Some thanks...

Good morning everyone. I’m full of the joys of spring this Saturday morning so I thought I would try and spread some it it your way…

So I was hearing all week that yesterday was going to be a huge day economically for Sligo and for Ireland – and you know maybe it was. Time will tell. Plans are always easier to announce than to stick to but perhaps we’ll see this one out.

I wasn’t in Sligo IT yesterday but my wife was. She came home shattered, and so I asked what was so draining about the day. 
Her answer struck me – nothing to do with the plan itself or the politicians or the impressive event that was run - but that there were so many really good Sligo people there, and the positivity and energy radiating from everybody was so high during the day that it was bound to leave you tired when that faded away at the end. 

That’s one of the things I love about this place – the people and the positivity. Its there if you look for it and want to see it. 
I moved back here from Dublin in 2007 because I wanted to win a Connacht Championship with Sligo and I knew I could be a better footballer training with the team here rather than trying to do my own thing in Dublin during the week and travelling at weekends. However I am still here 11 years later because of the people and the culture of this town and county. 

We are unique here – there’s no doubt about it. Our geographical situation contributes to it, but we also share a feeling of having been overlooked by successive governments year on year. But do you know that’s OK by me. 
A great post I read a while ago by a really good young Sligo musician Ted Kelly helps explain why. I can’t remember the context, but I remember his point - governments and politicians can do what they want but we all still have our own individualism, character and talents and we have the choice and the freedom to decide what to do with them what we will. 
And he’s right. 
And that’s Sligo – we have spirit, dynamism and innovation in abundance and they are characteristics that money can’t buy.

To anyone outside of Sligo reading this, you might forgive the local nature of this post. I really hope you are proud of your town and county too. 
One day perhaps a wider audience will know me and my music. A big part of what I am trying to do in life is to bring music and the joy of playing and sharing it into people’s lives. 
None of us can change the world, but we can bring change to individual people and to a local culture and progress from there. For me right now most of those people and this local culture are here in Sligo and it’s what makes me so passionate about the place.

Friday finished for me with two great musicians and friends in Hargadons. A spot I know well , having had many memorable Friday nights there over a 4-year residency with my good friends in Anything Goes. It was lovely to be back there last night with Ken McDonald and Gerry Grennan.

We played a risky gig. It’s Friday night in a busy pub – the musicians playbook says hit them hard, get them dancing. 
We did neither…we played instrumentals, originals, long solos, some slow pieces, pieces we hardly knew, and some hard hitters (!) but we played what we felt and had fun all the way through. And do you know what – the crowd came with us. And some did dance, and some of them sat and watched us, and some of them chatted and ignored us, and that’s all fine. 

But in those high-wire musical moments gratitude washed over me, for the spirit of Gerry and Ken and all the other wonderful musicians I have had the honour of playing with here, for the Friday night punters who appreciated what we did and expressed their thanks afterwards, and most of all for the culture of creativity and resourcefulness in this town, fostered over decades, that allowed us to play that gig, and allows so many of us live the lives we want to live here.

As long as we have that, we’ll be fine.