Diar­muid’s new al­bum com­pleted just days be­fore he died aged 56

Irish Examiner - County - - News - Pet O’Con­nell

Diar­muid O’Con­nell did not live to see the launch of the CD to which he had de­voted the last few months of his life.

But he was adamant that not only would he fin­ish record­ing The Songs I Used to

Sing: Vol­ume 2, de­spite his fail­ing health, but that the al­bum would be launched, with or with­out his pres­ence.

So, there was no doubt in the minds of the singer’s friends and fam­ily but that this Fri­day’s event, in aid of Mary­mount Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal and Hos­pice, must go ahead, re­gard­less of the raw­ness of their grief over Diar­muid’s death, just 12 days ago.

Diar­muid, a na­tive of Cill na Mar­tra, recorded his first al­bum, The Songs I Used to

Sing, in 2016, and di­vided the pro­ceeds of its sales and of a suc­cess­ful launch night be­tween Mac­room Com­mu­nity Hos­pi­tal and the town’s St Col­man’s House fa­cil­ity.

Hav­ing been res­i­dent in Mary­mount dur­ing the past year, Diar­muid, aged 56, was de­ter­mined to show his ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the care he re­ceived, by record­ing a sec­ond CD of his favourite songs, as a fundraiser. His sis­ter, Nora, said: “It’s for Mary­mount and it was his wish, whether he was there or not, that it went ahead. It’s what he wanted.”

The new CD serves both as a fundraiser and as a poignant legacy for a man who was sur­rounded by song through­out his life.

“He used al­ways be singing. He was brought up with it and loved it al­ways. The ra­dio was al­ways on in the house,” Nora added, re­call­ing ‘The Claddagh Ring’ as one of her brother’s early favourites.

Like his first CD, the new re- cord­ing fea­tures songs both in Ir­ish and English, col­lected over a life­time steeped in the singing of the Múscraí area. In an in­ter­view for The County on the re­lease of The Songs I

Used to Sing, Diar­muid said: “I’m singing since I can re­mem­ber, be­cause our house was full of mu­sic and song.”

De­spite suf­fer­ing from a lung con­di­tion, Diar­muid recorded his new tracks, in­clud­ing the evoca­tive ‘Táimse im’ Chod­ladh’, and paid tribute on the al­bum cover to those who as­sisted him.

Re­fer­ring to his “beau­ti­ful room in Mary­mount”, he said: “I want to show my grat­i­tude to this won­der­ful fa­cil­ity, by or­gan­is­ing another fundraiser. What bet­ter way than with a new CD?” He praised the “fan­tas­tic sup­port and help which I have re­ceived from so many, but most es­pe­cially Tony Kirby, my record­ing man­ager, with­out whom this CD would not have been pos­si­ble”. The Songs I Used to Sing, Vol­ume 2 will be launched at the River­side Park Ho­tel, Mac­room, by C103 pre­sen­ter, John Greene, this Fri­day, De­cem­ber 8, at 8pm, with CDs also on sale in lo­cal shops.

Diar­muid O’Con­nell com­pleted the al­bum, The Songs I Used to Sing: Vol­ume 2. He died two weeks ago.

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