I was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. As a child I loved the Sunday morning walks with my grandfather who lived in Irishtown. We’d walk up along Sandymount Strand and look out on Dublin Bay, or down to the river Liffey to see which of the Guinness ships were in dock. There were four of them in all and they had beautiful names:

The Lady Gwendolen, the Lady Grania, the Lady Patricia and the Lady Miranda. I was fascinated by the idea that they sailed all around the world and came back to Dublin. Perhaps that’s when the travel seed was planted in me.

My other grandparents lived in Drimnagh and their house was always full of songs and lyrics. My grandad was forever making up Limericks, funny short poems, which I got a great kick out of. At home we listened to traditional music on the radio and my parents’ record collection, and sang along.

I was mad for music, even then. I was in the school choir, taught myself the tin whistle and at the age of twelve I got my first guitar. I listened to Pentangle, Fairport Convention, Judy Collins, and Joan Baez. I went busking on the weekends in Dublin City, and started singing at small venues. Fate struck one evening when I met a young man from Germany. A year later I decided to go there for a year, formed my first folk band and began touring.

Somewhere in the 1990s, two things happened. I was lucky enough to meet some very special musicians who introduced me to the worlds of jazz and improvisation. At the same time, songs in the Irish language began to wind their way into my head, which was probably a way of keeping the language alive for me.

In 1999 I was invited to play with The Brandenburg Philharmonic Orchestra. I have since worked with The Stuttgart Philharmonic, ‘The Jena Philharmonic and The German Pops Orchestra. This year I was the ‘September Artist in Residence’ at Áras Éanna arts centre on the island of Inisheer, Aran Islands, which was an honour for me.

I grew up close to the sea and now live very much inland. But when I’m onstage with my band I can feel the ocean all around me. Come with me.