Kieran is based in County Meath, (near Dublin) in the Republic of Ireland and a short distance away from the historic Hill of Tara; the famed seat of the High Kings of Ireland, while the passage tombs of Newgange and Knowth are a little further to the east. His mother was the church organist for many years, while his father was a proficient player of the tin whistle. He fondly remembers his late father’s regular playing of various hornpipes on the tin whistle.
Kieran plays the traditional Irish Harp. He always wanted to play the Harp from the time he was a child, but there was a significant investment cost involved and so it waited until later in his life. His instrument was handcrafted by Colm O' Meachair, a Dublin based harp maker who sadly passed away in September 2013 (R.I.P. Colm).
Kieran took up the violin to play some of the Irish Airs which he loves to play. “I also have a strong interest in classical music and admire the playing of people like Nicola Benedetti, Hilary Hahn, Julia Fischer, Ann Sophie Mutter and so on."
His first instrument was an Accordion:
“Being the son of a farmer, we all had our own ‘bullock’. One day I looked at mine and viewed it as my future accordion (well... you work with the cards you're dealt in life, eh?) When he was sold, I bought an accordion and of course replaced my bullock with a calf. Although it was new and expensive at the time (£450 was quite a lot of money in 1985), I realised later that it was an inferior East German accordion; the base on it was extraordinarily loud and drowned out the keyboard of the accordion."
Notwithstanding these aspects of the instrument, Kieran learned how to play it by ear. He now plays an Excelsior 911 piano accordion, which he acknowledges he was very fortunate to come across. This is a top of the range instrument with a fabulous selection of base and treble registers and is made by Excelsior, which is owned by Pigini and made in Castelfidardo, Italy.
He later took up guitar and unusually began with a 12-string guitar, which he played for years and used it to accompany himself while singing ballads. He now plays a 6-string hand made Taylor guitar.
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