Not everything has to come at a price after all

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

They say there’s nothing for nothing anymore, that everything has to have a price or it’s just worthless. Two perfectly-formed free events in Galway last week would tend to tell a different story.

Last Thursday evening, the acclaimed author Kevin Barry launched his eagerly anticipated new novel, the Heart in Winter, in Kenny’s Bookstore with an interview with Tomás Kenny that – thanks to both the willingness of the author and the insight of the interviewer – offered a wonderful window into the novel and indeed Kevin’s body of work.

Last Friday afternoon, the supremely talented singer/songwriter Niamh Regan launched her new album, Come As You Are – a perfect follow-up to the acclaimed Hemet – with the nostalgic intimate of free lunchtime gigs, upstairs at Fairhill Coffee on Abbeygate Street in the heart of Galway.

To my own loss, I’d never been in this beautiful coffee outlet before. Coincidentally it was celebrating two years of making wonderful coffee.

My excuse, if I have one, is that the Connacht Tribune had located to Liosban around the same time as Fairhill Coffee opened.

But I’d imagine if we were still around Market Street and given that they make great coffee and that they host free gigs – I can’t believe I missed Sorcha Richardson and Jape’s Richie Egan in the past – I’d have known all about it. Either way, I’ ll be a stranger no more.

Niamh Regan is a rare talent who also happens to be from Galway – Kilrickle, outside Loughrea, to be precise – and she combines incisive, cutting, razor sharp lyrics with fine musicianship and the biggest smile you’ve ever seen.

Not that I’m the expert, but try for example listening to the third track on the album entitled simply Music – or Music Doesn’t Do It for You Anymore, as it was originally called, until Niamh acknowledged that might not be the brightest title for a song on your new album – and you’ll spend the rest of the week with its infectious melody in your head.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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