The Gathering Ireland promises to make 2013 a year like no other. The calendar is already jam-packed with events for every interest, ranging from big bashes to small, community projects. These 12 months promise to shine a light on all aspects of Irish culture.
Rea Garvey is a Kerryman who’s carved out an impressive career as a musician in Germany. The singer-songwriter is the frontman of rock band Reamonn, which he formed in the late 1990s. Over the years, Garvey has worked with superstars like Nelly Furtado and Mary J Blige, and Reamonn was even selected to perform for Barack Obama and a crowd of 200,000 people in Berlin just months before the US president was elected in 2008. Today, Garvey is focusing on his solo career and also mentors up-and-coming artists as a coach on the German version of the popular TV singing competition The Voice.
With parents and siblings who are musicians, there’s no doubt that Moya Brennan has music in her blood. The Co Donegal native, who is a talented singer, songwriter and harpist, has been entertaining the world with her sounds for more than 40 years, first with the band Clannad and later as a solo artist. Often referred to as the “First Lady of Celtic Music,” Brennan is a Grammy nominated musician who is credited with breathing new life into the genre over the course of her career.
Daniel O’Donnell is a Donegal man who keeps his home in his heart – and his songs. The singer and TV presenter became interested in music as a teen and in 1983, at age 21, he recorded his first solo record. Since then, it’s been one success after the next, with O’Donnell being named Irish Entertainer of the Year in 1989, 1992 and 1996. In May 2012, O’Donnell’s star status was cemented when a visitor centre celebrating his life and work opened in Dungloe, Co Donegal.
As part of the boy band craze of the 90s, Ronan Keating has performed for audiences around the world. With his band mates in Boyzone, he sold 30 million records before launching a solo career in 1999. Since then, the Dublin native has released nine more albums, joined The X Factor Australia as a judge and raised funds for breast cancer through the Marie Keating Foundation, which is named for his late mother.
Kathryn Thomas made her first foray into the television industry in 1998 with Rapid, an RTÉ series for young people. The Co Carlow native has stayed with the national broadcaster throughout her career, appearing on programmes such as No Frontiers, Operation Transformation and, most recently, The Voice of Ireland. Thomas’ talent as a presenter was celebrated in 2008 when she won the award for TV Personality of the Year at the Irish Film and Television Awards.
George Hook is a man of many talents. The Cork man keeps the people of Ireland informed and entertained with his evening radio programme The Right Hook, and he also puts to use his years as a rugby coach by commenting on the annual 6 Nations Rugby Tournament. In 2005, Hook added ‘author’ to his list of jobs when he published his autobiography Time Added On. Over the years, he has also been dedicated to charity work and is presently the patron of the Comber Foundation, an Irish charity that is active in Romania.
Francis Brennan is no doubt an expert at welcoming visitors to Ireland. As proprietor of the five-star Park Hotel Kenmare, he knows a thing or two about combining traditional Irish hospitality with a touch of luxury. Brennan purchased the renowned hotel in 1986, though he had been making his mark on the property as an employee since 1979. Today, he and his brother John run an award-winning operation and also put their hospitality industry expertise to use on the RTÉ series At Your Service.