Wednesday, March 25, 2020

MANY of Carlow’s musicians and performers have sought alternative ways to entertain, offering some much-needed joy in these unprecedented times.

“As someone described to me, I’m ‘a great distraction’,” smiled local singer-songwriter Dave O’Neill.

Dave’s decision to run a live Facebook stream on St Patrick’s Day attracted an incredible 10,000 viewers, with many more connecting to live streams in the days that followed.

“I’d be out gigging maybe three or four times a week so, of course, all that is gone now. For the last 12 years I’ve been in Tully’s Bar on St Patrick’s Day performing, so a lot of people were on to me saying they’d miss that, so I decided to go online,” explains the Tinryland man.

“Over 300 watched live and then it was something like 10,000 views after … it was a bit of a mad response really,” says Dave. People have also generously given tips, a really decent gesture, as Dave, like so many in the entertainment sector, is without an income at the moment.

Dave O’Neill: ‘It really does feel like we’re all together in the one place’

“It’s unreal, I really didn’t expect it. It really does feel like we’re all together in the one place and a good bit of banter and rivalry about football and different teams … then they all start having a chat together like we’re all in a pub. It has been so positive,” explains Dave.

For the next few weeks, Dave has decided to live-stream on his Facebook page Dave O’Neill Music every Friday at 8pm and on Sunday at 7pm.

Renowned tenor, Carlow’s Paul Hennessy, also delivered an alternative type of performance when he live-streamed on St Patrick’s Day, then again last Friday.

“I was supposed to sing the national anthem at the Longford St Patrick’s Day parade, but when that was cancelled I decided to sing it at the same time anyway at 1pm. I got a great reaction to the Facebook live,” he told The Nationalist.

Then last Friday night, instead of performing at a concert alongside X Factor’s Mary Byrne in Longford, Paul took his concert online.

“People from around the world tuned in, people from the UK, Saudi Arabia, USA and so many people from Carlow that I hadn’t seen in years. It was great to know so many were listening in,” said Paul.

Paul runs the Evolution stage school in Roscommon, where he lives, and in Carrick-on Shannon and Longford, but the school is currently closed.

“It has been tough on everyone. The reaction to the live stream has been great – people are getting something out of it and it’s a break from everything that’s going on,” added Paul.

Paul will host another Facebook live stream on his page, Paul Hennessy Music, at 8pm on Friday 2 April.

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By Suzanne Pender
Contact Newsdesk: +353 59 9170100

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