To do and never to dream is worse than to dream but never to do: For to dream and never to do is to at least live in a rich state, even though it be an unnatural condition to striving humanity: but to do, and never to dream, is to humiliate that humanity into insignificance, and to dishonour the colour and form in that arrangement of things by God which man calls life.
from "The Shadow of O'Casey"
THE COUNTY DOWN — I used to play football for Saval. We were a good oul team until the boys started leaving to search for work in all corners of the globe.
The girls would still come to cheer us on but if one young girl's lad had gone she couldn't cheer with the same heart.
SHADOW OF O'CASEY — I always liked the work of Sean O'Casey but after meeting his 'loving' wife, Eileen and 'darling daughter, Shivaun. I felt I knew this great man much better. This is the title song from the show which I have been working on about O'Casey's life with Shivaun and the O'Casey Theatre Company.
DRESDEN — I was in 'East' Germany shortly after the wall came down. I found a great sense of celebration and jubilation but there was also a strange sense of sadness as well. True, there was a revolution going on but it was a revolution without songs. Maybe you can only write songs about dreams but in a sense a great dream had ended. Wo sind all die traume hin?
WE WILL RISE AGAIN — One night at a party, somebody shouted "an old man has fallen down the stairs". It was my father, he was 80 at the time.
Everybody gathered round. Gabrial Scally, a doctor lifted up my father's eyelid. My Da looked at me with more white in his eye than blue and said 'we'll rise again, but not until I finish that song I started at the top of the stairs'. This song is about the indominatibility of the human spirit.
FLOWER OF FIDDLERS GREEN — Fiddlers Green is a mythical place, they say, where fishermen go if they don't go to hell. There's a real Fiddlers Green, however, in a clearing above the old oak forest in Rostrevor, County Down. It's here way up to Clough Mor (The big stone that Finn McCool flung across Carlingford Lough many years ago).
This Fiddlers Green is a place both real and ideal.
WHEN THE BOYS COME ROLLING HOME — I don't know how many grown men I've met, with a tear in their eye, looking into large pints, in pubs from New York to San Francisco and saying things like "I think I'll go back home soon", They probably won't.
1999 — During the course of the same week recently, I found myself in the headquarters of representatives of two opposing lines in the Northern Troubles. But when I looked out the window of each place I saw the same picture. The houses were the same, the people were the same and the problems were the same. At that moment I knew that eventually both sides would sit down and find a solution. The song asks the question … When?
THE CLOWN — The entertainer is up there on the stage trying to solve everyone's problems with a song or a smile. Sometimes it's the entertainer who needs the smile more then anyone.
NO SLEEP TONIGHT — Working in the studio with Steve Cooney and Martin O'Connor at five in the morning I felt myself being carried all around the world by the rhythms of the music. I wrote this song for the "crack" and recorded it "live" as it were the lads in full flight and everybody in a mad sort of a mood.
RED WINE — I was several thousand feet above the Great Lakes when the air hostess handed me a glass of red wine. It brought me back to a small town in the Italian Alps and a French girl that I met. The same girl is now looking over my shoulder as I write this so I will say no more.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME — It's always good to be back again with a Song and a thank you for all the people who made me feel at home in the strangest of places and the warmest of places. "You give a meaning to my song and a reason for to carry on, you welcome me with open arms in a home away from home".
MAKE WE WANT TO STAY — A song for the parting. I'll say no more.
Don't took at me that way, you know it isn't easy To pack my bags again and wander, far away And leave you here alone with the sadness in your smiling It wouldn't take much more to make me went to stay
THANKS TO … Steve Cooney, magical musician and inspiring friend; Mairtin O'Connor, accordionic acrobat; Kieran Goss, the ideas and the smile; Colum, coach and confidant; Ben, master of harmonies; Ann, high notes; Shivaun O'Casey, Ilona Wilderbrand, Arty McGlynn and Nollaig Casey, Neill Martin, Nuala Tohill, James Blennerhasset, Brendan Monaghan, Dave Eariley, Tao Seeger, Fionan, Moya and Catherine, Bobbie Hanvey, John B. Vallely, Siegfried Maeker, Birgit Kuhn, Jorg Walter, Caroline Quandt, Niall Buggy, Robbie O'Connell, Mick Moloney, Jimmy Keane, Seamus Egan, Eileen Eivers, Mary Rowley and Jack Mitchell.