Interviews and Chat with Kieran Kelly on his program "Sin E" on Dublin City Radio 102.3 FM

Musical Beginnings.mp3

Clondalkin Village 1960's.mp3

On the Buses

49 -My most frequent route

B.C.S.   -  School music clubs & Bands

Students on Facebook.mp3

Isle of Wight Music Festival 1970

Interview & Chat with John Byrne on Dublin South Community Radio 93.9 FM

Isle of Wight 1970.mp3

Achill Revisited

Sweeney's Hotel - 

my first "paid "gig

Interview & chat with Kieran Kelly on Dublin City Radio 103.2

Going Solo,Achill, and The Water is Wide intro.mp3

The  International  Bar

Interview & chat with Peter Grogan - "It's  All  in  the  Song" on Dublin City Radio 103.2

The International Bar 1980's.mp3


Playing "Rock 'n Roll Kids" in Sorrento, Italy 1994

"New" Country Music & Americana 2000's

With Joe Ryan on steel guitar and mandolin


A Musical Life – working musician, singer and teacher. I come from a musical family on both my father’s and my mother’s side. Back in the 1930’s my father won prizes for fiddle playing at the Sligo Feis but unfortunately missed out on the 1960’s ballad boom which revived Irish traditional music and ballads. Piano playing and singing was a tradition in my mother’s Limerick family, especially my uncle Bill Ahern. Both my parents were fans of Bing Crosby and the 1940’s swing era and family singsongs always included this music. I have over 40 first cousins and many are musical , especially the Morans and the Martins so we’ve had many musical get-togethers over the years ! At around the ages of 8-9 we were all sent out to piano lessons but all dropped out except for myself and my sister, Rosena. The arrival of a ukelele in our house was a big landmark and when my cousin Gerry in Sligo got a guitar ( see  “Gerry’s Old Guitar”) and we discovered we could play uke chords on the first 4 strings we were on our way !


From then on we were children of the ‘60’s, all singing and playing. In our home village of Clondalkin our folk group “The Roving Kind” , AKA Opus 5, won the local talent show 3 times and played in other venues such as the famous “Embankment”, Mick McCarthy’s venue in Tallaght, as well as in the Dublin folkclubs of the time such as the "Coffee Kitchen".

The "Roving Kind" AKA "Opus 5" - from L my brother Sean (guitar), Tony McGaley (mandolin / banjo), Roisin Murray (lead singer),Ray Tierney ( tambourine & harmony vocals) and me on R ( the serious musician !)

1970's  -  School, 1970 Isle of Wight Festival, DFRC and Achill

However life intervened and between study, careers and marriage we went our separate ways and I was left as a solo musician trying to find my own voice while getting to grips with my job as a teacher of Geography and History in a vocational and later a community school in the Dundrum / Ballinteer area of south Dublin. During this time I also promoted music in my school, organising concerts and school bands ( the “B.C.S. Rollers” during the ‘70’s and" The Little Big Band” in the ‘80’s ).  

During the teacher’s long summer holidays in the early ‘70’s I worked in London as a lineman on the railways ( the "Watford Lineman" ! )and also a bus conductor. In 1970 I went to the big music festival on the Isle of Wight where I saw just about every band and singer I ever wanted to see – the Who, Jethro Tull, Moody Blues, Joni Mitchell and so many more . At the gig I also saw the last big shows of Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison of the Doors both of whom were dead within a year.

My solo “career” really started in 1972 when my colleague Paddy Byrne offered me “gigs” in the DFRC (Dundrum Family Recreation Centre ) where I got to sing songs like “Vincent” and my Simon and Garfunkel repertoire to a very appreciative audience . This gave me the courage to become a part-time or “semi-pro” musician and especially a summer entertainer, in the ‘70’s in the Achill Head Hotel, in the ‘80’s in the Algarve, and in the ‘90’s in Renvyle House in Connemara.

"From Achill to the Algarve" and "From Renvyle to Ranelagh "!

Summer residency in the Achill Head Hotel 1975 - 1977

Summer season on the Algarve, Portugal 1987- playing with Brian O'Reilly , songwriter of "Loudest Whisper" (Fermoy) and winner of Castlebar Song Contest 1985.

Weekends in Renvyle House Hotel, Connemara, early '90's.

International  Bar  early1980's


During this time I also started up a more specialist folk / blues/contemporary session “Tom Horan & Friends” in the International Bar in Wicklow St. which ran very successfully for over 5 years into the early ‘80’s and which featured various guests and styles every week. I was lucky to have such people as Don Baker with Johnny Norris, Mary Stokes, Frankie Lane ( Fleadh Cowboys ), Brendan Gleeson (the actor, in a bluegrass band called “Firehose Reel”  ), and even Dermot Morgan and Shay Healy as well as many more, including my sister Rosena who made her start here.

The gig helped to establish the International Bar, Wicklow Street, as a premier music venue during the `80’s and `90’s.Out of this gig I also recorded a 4 track E.P. ( on vinyl – a collectors item ! ) in Central Studios in Athlone, produced and engineered by the renowned steel guitarist Basil Hendrick. Luckily I got all 4 tracks played on local and national radio thanks to presenters Neil Toner, P.J. Curtis and also Gay Byrne.

1990's  -  Piano

From the mid ‘80’s to the mid ‘90’s I played a lot of piano in hotels e.g. – the Westbury , the Shelbourne and the Royal Marine, also in restaurants of the time such as Nico’s , the Caprice, QV2, Pier 32 (Grey Door) George’s Bistro etc. I’ve also done a “One –Man-Band-Piano Party” for all occasions, playing many styles of music for all ages and tastes in pubs, clubs and for private functions etc., including golf and tennis clubs around Dublin – Howth, Foxrock, ElmPark, Ballinascorney, Stackstown , Castlewarden etc.

From 2001

Since those days I’ve taken early retirement from teaching in 2001 and become a full time musician at last , do all kinds of gigs on guitar and keyboard, teach guitar and since 2007 have returned to more rootsy music where I try to feature a lot of the “New” country music as well as blues, folk, Irish and contemporary, playing with other musicians, especially Joe Ryan on steel guitar / mandolin .This led to my 2010 CD “Tom Horan & Friends” featuring musical friends and some of the most popular songs I have been doing over the years –a benefit CD for the Irish Cancer Society, the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association and the Hospice Foundation which has raised over €7,000 to date .

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