1988 – I’m 12, bored at lunch and sitting outside in our clós beag (schoolyard) thinking crap I’ve got 5 more years of this!
I went to school in Coláiste Íosagáin in Stillorgan, Dublin. Although Coláiste Íosagáin was a girls school, we shared the campus (and some classes) with a boys school, Coláiste Eoin…so our little schoolyard was a smallish green space between both schools…
A band began to play that lunchtime, they were pretty cool – Rossa Ó Snodaigh, Eoin Dillon, Colm Mac an Iomaire…I began to feel a little more optimistic about the 5 more years that I had ahead of me in secondary school. That band was the beginning of what was to be Kíla…
1995- I am in France studying at University in Poitiers…and we decide to head to Paris for the weekend to catch Kíla. A school friend of mine, Aoife Nic Cormaic was depping for Dee Armstrong. We crashed the car on the way back..but it was a memorable concert.
2004 – I have moved to Melbourne, Australia, and Kíla are touring their album Luna Park in Australia. I head to their gig in St Kildas and Aindrias de Staic is supporting (who also lived in Melbourne). It’s a great gig and we all head out after. A very violent bouncer takes a dislike to the Irish ‘gypsies’ as I think he referred to us..and we all left. Myself and Colm have a quick chat about getting everyone out of there, into the van and home to bed.
2012 – I return to Ireland having lived in Munich for 2 years. I start to go to Whelan’s once a month to see Rónán Ó Snodaigh who is showcasing each of his solo albums every month for a period of time. I get to know the Whelan’s staff having not frequented Whelan’s much since I was a student. They welcomed me. I felt more at home at those gigs than I had felt in a very very long time. Life seemed to stop for a couple of hours and I could totally immerse myself in Ró’s songs and music.
2015 – I ran my first gig and sold out Whelan’s main venue. I helped out at a second Whelan’s gig and in the course of that work I needed to chat to Colm from Kíla. We reminisced about that night in Melbourne.
2017 – Ró started to do gigs in Whelan’s front bar as part of Donal Scannell’s Call the Dancers. I begged him and/or Kíla to do a gig for me. I spent a long time trying to persuade Colm. I spent a long time trying to persuade Rónán and he caved eventually. That year I also started working with Rossa at An Puball Gaeilge at Electric Picnic. By December of that year Kila had asked me to come on board.
So in a weird way I was there from the beginning, I was there at memorable gigs and musically I feel more at home with Kíla’s music than with any other music I have ever heard or listened to (and I love music).
The rest of the band roared laughing when they heard I was at that gig in Melbourne despite it being a long time ago. Everything just seemed to click into place and added to that, I am a fluent Irish speaker. I now have a 100% bilingual job where I speak Irish to half the band…and English to the other half. Agus is aoibheann liom é.
My favourite Kíla album is Luna Park, the album they were touring when I lived in Australia. I listened to it every single day when I was there and it kept me grounded and feeling like I always had my home and Ireland with me. Go raibh maith agaibh Kíla!