The end of the tour

“Why did you choose music over football?”

‘Did you like the bouncy castle we brought you a few months ago?”

“Are you going to teach your son how to play football?”

Some of the questions I was asked over the last 10 days or so on what I have loosely christened The Ignition Tour – visiting 10 primary schools around the county of Sligo – listening to, answering questions and playing music for some of the children in each school.

It brought me to Ransboro, Rathcormac, Maugherow, Ballymote, Killavil, Bunninadden, Sligo town (Scoil Ursula, The Mercy and Carbury) and finally today Geevagh.

I heard children performing songs they had written, an original version of Despacito as Gaeilge, Adele’s Someone Like You, traditional Irish pieces, and lots of music from Queen.

I ended up talking in depth and in public about things I hadn’t spoken about in years – our harrowing loss in the 2000 county final to Bunninadden, a gig I played one-handed after getting injured in training, and how playing the cello as a 12 yr-old helped me rediscover joy in music.

I was asked to play everything from Dance Monkey (many times) to The Killavil Jig to Wagon Wheel.

I ended up singing songs I never thought I’d end up singing (Paula The Koala), songs of mine I had almost forgotten (A Sporting Life) and I now know all the words to Old Town Road.

They were 10 magical hours spent in the company of great children and wonderful teachers and it is definitely something I will do again.

I drove past Sooey NS on the way home from Geevagh today. It looks like they are getting a bit of work done there but it reminded me of the great day I had there last June. So thanks to Christ Spoorenberg who invited me out there and ignited this idea in my mind.

And to Ruth and Avril in Carbury, Jenny in Maugherow, Sheena and John in Geevagh, Frank and Moninne in Rathcormac, Claire, Gillian, Siobhán, Graham and Ruth in Ransboro, Sorcha, Deirdre and Ann Marie in Scoil Ursula, Marie in Ballymote, Seána and Bill in Killavil, Yolande and Sarah Jane in The Mercy, and to Emma and Bernie (who taught me when I was in primary school) in Scoil Chroí Naofa – thanks to you all for reading my blog, inviting me to your classrooms, looking after me so well and doing such great work with all of the children.

You guys have one of the most important jobs in our society and it was heartwarming to see it being done so well and indeed so musically in so many instances. See you all next time.