Irish Daily Mail

Expert O’Neill in tune with patient needs

- By Ronan Smyth

HEALTH expert Luke O’Neill traded his microscope for a guitar and joined forces with singer Mary Coughlan to entertain patients in hospitals and nursing homes this week.

The unlikely double act joined the Mobile Music Machine, a group formed by Gerald Peregrine and other musicians who perform outside windows for people in nursing homes – to raise the spirits of vulnerable patients during the Covid crisis.

Ms Coughlan said she has been performing with them for some time, and on Wednesday they were joined by Professor O’Neill in Carlow. In his spare time, the immunologi­st is a singer and guitarist with his band The Metabollix. Speaking to the Irish Daily Mail, Ms Coughlan said the Trinity College Dublin professor wanted to take part ‘because he loves playing’.

She added: ‘I guess he wanted to do something for people over Christmas.’ She also said they played their own renditions of Heartbreak Hotel by Elvis as well as It Must Be Love by Madness.

‘It is extraordin­ary, we go to a lot of different kinds of settings. Lots of residentia­l homes, we do psychiatri­c units, all sorts of places. People love it so we get a lot of different reactions,’ Ms

Coughlan added. They are finished for this year but said they will be back out again as soon as they can in January.

‘The next county we are doing is Wexford,’ Ms Coughlan said.

To date, the Mobile Music Machine has performed 900 live music concerts across 18 counties. All these concerts have been performed safely since the launch in June 2020.

These Covid Care Concerts feature music from many genres performed by world-class artists. All of the 85 musicians and singers who have taken part to date approach these performanc­es as if they are taking to world-famous stages.

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 ?? ?? String theory: Luke O’Neill and, inset, with Mary Coughlan
String theory: Luke O’Neill and, inset, with Mary Coughlan

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