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Smalltalk: Adam catches up with up-and-coming Killarney singer/songwriter Cathal Flaherty

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Cathal Flaherty set to launch new EP

Adam Moynihan chats with up-and-coming Killarney singer/songwriter Cathal Flaherty about his new EP, hearing himself on Today FM and his relationship with his fans

Hi Cathal. You’re launching your new EP The Head & Heart next week. What’s the plan for that?

Yeah, next Friday at the INEC Acoustic Club. So May 25. It’s been booked for five or six months at this stage. When I started recording songs, I booked that date before I even considered bringing out the CD. That was my deadline. So it’s been a while in the works but I’m looking forward to it.

The plan is I’m going to be singing all the songs off the EP, so there’s five on that, I have songs that I wrote years ago that were on another CD so I’ll be playing a few of them, and I’ll be doing a few covers as well on the night.

The singles have all been very well-received. You must be pleased with the reaction so far?

Yeah, it’s gone great. I think it all kind of started when I brought out A Thousand Miles on December 29. The day that came out, Fergal D’Arcy played it on Today FM. That was a huge boost for me because that would have been on the bucket list, to be played on Today FM, because it’s a station I listened to growing up. After that happened then I was like, “right, I’m actually going to record this EP now.”

Since then I’ve brought out two singles. All We Need came out in March and then Grow came out last week. All We Need did really, really well on the likes of Today FM and it was playlisted on RTÉ Radio 1 and Radio Kerry and Spin South West and a good few stations around the country. It’ll take another couple of weeks before I know how well Grow does because we don’t even have a music video recorded for that yet. We’re hoping to get it done in the next week or two. Fingers crossed the latest single goes as well the first two.

What’s it like releasing a song or an EP? Do you get nervous?

I wouldn’t be nervous bringing out a single because you can only put it out there and hope for the best. But with the EP, it’s an investment because I’m putting a lot of my own money into it. You’re kind of hoping that once the actual physical CD is out that people will buy it. A lot of people are streaming music basically for nothing on Spotify or Apple Music so it’s very hard to get people to buy music now. It’s always a risk bringing out a physical copy of a CD because they cost quite a bit of money to produce. So I’d be nervous in the sense that I don’t want to have boxes at home full of CDs. I’m going to try and make it my mission to sell as many as possible.

How do you find the recording process? Has it been challenging?

Not really, no. I’m working with Brendan O’Connor who’s a really good producer and he’s also from Killarney. We started recording around two months before the first single came out and we gelled really well. We have very similar music tastes and he’s very positive about my music. He does his best to bring out the best in me. It’s been fun.

You write your own songs as well. Is that something that comes naturally to you?

Most of the time it does, yeah. I go through phases. I could go through a month of writing nearly every day, and then I could go two or three months without doing a thing. It just kind of comes and goes all the time. So when I do feel like I’m writing good stuff, I try to write as much as I can at that time. If I feel like it’s not coming, you can’t really force it because it’s going to end up being crap.

Since we finished recording three weeks ago, I haven’t written much but I know that once the EP is out I’ll be writing again. Definitely over the summer because I’m trying to get more singles out anyway.

You’ve already built up a loyal fanbase. How would you describe your relationship with your fans?

I kind of started using Facebook and Instagram a lot more when I started recording and bringing out music. It’s mad, like… Obviously people from Killarney would come into contact with my Facebook page but it’s great when you get people from other parts of the country messaging you on Facebook and stuff, and they’re saying, “we heard you on Today FM”… It’s cool.

I always reply to everyone who gets on to me. I think that’s really important. I had a chat a few months ago with Picture This and they were telling me how important it is to like everything and just reply to people. I’m always on my phone anyway as well, so why wouldn’t I do as much as I can?

What’s it like being a musician in Killarney? Is it a good place to make music?

I think it is. I’ve been gigging in bars in Killarney for 10 years now. I kind of got in by accident but the years started flying by and I’m still doing it at the weekends. For people who are starting out, it’s quite hard to get into bars here because there are a lot of the same people playing the same things all the time. I’m lucky that the likes of Charlie Foley’s and The Fáilte and other place around town have been so good to me over the last number of years. I’ve never had a weekend off unless I took it off myself. But I know there are other people who are finding it hard to get gigs around the place, especially in the summer because a lot of places are booked months in advance.

What’s your favourite music venue?

I love Whelan’s. It’s obviously up there as one of the best live music bars in the country because of the amount of people who have played there over the years. Van Morrison has played there, Hozier started off there and you still get huge artists going back. Ed Sheeran played there two years ago. It’s just one of those iconic music venues and it’s always been a dream of mine to play there. I’ll be there on June 3 so that’s going to be another big gig to cross off the bucket list.

What’s your proudest moment in music?

In terms of my own music, probably getting national airplay. Last year I played guitar for Shane Filan and Nadine Coyle on The Late Late Show as well so that was a cool moment. But I’d prefer if I was doing my own thing rather than playing for someone else.

And have you had any embarrassing moments?

Oh loads. Jesus. My guitar has fallen off me a good few times. I broke my last one because it fell off me… It fell on the stage and the whole thing just shattered.

Was this mid-song?

In the middle of a song, yeah. The strap just fell off. I had it taped together for ages but I had to get a new one in the end. I’ve done gigs where the sound system has broken and that’s your worst nightmare. I was doing an outdoor gig and the whole sound system went. We still had five songs left so I decided to just get up on one of the tables and do the gig acoustically. It actually turned out alright. But there have definitely been a lot of embarrassing moments.

Well, hopefully everything goes to plan next Friday night! All the best with the EP.

Thanks Adam.

Cathal will take to the stage at the INEC Acoustic Club to launch his brand new EP The Head & Heart on Friday, May 25. Tickets are €12 ex. booking fee and are available to buy today at INEC.ie and ticketmaster.ie

He will also headline Dublin’s iconic Whelan’s on Sunday, June 3. Tickets available at whelanslive.ie

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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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