I left Rob to head to work, with thoughts of a move to Berlin, I headed to Adrian’s super cool apartment and we spent the afternoon chatting. We got to Frollein Langer about 7 to set up, in a gorgeous living room style room, with a bathtub at the centre of it all. I played to a load of familiar faces and a few new ones too, at what was a beautiful night.
Off to Prague
The next morning I was up and at 'em, and on a train to Prague. Just over 4 hours railing though stunning countryside and I’m in another country. Travis O'Neill came to collect me from the train station and take me to my AirBnB. Travis is Irish and has lived in Czech for 7 years, playing music, currently with two outfits – Travis O'Neill and his Cardinal Sins, a rocking folk band who were got to see on St Patrick’s Day and Pipes and Pints a super popular Punk band. It was Travis that suggested I be booked for the St Patrick’s Day Festival.
We hung out for a bit and had a few Czech beers before I went for a wander and got my bearings. I'd missed out on a lot if sleep the previous two nights, so took an early night and got up to go for a wander round the city, in search of goof coffee and insta story shots!
Travis suggested I find Onesip Coffee and he was right! Great coffee and a little barrista store in the old town. Friendly staff asked what I was up to in Prague and I told them I was playing for the St Patrick's Day celebrations. Two flat whites and a few insta pics and I’m off on my way round the city. Along the river and over a bridge, back over Charles bridge and back to the apartment. I get an Instagram message from the guys in the cafe asking where I’m playing that night and Zdeněk who made my coffee came along with his girlfriend Teresa to the first of two shows in Prague, AND took some awesome photos!!
Myself and Travis had a gorgeous wee gig that we didn't want to finish - and the fact that the girl who was stage managing disappeared, meant we did a good few extra songs for a really beautiful audience! Prague was off to a great start!
Saturday was St Patrick's Day, the day of the Festival show, and also the day for Ireland to beat England in the Rugby and become 6 Nations and Grand Slam winners. Myself and Ivi headed to an Irish bar for food and to get a seat in advance of the match to revel in the atmosphere. I had to control myself and try not to shout and scream at the screens to keep my voice for the gig that night!
Back to the amazing Rock Cafe in the city centre to see Jameson had the place decked out fabulously, cocktails flowing and a face-painter installed painting flags and shamrocks all round! I was a bit anxious of how the gig would go - given St Patrick's Day is hardly the day for a singer songwriter to stand up and sing about their feelings! But the audience were amazing and listening and I met some great people! After my set Travis took to the stage with his brilliant band and was followed by a brilliant cocktail display and Blood or Whiskey! Gig photos below by the incredibly talented Ivi Rebova.
Ended up spending the whole day at the airport with majorly delayed flight - but it didn't dampen the mood! Looking forward to a return visit to Prague!
It's not every day you get asked to play at Twitter - but I was invited to take part in their International Women's Day lunchtime event!
I played a few songs at the beginning and the end of the event (after some string breakage, just as I was about to start!), and got to hear the lovely Lousie McSharry and the inspirational Sinead Burke speak about women who inspire them! #SheInspiresMe
The Open Door Sessions
Was invited to play at the Open Door Sessions in Bailieborough on the 16th of February and it was brilliant! Got to share the stage with fellow Carrickmacross band Native Talk - who were fab! Played new song 'Sorry' as a worldwide exclusive for them!
The CO Club
Then it was back to Oldcastle to one of my favourite ever gigs, in Crean's Bar. Sharing the night was Robert John Aldriff and Nuala Leonard was a total pleasure and once again the audience were quiet and listening intently! New song 'I've got news for you' got a first time airing, and even had some singing along!
Live at the Underground
Finally I was playing a headline gig at the Undergound on Dame Street, Dublin. The incredible Niall McGuigan opened the night with songs off his album Awareness and some Monoglian throat singing. My turn came and felt like it went very quickly - playing to a very quiet room, listening to every word - especially of the newer songs! There were some laughs, and apparently some tears - so a good balanced gig! Ha! Thanks so much to everyone who came out on a Sunday night to see me play, especially those who had to drive a distance!
SelfMade is a platform to explore DIY music in Ireland through performance, discussion, and art, with a strong focus on inclusion in music. Our goal is to celebrate the work of DIY musicians and to create a supportive space to explore the realities of getting a music career off the ground.
Celtic Connections - Glasgow
Then it was off to Glasgow for a flying visit to play at the Danny Kyle Stage at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall! I got to hang out with my friend Horse McDonald, who very kindly collected me from the airport and loaned me her guitar and we got to catch up. And I played a 20 minute set for a huge listening audience! Happy days!
Then I got to hang out with Dave Arcari and Margaret McDonald who I met in Vienna! They took me home with them to their gorgeous home in Balmaha and took me out for a walk around Loch Lomond and got to see the beautiful Ben Lomond topped in snow!
I was very excited to be asked by my college friend Brendan Walsh to join him for the opening concert performance at the Shannonside Winter Music Festival. Brendan and I spent a few weeks working on a repertoire, over whatsapp and emails, as he lives in Switzerland! We performed a range of songs, some Irish folk, a couple of mine and some other curveballs just for the craic! Check out some of the songs below!!
After the opening concert we played a few songs at Brendan's Picker's Sessions and at a local restaurant over the weekend,and I got to share the stage with the great Luka Bloom! It was a brilliant festival with an endless supply of amazing music, that even took over Bunratty Castle! Check it out and go next year - you will not be disappointed!
I booked a gorgeous little airbnb for myself after the festival to do some writing and work on some new music. A converted barn, in Fanore, with a pot belly stove and a fresh homemade loaf waiting for me on my arrival! Limited wifi and blustery winds and mist kept me indoors and ensured I got some work done! More of that to come at upcoming gigs! Brendan also came to visit and we went for a wander, and we made a couple of videos - below!
Brendan and I have loads of plans for this year - so stay tuned for some more music from us!
Following the Irish tour we were back on a plane and headed back to Germany! A four night run of house concerts around Dusseldorf and Cologne, with an instore in our favourite record store - Rainking Records. Gorgeous nights all round, with a surprise visit from the very talented Ben Turner who we discovered busking in Galway while on the Irish tour!
Following a very short trip home to Ireland - less than 36 hours - we were back on a plane to Hamburg for 3 more gigs. More amazing people came to the gigs on the mainland and then we took a late night train to the island of Sylt for the last of the gigs which was the icing on the cake! We took a walk along the cliffs and drank hot choclate under christmas trees and ate cake like it was going out of fashion!
Mark's Irish tour took us all over Ireland over 3 weeks playing in Cork, Gaway, Donegal, Belfast, Dublin, Kerry, Mullingar and back to Cork again! Hot water bottles were at the fore and we took the Connor Pass into Dingle - and played an instore for Mazz in the record store there!
Kaltern Pop is a sister festival to Haldern Pop in Germany. Brain child of Stefan Reichmann, Kaltern was the village he visited with his family as a child, and he decided to bring a music festival there. A German speaking town in the vineyards of northern Italy, it has all the traits of Germany and Italy rolled into one. Confusing I tell you! We were scheduled to play 3 gigs - two in the village and one at the top of the mountian. The first gig was in a cinema and the second in a wine museum - both amazing gigs with incredibe audiences. But the third gig topped them all. On Staurday morning we drove up a windy road, to take us to the 'Penegal' at the top of the mountain, to meet Cantus Domus - the choir who we would sing with today. We walked in and they were rehearsing in the most beautiful room I have ever played in! They had arranged 'It beats me' for Mark, and 'Lilacs' for me. I litereally cried during the rehearsal because it was so beautiful!
We weren't quite sure how any people would turn up - there was seating set out for about 40 people - but once the doors opened, people just kept coming in! there were about 180 there by the time we started and the atmosphere was electric. Mark and I performed 3 songs and the choir joined us and then we did Lilacs and I performed Little Bird, This Secret and Both Sides Now. Hands down - gig of the year!
Mark's new CD came out on 20th October and we were in Switzerland to play a few gigs. The incredibly talented ROMY was also on the tour for added awesomeness, keys and vocals too! We played a series of gigs - with a cool caravan for a green room, a dance studio for a gig, a mountin side restaurant gig overlooking lake zurick and a chic furniture store gig! We got to the local prettiest cow competition (not it's real name!) and saw the cow parade and got to spend time with Fat Rosie.
I was super excited to head back to Kew in London to meet up with the Harris' and play in their amazing gallery space again - this time solo! Elizabeth collected me from the airport and we headed to the house for coffee and cake and a snooze before the gig! My friend Fleur managed to capture some great shots of the night too!
My friend Joanna kindly hosted an intimate evening in her home - where we had sushi and wine - and songs of course! Fleur popped along again to take some photos!
Next I was off out to Cambridge to hang with friends Dan and Zulfiya. Dan runs a few open mic nights so we played some music and I got to be a tourist around the beauticul city of Cambridge and even went for a punt!
I decided to extend my UK trip and take a train up to Newcastle to hand with my friend Sarah and go along to a John Smith gig in the Sage. We walked on the beach, collected sea glass, jumped up at an open mic and talked the ears off each other!
September saw a return visit to the US with Mark Geary. Flying from Dublin to Charlotte, onto Louisville, Kentucky to meet with Mark's label and perform at NULU Festival. We dropped into WFPK radio for a quick promotional slot before wandering the streets of Lousiville, finding all the good coffee and some great cookies!
NULU Fest is a festival in the newer part of Louisville - celebrating the locality with a big block party bringing local businesses together with stalls, stands and merchandise from local suppliers and craft suppliers. We spent the morning wandering round the streets ans checking in with friends and family of the festival. I even managed to pick myself up a festival t-shirt!
That evening before we played, we had a jam with Ben Solee, who would then jump up and join us for a song! The set was great, just as the sun was setting and the stage lights really took effect!
The following day we had a day off, and no visit to Louisville is complete with out a visit to the Muhammad Ali Centre. We followed this by checking out Hotel 21C - the museum hotel with an awesome art gallery built in!
The following morning saw a super early uber driver come collect us for an early flight to NYC via Charlote. Dragging luggage we wandered round Mark's old neighbourhood searching for a cafe that was no longer there. We eventually settled on visiting Cafe Orlin, the soon to close famous East Village cafe, where Mark used to work. We met Vitor the owner, who shouted us our lunch!
Tuesday night saw us catch Mark's brother Karl read excerpts of his book Montpelier Parade in the Irish Arts Centre, alongside the stunning Jenna Nicholls and the very talented Gerry Leonard.
I took myself to the infamous Russ and Daughters for a lox bagel lthe next morning before meeting Mark at the bus station to head upstate to play a gig with Peter O'Toole. We jumped on a bus and headed to Marlboro, where we met Stephanie who took us to The Falcon - an amazing venue! Upstairs a beautiful space and restaurant and downstairs another venue housed amongst music memorabilia! We had a beautiful gig, in the round with Peter and then were joined by the incredible Dylan Doyle on guitar!
Back to NYC on the train the next evening for a night off, before we jumped on a train again on Friday for another house concert with some Bruce Springsteen fans and first time house concert attenders! A pot luck dinner and a totally acoustic gig with great people! Jumped on the train back to NYC again that night!
We were doing a joint house concert the next night in a private home with Mark's brother Karl, the incredibe Jenna Nichols joined us for a few songs too which was a lovely warm up for the following night's gig in The Scratcher. Joined by Justin Carroll too, we played to an incredible packed house and warm vibes! An amazing gig to end a brilliant trip to the East Coast.
I've never been to Berlin and wasn't quite sure what to expect! Musically - I'd booked a couple of open mic nights and a small gig. Booked myself into an airbnb and had some time to go wandering!
I'm missing pictures from the first night - but am told that I'll be getting a video soon. It was a great open mic called 'Going Somewhere' run by Eddy in the Little Stage Bar. Loads of great talent and great craic had all night. Met loads of brilliant people and roped some people into coming to my gig the following night.
Thursday was my little gig in UnterRock - a small underground bar that was very cute! Thanks to Martina, Alex and Nadine for coming along after the night before!
My last gig was the open mic at Dodo bar. An eclectic night with great performances and a visit from my friends Beccy and Spencer who were on their honeymoon!
After a last minute cancellation for other gigs I decided to make my way to Germany for a few days. I reached out to some friends and managed to put a little tour together. It truely was a tour of friendships and also showed me that if you just try - you can do it!
Gig number one was in Cafe Kultur Lichtung - an amazing room where Michael and Alex looked after me so well. A gorgeous group of people came along - old and new faces alike! I did worry that no one would come to see me - and was relieved to have a room of listening faces to look out on!
Gig number two brought me back to an amazing room I shared with Mark and Chrissie Poland in January - the most beautiful home and stables I have ever seen! My friends Shel and Stefan drove me all the way to Haldern in Friday evening traffic to make sure I got there. It was a beautiful evening - and even a little swallow decided to joing us!
Saturday saw gig number 4 and 5 take place in Dusseldorf! I got to play Dusseldorf's only second hand record store in the afternoon and the most beautiful living room concert in the evening! Lilo welcomed me into Suse's home and made sure I was chilled out before the gig!
Sunday was my last day in Dusseldorf and the very lovely Damo allowed me to come and do an afternoon concert in his gorgeous cafe. Amazing fresh baked cakes and passionately brewed coffee - along with me and my songs!
News from Grainne