My father always said ‘it doesn’t take much to be nice’. I think he was right

Moya Brennan on her motto for life, who she admires most and her worst habit

Moya Brennan: ‘Last year we honoured them by celebrating 50 years of Leo’s Tavern and next year Clannad will be celebrating our own 50 years on the road.’

Moya Brennan: ‘Last year we honoured them by celebrating 50 years of Leo’s Tavern and next year Clannad will be celebrating our own 50 years on the road.’

 

The biggest challenge I have faced in my life was…

Every day has its challenges but preparing for two years of touring with Clannad and maintaining my health at the age of 67 is as big as it gets. We will embark on the In a Lifetime Farewell Tour next March and, although I’m very excited about it, I know I will have to look after myself especially well to run the course.

The moment that changed my life was…

When I met a photographer called Tim who came to Donegal to do an article on Clannad for New Musical Express in 1987. We have been married for 28 years now and being encouraged by my other half, especially when I started my solo work, was very important and continues to be.

Who I admire the most is...

Those people who dedicate their lives to helping others whether it be abroad in troubled zones or just at home with loved ones. Every time I see these things on TV or around me in everyday life I’m humbled by their self-sacrifice. Having been to several African countries, including Congo and Rwanda, with Christian Blind Mission, this certainly includes them. But there are also a lot of unsung heroes in this world who we’ll never know about.

The biggest influence on my career is…

My mum and dad! My dad got me up on stage at a young age in the family pub, Leo’s Tavern, and my mum taught me all those old Gaeilge songs and encouraged our musical abilities and practice. Last year we honoured them by celebrating 50 years of Leo’s Tavern and next year Clannad will be celebrating our own 50 years on the road.

A practical thing I do to help my personal development is…

I start every day with a time of meditation and prayer. I’d be very lost without feeling it’s encouragement and a sense of knowing that I’m not alone. It helps me through all things and I feel I can take on anything when God is part of my life.

My worst habit is…

I do watch a fair amount of Junk TV and soaps. Its undemanding after hectic travel, touring and performing schedules. That doesn’t mean it’s the only thing I watch!

The thing I’m most proud of is…

For many years playing with Clannad, I missed a lot of special occasions, birthdays and school events with my kids, Aisling and Paul. To now have them in my own band and, amazingly, as part of Clannad makes me so proud. The fact that despite their own musical influences they love playing with me is wonderful.

My motto for life is…

I have taken on what my father said: “It doesn’t take much to be nice”, and I try to remember this on a daily basis. I do try to see the good side of everything which has helped me when things haven’t quite gone according to plan.

Moya Brennan headlines a Concert in the Dark at Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin, Friday October 11th. concertinthedark.ie

In conversation with Una Mullally

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