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In conversation with Tipperary musician Cáit Ní Riain







Ahead of her appearance at this year’s Eats + Beats festival we caught up with Cáit Ni Riain, an Irish musician whose life has been steeped in music from a young age.

Her earliest musical memories are that of being in her father's arms as he sang Percy French's 'The Darling Girl from Clare'. Her dad would leave some words out, prompting her to fill in the gaps.

Chatting to Cáit, it is clear that growing up in a pub with a vibrant traditional Irish music scene played a significant role in shaping her musical identity.

“I grew up in Jim of the Mills, a Tipperary pub with great singing and traditional Irish music, so I don’t really remember a time without music as a part of my life. My bedroom was above the main session room so there were always tunes and songs going on as I drifted to sleep. I learned so many songs that way, listening, lots and lots of listening.”

Her musical influences are as diverse as the environment she grew up in. The people who frequented the pub where she was raised, like Tom Joe Spillane, her Dad, and Paddy Lacey, all left a lasting impression. She describes them as not only talented singers but also captivating characters.

On car journeys to music lessons, her mother would play  different genre’s of music, exposing Cáit to artists like Tom Waits and Dolores Keane. Local traditional musicians like Martin Hayes and Joe Heaney were also influential figures in her musical development.

Describing herself as “having a heart that lies with traditional songs and tunes” she also acknowledges the influence of artists like Tom Waits and Joni Mitchell in her own song writing. When pressed to describe her genre, Cáit says, "I wouldn't put myself in any box, but if I'm pushed to I'd say traditional/folk/singer-songwriter-ish!"

She admits the creative process as being deeply connected to her emotions and often, common themes and messages reappear.

“When I’m going through something deep - be that deep sadness, or deep love, deep desire, deep beauty, they are the places that draw the music out of me. If I’m sitting down to write songs at the piano, I’ll bring a moment/a person/ a place that inspires that great feeling in me - and let it flow from there. It has to be connected to emotion for anything to happen.”

“When it comes to specific themes I would say nature features heavily, the beauty of the natural world, the place of women as stewards of Earth MaGIC  and Wisdom, the need for us to decolonise mind, body, spirit, culture, love, the power of love, the ecstasy of love. I’m also very attracted to yearning as a theme.”

One of Cáit’s biggest challenges in her musical career has been gaining confidence in her own abilities. However, she has grown over time to trust her creative instincts and the music that flows from them. The most rewarding experiences come from those moments of deep connection with her fellow musicians.

“Those simple and profound moments when I’m playing with another musician I love, when all parts of the musical jigsaw fit, and you enter that deep flow state, where every breath, every note, every tone is free and beautiful and just right! It’s a hard feeling to beat. Real magic.”

That human connection is also found in her other work. In between writing and performing music, Cáit works in the space of the healing arts, teaching sacred sexuality and holding spaces for women to reconnect with their bodies, their womb and their sexuality, something she would probably be doing more of if she wasn’t so busy with the music.

We discussed at length the impact of technology, and in particular phones, on the music industry, with Cáit expressing concern about how constant connectivity is shortening our attention spans and is making it difficult for artists to enter the deep state of focus required for true creativity.

“It’s a massive sadness (perhaps the greatest), that they are making us very distracted and caught in loops of checking behaviour….texts, whatsApp, notifications. Our attention span and ability to enter deep presence is deeply affected by having the phone around - this is a nightmare for getting into the creative space where any really good and beautiful work can come from. So I feel a lot of peoples innate creativity is being murdered by the machines. On the other side, they are a very helpful tool to share your work with a large audience - especially if you are an artist like myself who is living in a rural area, I want to live deep in the country but yet want a place to share my music and news of shows etc. So it’s to use it as a tool, and be very aware of how it can subtly take a lot of your awareness and presence”

Discussing festival season Cáit reminisces about her favourite experience to date while outlining her plans for the next few months.

“My favourite festival ever was Fire on the Mountain in Wales with my band ‘The Weaving’. What a beautiful festival”

“I’m touring with The Weaving this summer, we’ll be playing at different venues around Ireland, then a couple of solo gigs in August and of course the Eats + Beats Festival which I can’t wait to get down to. I’m also in the process of working on my first album of traditional songs and my own newly composed songs. The Weaving are also working on our first album together.”

“Outside of that, I run an epic 6 month journey for people interested in the sean nós singing tradition, where we go into the embodiment of song, and we travel to various places in Ireland to connect  with the tradition and songs of that area. It’s one of my favourite things in the world, watching people explore, unpack and build their relationship with their voices, and fall in love with the songs.”

Cáit with be joined on stage at Eats + Beats with Ed Dwan and special guests Niamh O’Brien & Aisling Urwin. Many other musicians, bands and DJ’s are also booked for the August festival. For news and updates you can follow the festival on Instagram @eatsandbeatskerry. For tickets head over to



Killarney centre stage for Pride Festival

The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage. Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July […]




The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage.

Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July 17 to 21.

The organisation’s flagship Party in the Park event will be held again in Killarney House and Gardens, following the Pride march in the town centre on July 20.

This year, in solidarity with the people of Palestine, Kingdom Pride in Kerry is inviting the people of Kerry to come to show their unity by bringing Palestinian flags and kites to the march, and to the Party in the Park.

“Pride is a protest for human rights all over the world. Here in the Kingdom, we have been so lucky to receive tremendous community support from our allies and supporters, and we see the struggle for liberation of all peoples as a united cause,” said Daniel Quirke, chairperson of the organising committee.

“Our events have always welcomed everyone, regardless of gender, orientation, religion, or nationality. We truly believe that together we can create positive change through caring for and loving one another. This year is no exception, and we look forward to helping to highlight the Palestinian cause, and to bringing people together to keep generating positive change for all people.”

Events will take place in Cahersiveen, Listowel, Killorglin, Tralee and Dingle, and include an Irish comedy night with Áine Gallagher, an Irish-language movie screening, yoga, sea swimming, poetry and storytelling, bowling, pitch and putt, a lively drag night at the INEC, and plenty more for people of all ages.

“We do our best to keep tickets as low-cost as possible, and we have lots of events that are totally free to attend. It is important to us that people can share Pride with us, regardless of income. Especially with the rise of the cost of living putting a strain on people’s pockets.” added the chairperson.


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A weekend of Live Music, Fun and Entertainment, at FleskFest 2024

The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event. “It promises to be […]




The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event.

“It promises to be the festival weekend of the summer, an event you don’t want to miss out on. Last year’s Festival was a fantastic memorable experience for our community, a time to get together and celebrate,” said festival PRO Seán Daly.

Organised by Glenflesk GAA, FleskFest 24 will take place at the Barraduff Community Field next week.
There will be a fully licensed bar in the Fest Marquee, some amazing live music on The Big Stage, food trucks and much more.
Glenflesk GAA club’s biggest fundraiser of the year includes a new-for-2024 Texas Holdem Poker Tournament on Thursday night.
Weekend highlights include old-time waltzing, jiving and polka sets with Paudie McAuliffe and Paudie Coffey Band on Friday,
On Saturday, the new Well Flesk event will take place.
“A morning of self-care and wellness at Flesk Fest featuring masterclasses in yoga, pilates, mindfulness, spinning, fitness sessions, workouts, firewood sauna and ice pods with a range of experienced and qualified instructors,” added Daly.
Leading local musician Johnny Courtney and Friends, Sam and Ina, The O’Donoghue Sisters, Reigning All Ireland Champions Glenflesk Ballad Group, and The Border Boys will take to the Big Stage over the weekend.
Sunday is Family Fun Day with children’s entertainment and disco and the All-Ireland Hurling Final Live on the Big screen followed by music with Thingamajig.
The festival will finish with a Sunday evening session with the Meadhbh Walsh Band.

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