Acclaimed musician John Spillane for intimate Clare gig

Acclaimed musician John Spillane for intimate Clare gig


Acclaimed Cork singer, songwriter, and musician John Spillane is on his way to the banner for an intimate gig on Sunday, May 5th from 7pm-9pm.

The popular poet and storyteller will perform Cherry Trees and other hits at the Cliffs of Moher Hotel Liscannor and tickets are in high demand.

The gig, which will be sure to charm, entertain and mesmerize, is being organised by Anam Music. Anam Music is a new music promotion venture founded by Ennistymon based music lover Pat Ryan, and renowned musician and Clare FM Radio presenter Eoin O’Neill. The vision behind it is to build a music club where people can meet and enjoy good music in an intimate and relaxed setting.

With 14 albums under his belt, John Spillane is one of Ireland’s most accomplished songwriters and a popular performer. A two-time Meteor award winner, his songs have been covered by Christy Moore, Sharon Shannon, and Sean Keane, to name a few. He has also presented TV shows and documentaries, including one that took him to Senegal to meet the legendary musician Baaba Maal. Spillane performed to 45,000 people during the Australia v. Ireland Aussie rules match.

Spillane grew up in the Cork suburb of Wilton, in a family of five boys. He was educated in Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh, Bishopstown. Raised by his mother, she influenced his musical nature and taught him a variety of Cork songs including “The Banks of My Own Lovely Lee” and “The Lonely Woods of Upton”. A shy child who shunned the spotlight, he got his first guitar at the age of fifteen and joined his first band in school. When he first began his main influences derived from artists like the Beatles, Neil Young, Planxty and Bob Dylan. His beginnings were more rock than anything else until he had a change of heart.

Musician and broadcaster Eoin O’Neill is a founding member of Anam Music organisers of the gig

“When I started out with rock bands, I sang in an American accent. Then I heard real Americans sing the blues and it made me feel like a fraud. Ever since then, the most important thing for me is to be true to who I am and where I come from.”

After finishing the leaving cert he took a hiatus in order to briefly work as a clerk in the Bank of Ireland, but his old band lured him back to his real calling, music. He hopped in a van with his band ‘Sabre’ and toured around Ireland playing rock music. It all fell apart according to Spillane but it was no matter as at that point he had realised that trad was what he really wanted to immerse himself in and began his career as a professional musician at the age of 20.

In Spillane’s early career he was involved with several bands but most notably were Nomos and The Stargazers. Taken under the wing of renowned whistle player Noel Shine, Spillane spent several years playing with the local jazz vocal group The Stargazers. It was at this time he studied in UCC obtaining a degree in Irish and English.

It was in 1992 when the young trad band Nomos changed Spillane’s life. The band was made up of concertina player Niall Vallely, Donegal fiddler Liz Doherty (replaced by Cork fiddle player Vince Milne on the second album), bodhrán player Frank Torpey, and Gerry McKee on mandocello and bouzouki. Spillane played acoustic guitar and fretless electric bass while also contributing songs to the group. Together they toured the world and produces two albums Set You Free and I Won’t Be Afraid Anymore. Spillane then left to pursue a solo career.

Spillane is also an advocate of the resurgence of the Irish language having released two albums almost entirely in Irish. The first being a collaboration with Irish poet Louis de Paor under the pseudonym “The Gaelic Hit Factory”.

Spillane’s gigs are famous for their warmth, fun and lively energy and a great night is in store for all in Liscannor on May 5th. Tickets are priced at €15.00 + booking fee and are available on