So last year (2015) I journeyed over to Ireland. My Pa Murphy was born there and moved over to Australia and joined the Australian police force at the ripe age of 40 living in Randwick where dad grew up. Life was tough. He was born in a small pastoral farming area called Knocknageehe. One of 7 hungry children, his Mum Catherine died when he was a boy. In traditionalist catholic sects the father was not allowed to marry again so his father had to bring up all these kids alone in the cold pastures during the famine. The intro to my home made video captures the moment me, my Dad and two brothers found the house using I-phone sat nav. The song Celtic Heart accompanying the video acknowledges my Grandads story and also my ancestral link to the peoples of Ireland.
We also visited one of my Grandad's sisters Sarah who is still alive (90 something) and living alone in a cottage on a family farm in Mullingar / Multyfarnham (with the support of her daughters and grandchildren) . Here we are catching up with Sarah:
Here is a pic of my brother speaking to Jim Murphy about the future of the family farm and the possibility of turning it into a whiskey distillery. A reflective moment.
My brother and I reflected on this church imagery. About exorcising the demons that may travel through the ancestoral linage. An inner struggle from dark to light. Its in the Murphy line for sure and comes out in much of my music
I ended up playing with Buddy Holly's distant Irish relative on the streets of Galway until the early hours busking...it was really roots stuff. I snuck out from the house and got home 5am. Only had one more night on the streets and then the Irish flu smashed me!
A big night out with my happy go lucky brothers sampling Galways finest in some pub with some rollicking music
I then contracted an Irish flew that literally floored me and I recovered by the fire of my good family 'god mother' Ena in Cork. She actually got a role in the home video of Celtic Heart as Pa's Mum "Catherine". Ironically I visited a doctor in Cork named Shane who diagnosed that I was indeed very sick.
I was still recovering but I ended up visiting the Aran Islands off Galway. A lyric to a new song called Through The Hills of Inishmore was inspired by these "cliffs that dropped to nowhere, black oceans deep" ...soon to be recorded
I must have started recovering at this point because I went for a swim in a bay on this island to sample the Atlantic Ocean.. twas cold as ice!
Finally I caught a bus feeling lonely but happy and sad at the same time...listening to 'Into the Mystic' by Van Morrison and Astral Weeks had me in tears looking out at the countryside and thinking about Van writing this music in this country.
Had a happy ending, landing in this old castle I visited firstly with my Dad and brothers in Clifden. I met these very lovely old Irish ladies on the bus here who assured me I would have a wonderful time here. They had been visiting this place Abbyglen for 30 years which is now a hotel of sorts. It was a great coming out of the darkness after being so sick. I ended up playing Celtic Heart by the Piano one evening with resident pianist Barry Ryan with a throaty voice after writing it in the afternoon..
To be sure this journey will continue
I felt completion as I arrived at Dublin airport to head home and looked at the Horse Called Freedom on the wall. A full circle.
The song Celtic Heart now appears on a new album dedicated to the spirit of our Celtic brothers and sisters.