how gratifying it has been to see the great expression of generosity that has been demonstrated throughout this difficult time.

We all have been so fortunate, to have delivered for our welfare, countless examples of self-sacrifice on the part of essential workers, neighbours and family members, all doing their utmost to lessen the isolation and disruption that this year has brought.

When we reflect on our recent experiences this Christmas this spirit of solidarity can be our guiding light as we proceed onwards towards a new year that will offer us our challenges but which we can approach with hope as a result of what we have been doing together. 

Working together on this project of controlling COVID-19, as it impinges on our lives, requires the best of us all.  We need not only to speak the language of citizenship, but to deliver it and to share it, as we encourage each other to have a vision of the light that will surely come if we work as one, renewing and redoubling our efforts to suppress the Coronavirus.

Invoking solidarity requires us, of course, to understand the vulnerability of others.

For all of us, 2020 has been a challenging year.  For vulnerable groups, however, the impact of Covid-19 has been greatly magnified.

May I suggest that the compassion, care and empathy we extend to such groups will define how history will recall these times. 

We have learnt in recent months that kindness is a precious commodity reflecting a collective concern for all with whom we share a mutual space.  We have seen so many examples of good citizens placing the common good above their own wants, making sacrifices as they think beyond the self in the protection of others.

The Christmas story of a journey to Bethlehem is a founding story of a long and difficult journey, and is invoked as the source of a new dawn and the birth of a new and better world for all.

Christmas has always signified a moment of hope, and the revival of hope, a moment to find encouragement, even in the most difficult and trying of circumstances.

Today, we share in the grief of those who have lost loved-ones this year.  We share, too, the pain of those whose lives and livelihoods have been changed, and who face uncertainty for the future, and we stand with our friends, family members and neighbours who have experienced isolation and being separated from those who previously sustained them.

We also remember, this year, in a special way, the many who have been unable to travel to be with loved-ones but who, I know, will be connected in spirit during the festive season.

Let us, however, continue to journey forward in a spirit of hope and solidarity.  As we stand at a defining moment in our nation’s history, let us choose together how we wish to write this next chapter; how we wish to shape a new Ireland waiting to be born.    

It is an Ireland which can be the better for our reflection on what it is that we wish to value, an Ireland that can better address our shared existence, our shared vulnerability and our interdependence, all of our relationships. 

Today, as we move beyond the Winter Solstice towards the longer, warmer days to come, let us renew our sense of wonderful possibilities yet to be realised and resolve to journey forward in a spirit of solidarity, of sensitivity to memories to be recalled, and of forgiveness sought and offered so that together we can navigate our way safely and with joy towards that shared and brighter future.

I wish you once again a Happy Christmas, and a New Year of hope and promise.

Nollaig Shona daoibh go léir.

Beir Beannacht.

Tommy Drennan’s O Holy Night

It was at Number 1 in the Irish charts on Christmas day in 1971 and this version of “O Holy Night”, sung by Tommy Drennan is a very special version. It is special because it features Tommy as a boy soprano with the Redemptorist Choir in Limerick singing the first verse as recorded in 1953. The second verse is sung by Tommy, all grown up, with a glorious tenor voice when he was fronting the Monarchs Showband in 1971. Speaking to Ger Sweeney for a Christmas special radio programme, Tommy tells the story of how the hit record came to be.

 

Book about Limerick City’s Shops and Shopping Launched

“Are you Going Up Town” is the title of a wonderful book that explores the shops of Limerick City through the years, and the Limerick shopping experience there that was so special. Written by Hélène Bradley Davies, Ursula Callaghan and Maura Cronin, the book is a result of them asking “Where do we shop and why do we shop there?” Simple questions really, but the response varies from – ‘That’s where my mother went’, to ‘They have the best selection’, to the simple fact of the particular shop’s closeness to home.

The book is full of wonderful pictuers of Limerick from the 1800s onwards and charts the development of shops and of shopping in the city, showing how retailing animated the thoroughfares and the fine buildings of the new town, as well as the medieval streets and lanes of the older parts of the city. The authors write about, and have pictures of the shops of bygone days and the wide array of goods that they offered while also featuring the shop owners, their employees, and the shoppers. A major strength of the book is the use of memories recounted by the shoppers, shop owners and assistants who were interviewed for this project. The clarity and vibrancy of their reminiscences are astonishing, with interviewees able to remember entire streets of shops that are long gone, their proprietors and their employees

The book describes historical trends in the range and type of goods being sold in shops, as well as changes in the organisation of retailing, such as the rise of the department store and the retail chain store or “multiple”, and the decline of the small family shop. As well as the history of local shops and shopping, the authors expertly delineate various aspects of the geography of retailing. It is clear that shopping in all periods was a different experience for different social classes, and in different parts of the city.

This is not just a social history. As well as leading the reader on a fascinating journey through the city of yesteryear, it provides an important reference point for current debates on the future of Limerick. As the city wrestles with profound changes in retailing, in particular the rise of on-line shopping, the book invites us to think seriously about the future of the city centre.

Ger Sweeney spoke to one of the authors, Dr. Ursula Callaghan about the book. The interview was heard on his Irish radio programme on Spain-based Talk Radio Europe. Their chat can be heard below.