Storm in a teacup
THOUGH otherwise in rude health, singer/producer Niall Morris was worried when he recently developed an irregular heart beat. “It concerned me enough to go to the Mater Private and have a total checkup,” says the former Celtic Tenor.
“They gave me a 24-hour monitor and did an echocardiogram and an ECG. Then I had to go back in and have my consultation with the consultant.”
He was told the monitor had recorded 700 irregular heart beats out of 120,000 heart beats in the previous 24 hours.
“He said, ‘There is nothing wrong with you at all. Your heart is perfect. You’re very fit’.”
It was only then Niall thought of his caffeine habit. “I said, ‘Maybe it’s because in the morning I have three cups of tea. And he said, ‘Yes, it could be that’.”
The next morning he drank a glass of water instead of his regular triple brew. “I waited and there was no irregular heart beat, no bumps, no skips. It was the caffeine.”
Living in the vibrant Grand Canal Dock, Niall and his Thai partner, Woody, have a civil partnership: “We didn’t do the upgrade. We’ll get around to it at some point.”
Hallelujah, an evening of inspirational music, the National Concert Hall, Saturday, June 24, www.nch.ie
IWhat shape are you in? I’m in quite good shape. I try to look after myself and go to the gym fairly regularly. It gets a little harder as you get older so you just have to monitor things. The gym is across the road from where I live which sounds really good but it’s possible to just keep putting it off. I like to do a lot of cardio and some light weights.
What are your healthiest eating habits?
I go through periods of being really healthy. I make things in advance and put them into the fridge — vegetables and lots of fish. I try to steer clear of carbs. My husband is from Thailand and is an amazing cook but I tend to avoid the rice. I nearly always start the day with eggs and vegetables — like an omelette.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
A few glasses of wine. Rioja’s fabulous. When you are 19 or 20 you can process it really well. As you get a bit older it’s harder.
What would keep you awake at night?
Caffeine. Watching TV in bed. I’m not a great sleeper. I go through periods of insomnia which can last for a couple of weeks. They are probably related to worrying about a show coming up. Because I’m the producer of the show ultimately I feel responsible for everyone. How do you relax? I live close to the Poolbeg Lighthouse which is down at Ringsend. It’s a good long walk, straight out. I go there regularly with my friend, comedian Katherine Lynch. We always end up chatting to people. It’s a very friendly place. Who would you invite to your dream dinner party? It would be fantastic to have Maria Callas — I have a bit of an obsession with her — and Jackie Kennedy. After that, Rudolf Nureyev and maybe Audrey Hepburn. What’s your favourite smell? The smell of incense in church always brings me right back to when I was head boy in St Bartholomew’s on Clyde Road. We used to sing every Sunday and there was always incense at the morning Mass.
What would you like to change about your appearance?
I would love to be a bit taller, please. I’m 5ft 9in. I’d like to be 6ft 1in because you can wear these lovely Italian cut suits. And more hair.
When is the last time you cried?
I’m working on the Hallelujah show — I put together the whole programme of music. A lot of it reminds me of when I was singing these pieces as a little boy. There’s one piece of music from Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem — when I listened to it recently I was so moved. I had a little cry. It’s the angelic boys’ voices — so innocent.
What traits do you least like in others?
I’ve noticed people have become very impatient and intolerant. Particularly when driving.
What traits do you least like about yourself?
I’m probably a bit impulsive. I’ve learned to wait — instead of reacting and doing something on the spur of the moment. Do you pray? I do. I might go into a church and pray if I was passing by. I think that churches are wonderful. I am always amazed by the architecture and the silence — the peace.
What would cheer up your day?
I love to meet up with my mum. And if Lyric FM rang me and asked: ‘Would you host your own show?’. Irene Feighan
“I have learned to wait instead of reacting”
FINE FORM: Niall Morris enjoys walking to Poolbeg Lighthouse and goes to the gym regularly.