Hello from Daniel
I hope all is well. As I write this we have just arrived in Vancouver for the 2nd show of our Canadian tour. We had a show last night in Victoria on Vancouver Island. It was our first time to ever do a show here and it was a great start to the tour. Prior to coming to Canada we had a busy few weeks with our Irish tour. It’s been four years since we toured extensively in Ireland, so it really was lovely getting back to all the familiar venues and seeing all people that we have known for so many years and delighted that there are a lot of people coming to the shows for the first time which is amazing really after all these years of touring. I think it has something to do with the B&B roadtrip, it seems to have brought a new interest in my music here in Ireland. After our Irish tour we recorded 7 shows for Opry Dhoire which will be aired on TG4 and BBC Alba. There was a great array of entertainers from the world of Irish music so watch out for it coming on TV in November.
Prior to staring the Irish tour we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Mary from Dungloe festival. I have enjoyed this event since the very first one back in 1968. I was 6 years old and I can remember the excitement to this day that the festival brought with all of the activities that happened around the town and especially the arrival of Mc Gurks funfair, you can imagine what that was like for a 6 year old child. This being the 50th anniversary there was a huge effort made on everybody’s part to make it bigger and better than ever before and I believe the committee succeeded in their endeavours.
The festival got its name after the group Emmet Spiceland had a hit record in April 1968 with the song Mary from Dungloe. It was number 1 in the charts and it gave the then committee of a small festival in the town the idea to rename it the Mary from Dungloe festival and as they say the rest is history. On the opening weekend I had the opportunity of singing at a concert in the main street which was a great success, we were blessed with good weather and a great time was had by all, I think I might have enjoyed it more than anybody. One of the highlights of the week for me was the opportunity to sing in the Church of Ireland at the welcome service for the festival. This was a beautiful occasion. Another event I enjoyed very much was the 50th birthday party where 34 of the previous winners of the “Mary From Dungloe title” gathered, because of my involvement in the festival through the years I knew most of them and it was lovely to meet up with them again. On the Monday night of the festival Emmet Spiceland reformed after 47 years and gave a concert which ended with host of local singers joining them on stage, me included, for a wonderful rendition of Mary From Dungloe. My good friends Marc Roberts and Fergal Flaherty both gave concerts during the week which I attended and needless to say I joined them for a few songs also. On the closing Sunday of the festival its tradition to have a carnival parade and this year Majella and I were asked to join one of the floats dressed up in party costumes. This created quite a stir as nobody knew we were taking part except for a few of the organising committee. The street was packed and the atmosphere was terrific.
On Sunday August 6th I had the privilege of being the host and compare of the crowning cabaret where I interviewed the 14 girls competing for this year’s title. All the girls were fantastic but unfortunately there can only be 1 winner and this year the title went to a 20 year old law student from Glasgow, Scotland called Alisha Medford. She’s a beautiful young lady who will be a wonderful representative in this very special 50th year.
In July the band and I spent some time in the studio recording tracks for a new album. I had a number of original songs that I wanted to record and along with some old favourites the album is starting to sound very well so we’ll let you know when it will be ready for release.
In May and June we toured extensively in America and Canada. When we finished that tour, Majella and I with a couple of friends spent 2 weeks touring some of the Canadian Rockies. We went to Vancouver Island where we visited Butchart Gardens, this is definitely somewhere that’s worth a visit. I’m not a great gardener but I love the beauty of flowers and plants. We then spent a few days in Whistler and travelled to Banff and Lake Louise, without a shadow of a doubt this part of the world is one of the nicest I have been to.
As I wrote last time Majella and I were enjoying a few days on the Antrim Coast in Northern Ireland, staying in Blackhead lighthouse in Whitehead. We had a wonderful time and we got to visit some of our local attractions that we never got the chance to see before. We went to The Giants Causeway, The Titantic Museum, The Gobbins Cliff walk, Carrick a rede rope bridge and we had a private tour of Carrickfergus Castle and museum.
In November we will be going back to Branson so I look forward to that and then the UK in December. I will finish off by telling you the best piece of news of all is that Majella and I are going to be grandparents again, Olivia God willing, will have a little brother or sister in mid-January. That’s about all for now, until the next time,
Take care and God Bless