Áine’s magical mystery tour!

Áine on the nine-tonne Bedford bus, home to her and her three children. “There’s a bit of a free spirit in me, alright,” she says.
Áine on the nine-tonne Bedford bus, home to her and her three children. “There’s a bit of a free spirit in me, alright,” she says.

Lifestyle – Galway singer-songwriter Áine Tyrrell got her life back on track after an abusive relationship by buying a bus to tour Australia and perform gigs along the way. At the same time, she was looking after her three young children. She told her story to Judy Murphy.

‘If life gives you lemons, make lemonade,’ is a saying that could have been coined for singer-songwriter Áine Tyrrell.  And the Galwaywoman is certainly in the right country for lemons. Áine lives in Australia with her three young children, having emigrated there during the Irish recession.

That move was mostly at the instigation of her former partner, an Irishman who wanted to live in the sun. He also happened to be violent towards her, something she endured for years before finding the resolve to leave for good, taking her children with her.

“Moving half way across the world wasn’t in my plan. Being out here, in a way we felt kind of trapped and that can be very debilitating,” says Áine.

So demoralised was she, that the music which had always been central to her life was largely abandoned during her relationship, although she’d returned to it, “dipping my toe in the water” before she left him.

“And from the moment I decided that wasn’t the life for us, I was going to follow my music. I wanted to change the story for myself and the kids. This was going to be an adventure, and not us being victims, living with the situation we’d had. So, I decided I was buying a bus and following my dream.”

That was four years ago and the nine-tonne bus 1966 Bedford bus is still home for Áine and her children. She bought it with a loan and got a Heavy Rigid Truck Licence so she’d be qualified to drive it.

Currently it’s parked up close to Byron Bay, south of Brisbane, which is where the family call home, when she’s not playing festivals across Australia. When she is, they go on the road, with her at the wheel.

“There’s a bit of a free spirit in me, alright,” says Áine whose most recent EP Fledgling Fall was co-written with Glen Hansard and her regular producer Mark Stanley, formerly of Irish band, The Mary Janes.

Our interview is by Skype and while it’s a bleak day in Galway, she’s wearing shorts and a tee-shirt, enjoying the warm climate of her adopted country.

It sounds idyllic and it is lovely, she agrees, but fresh back from a visit to Ireland, where she was recording her next album, Áine is missing home.

Given her surname, her musical leanings and her free-spiritedness, it’s no surprise that Áine’s dad is Seán Tyrrell, one of Ireland’s best-known folk singers. Seán famously adapted Brian Merriman’s Cúirt an Mheán Oíche for stage and it was premiered by Druid in 1992, subsequently touring the world. Seán has also released several albums – he’s particularly renowned for his skill in setting Irish poems to music.


For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.