Photo Fantasies #NALLY

So today, I had my first meeting with the photographer I am going to be working with for my re-branding images. Paul is a digital artist who I discovered on Instagram. I was immediately drawn to his work because I love the way he can take a shot of a regular image and transform it into something more fantastical and surreal.


St. Peters Tin Church at Laragh by Paul Connolly

We took a look at my Pinterest boards where I keep hundreds of images I love and discussed how we could use them to create something unique to me. The images below are two of the images that I have really been inspired by. (Image caption credits photographers, external links at bottom of article)

As I explained to Paul, I want to create something quite fantasy like, like a character version of myself. Having worked for 6 years in the music industry, I know how intense and overwhelming it can become. I just want to have fun and enjoy the visual aspects of the music projects as much as the aural. It’s so important to have a real sense of adventure and to just go with that. I don’t want to be afraid or worried about what people think. Everything about the next few releases represents freedom and empowerment to be whoever you want to be.

The next stage is to discuss the shoot ideas with the make-up artist, work out costs and finalise a date and I will post regular updates on how each part of the process is coming along! Finally, during the process of sifting through Pinterest for images that stand out to me, I was delighted to discover the work of a lady called ‘Mary Katrantzou‘. She is a Greek designer with absolutely stunning creations. I’m off now to have a proper browse through her work! Chat soon folks and thanks for being part of the adventures!!

Photographer Links:

Paul Connolly Digital Artist

Huainan Li Behance

Garjan Atwood

Trying out the Trad #NALLY

trad fiddleAround 10 years ago, I was playing a lot of Irish traditional music, in seisiúns and with friends etc in my local town of Dundalk. I decided to try and write some ‘tunes’ even though I didn’t know if there were any rules or do’s and dont’s when it came to writing in this style. So I just went for it. I decided on jigs in 3/4 time and I called them ‘July Jigs‘ (click to hear them)  I was very nervous playing them in front of the pro’s – the musicians who are out there every week playing polkas, slides, reels and jigs etc but they went down well and nobody refused to play them so I suppose that was a good sign🙂

On Friday night next, I will be playing them again for the first time in many, many  years and I feel a little bit more confident this time round. I’ve lost some of that shyness and have decided to embrace that whatever I create should have a chance to be heard, liked or disliked!! I am busy rehearsing them this week and I am so looking forward to being joined by lots of musicians on the night, including a great flute player and piper Patrick Martin who will also play the uileann pipes on an air I wrote called ‘This Heart‘. I will also be performing a new ballad called ‘Stephenstown‘. It’s all in aid of Louth Hospice and the night is being hosted by The Crawley Family, who are a super talented group of musicians from Gyles Quay. Tickets are already sold out so it’s looking like a great night of music for a great cause!

Here’s a short video of me preparing the jigs for Friday night’s gig🙂

Trying out the Trad

Getting lost in the music of Colm Mac Con Iomaire…

Every so often I find something magical in the world of music and it’s important to me to share it on my blog. This time, it’s an absolutely stunning piece of music by Colm Mac Con Iomaire called ‘Emer’s Dream’ – I discovered it when I received a list of music for a wedding I am playing at in two weeks time. It literally stopped me in my tracks and as I said in previous posts like this, that only happens occasionally. When it does, I know I’ve found something incredible. Colm is the violinist from the hugely successful Irish band The Frames but his musical heritage goes so much deeper, with roots in traditional Irish tunes, classical music and he has a innate respect for stillness and awareness of self, which really translates in his music. Of course after listening in awe to ‘Emer’s Dream’, I delved deeper into the music of Colm Mac Con Iomaire and found so much more of it to be equally mesmerising.

Time for me to stop typing and for you to go and explore. Find a space to switch off and get lost in the magic.

Colm’s Music Links


‘Feeling great, eating ice-cream’..The sadness behind the LOL’s :(

Because of the nature of my work, I’ve had a lot of time off in the past few weeks. It has given me a chance to be still. I regularly sit on my own just doing nothing. (I know, I sound like a complete crazy woman). Other times I write music or read, maybe make some notes on projects and ideas that I would like to work on later in the year. I’ve enjoyed just recollecting and reflecting on my life and I’ve also enjoyed being ‘present’ in the presence of others. There are many great benefits to having this time to myself and it really gives me an opportunity to take stock of situations, relationships and life going on around me. By getting out of the rat race for a while, the pace of my life has slowed down. I can take more in and I can give more out. However, what I’ve seen and heard over the past few weeks has really upset me and I felt I needed to address it in a blog post, even though my blog is generally about all things musical!

I’ve been so, so saddened by the pain and worry that so many people are carrying around. So many of the people I’ve been in company with over the past few weeks are really hurting inside, in despair or lonely. I’ve asked my husband if he felt it too and he was certainly aware of it. Perhaps because I have had time to sit with it, I am really feeling it and taking it in and most importantly questioning it. I am very much aware that I am off the conveyor belt madness right now and I can see all the people in my life who are running like mad to keep up with it. It leaves them no time whatsoever to deal with themselves, to process an emotion that came completely unexpectedly, to reflect on how they feel about their work or their relationship etc etc. There just isn’t the time! #ticktock


Another thing I’ve really noticed is that people expect so much more from each other all the time. Within work, family and day to day life, we demand more and more. In turn, we expect more from ourselves and by not fulfilling all of the demands we put on ourselves, we end up feeling totally inadequate and often then resentful of others.

I believe that the root to a lot of this demand and expectation comes from the ‘illusion’ or as I like to call it ‘the delusion’. It takes less than five minutes on social media to go from being in a good, positive and focused head-space to suddenly feeling like everyone else’s life is so much better than our own. Right now, I look ridiculous. Pyjama bottoms and slippers, hair all over the place, stuffing my face with a toastie. You don’t need to know that though and even better, I can upload a photo right now, one that was taken 2 years ago, contoured up to the eyeballs looking like the world is at my feet and caption it ‘Feeling Amazeballs, Life is Great’. And within a split second, you are now part of the illusion that everything is great in my life and I look 10 years younger than I actually am. And I can do that again and again and again and again until eventually you have a perception of me that is way, way off anything close to the truth. We become less connected to each other, with less in common every day with lives that are illusion’s apart.

Fact is, we all need each other as much if not more than we ever did before. We all have challenges, that part of it has never and will never change. What has changed, and it’s only my opinion, is that we are less aware of ourselves and of each other. We are strangers who see pictures and posts of each other looking our best, feeling great, eating ice-cream, LOL… How can any of us truly be honest about the crap day we’ve had, or the relationship breakdown, or the overwhelming debt etc, if we are conditioning ourselves to share only the days when we look and feel amazing? It worries me that kids nowadays value themselves on likes and shares and the illusion that we as adults consciously create is actually their reality.

I know it is totally unusual for me to write about subjects like this but I have to say it how I see it. Many people are sad and very much alone. If we can perhaps slow things down and be a little more present with ourselves first, then maybe we can start to reach out again and connect. Telling it how it really is and not courtesy of the app that gives you a thousand options on how you feel or look at any particular moment in time…

The Invitation Quote


Starting from Silence

imageI’ve set myself a challenge to write a song that fits in with the type of songs you might hear being sung in the wee hours of the morning in a little cosy Irish pub. Last Friday I joined in on one of those such sing-songs and sang a couple of my own particular favourites such as ‘Grace’ and ‘Caledonia’ – songs that fit in perfectly with the crowd no matter their age. Songs that usually tell stories of places or events and never age.

Just two weeks ago, I had the joy and honour of spending a few hours with Irish composer Julie Feeney. She is a beautiful, bubbly person who spoke so openly to everyone at The Songwriter Club, giving up her time to tell people her stories about composing and her experiences in the music industry. One thing that stood out to me was her belief in writing from silence, something I’d never really challenged myself to do. So while I was out walking my dog Ollie last Sunday I gave it a try. And the result is a song called ‘Stephenstown’, which is named after the town land I was walking in. The tune and the lyrics came to me pretty much in unison although I had focused on getting the air first. Sometimes they come together and it’s half the battle when it does🙂 I realised as I was walking in the sun that the various sounds around formed a beautiful soundtrack of their own even without visuals. I could hear sounds from the hurling match in the community sports field, people out in their gardens chatting and it genuinely felt like music to my ears.

“The clash of the ash as the home team attack……a man shouting words to inspire”

I decided on the key of A major and once I get back to the house I recorded my ideas on to my iPhone and took it from there. I have two verses and a chorus written and would like to write two more verses to complete it. I’ve concentrated a lot on painting pictures with the lyrics and less on chord sequences and hooks etc. I hope this is a song I can bring to those intimate sing-songs and have it fit right in with all the other beautiful songs that belong there!

Here’s a short clip of the song which I recorded on my iPhone at home earlier today. Hope you enjoy🙂


A Grounded Return… #sRated

After such a long long break from blogging I’m delighted to be back on board! It’s a very exciting time for me and easily a time when it’s hard to stay grounded with all that’s going on but a good time to start filling you in on all that’s happening and the upcoming musical plans. At the moment I am planning my wedding so it’s all go, never mind the day to day running of being a self-employed musician and music teacher. This year also saw the launch of NCKIDS – a children’s chorus that I hope to establish as a really popular singing group over the coming years. I am really busy getting it off the ground and running their first singing camp this week so it’s a busy, busy start to NCKIDS… NCKIDS Facebook Page


Official Logo

And then there’s my next EP. Just thinking about recording it this Summer gives me butterflies, such is the desire to release and perform my own music again. It’s been 3 yeas since I’ve worked on recording and releasing my music as an artist and that time has been hugely beneficial to me. I’ll explain more in posts to come but for today I just wanted to say hello after such a long break from blogging. It’s a lovely morning here in the wee county so off out for a walk. So from me, my green tea and my home grown daffodils have a lovely Sunday and I look forward to sharing the events of all things musical, marriage and no doubt some madness along the way!! 

Good to be back xx 


Quite literally ‘Unearthed’ – #sRated #nafianna #irishmusic

If you have ever been to a gig where your feet and legs start to take on lives of their own, tapping and moving uncontrollably, a little like Michael Flately has just morphed his way into your lower half then you will understand the absolute energy that kicked in at the launch of Irish band Na Fianna ‘s new album #Unearthed.

Thanks to Hotpress I was lucky enough to get an invite for myself and a guest to attend the launch last Wednesday night at the Opium Rooms, Wexford Street. It started off at 6pm with outside entertainment by The Hit Machine Drummers – they were unreal. Talk about getting the energy levels going. Anyways, I have to admit I didn’t know what to expect from the evening and even though I had heard of Na Fianna, I didn’t really know what I was going to experience.

What I did experience was well beyond my expectations. These guys are on the pulse when it comes to bringing those classic Irish songs that must never be lost to a whole other level. They look just as good as they sound and have a great selection of instruments and vocals between them. Their  original stuff was really great too but hearing songs like ‘Step it out Mary’  done with such class and cleverness is where they will excel against any bands that are out there getting gigs, jamming out the big ballads and old favourites. There’s an edge to how they do it and as someone who loves playing trad piano with a twist and writing songs that include classical and trad fusions, I really appreciated the way they presented the songs.

If I was to call it, I’d say they are going to be huge all over the world. Keep an eye and ear out for them. It’s great to see old Irish music being pumped up and energised the way they do it! They release their album #Unearthed today. Here’s the link if you would like to go get it! Unearthed Album Link