Of course it hasnt all been bad. I know that one of the happiest memories in my life was when the Good Friday agreement was struck in Northern Ireland. Having an affect on so many lives. For too long people suffered at the hands of terror on my shores of Ireland and those of England too. Lets never forget, that innocent lives were lost on both sides of the trouble in Ireland and the UK. So when the likes of George Mitchell came over under the instruction of President Bill Clinton and through the work of all parties in Ireland and the Uk and decided enough was enough, well many people rejoiced. Peace at last. Yes there are still a lot of angry and hurt people who lost loved ones through the troubles who will take time to get over the pain, if ever. However what we have now is a will for both countries to move forward. There will be those who will do their utmost to derail what we have achieved, but thankfully, there are too many good people living in my country and my neighbours to let that ever happen. We shall NEVER return to those times again.
So why, Im sure are you asking am I going on about these things. Well for no other reason than I think it important to sometimes sit back and look at the world we are living in today. What have we created and how can we change it. Yesterday for the first time in over 100 years, a head of the British Monarch touched down on Irish soil. It was hugely momentous and one that would never have been contemplated 10 years ago. To have her come and pay respects to Irish history and to those who died creating a better future for all that live in it today, was hugely significant. I was extremely proud watching it all unfold, and hope that the remainder of her visit on my island will be a pleasant one. When talking to my Grandma yesterday on the phone, she said that she too was very proud. A woman of 92 years of age, who has seen Ireland grow and develop through its formative years, was delighted to have the Queen in her country. That for me questioned why the handful of thugs that we're demonstrating on the Dublin streets yesterday would have an issue with her visit. What harm would it do to mend bridges. Im sure if asked, a lot of them wouldn't know. When interviewed on a Dublin radio station last night, one of the thugs couldn't even name the 6 Counties he wanted the Queen to give back. MORON!
Needless to say when the Queen dined tonight at Dublin Castle, hosted by our President Mary McAleese, I was sensing from Twitter and Facebook, Ireland was turning a page in what has been a turbulent past.
To move on to lighter matters. How over whelming it is to sit and read all the letters and open the gifts you have sent me since arriving here in New York. For any of you who doubt it, I open all the letters myself and read them all. If it was someone else doing it, as has been accused, many of you would have received responses sooner than now. The delay is due to the fact that I want to read them all, and find many of the stories told to me extremely interesting. Some funny and some very moving. It saddens me that there a some out there who are very lonely. Who find music to be their only friend or comfort. Why is that? I often ask. I was blessed with a wonderful family and great friends, so ask how come I get that, and so many dont. If my music can bring solace to this people, it makes whatever I do so worth while.
I have been trying to reply to one and all in recent days, but am quickly realizing that this maybe a task too far. Today I sent over 100 letters in the post, yet Im not even half way through. Its not going to be a case where I will pick and choose who to write to because of the best story, or the best gift, but I will have to come up with some sort of plan. In the meantime, I will continue my task of finishing the job I started.
I want you to know that I appreciate it all. Genuinely. Today I received $5.00 in a card from a kid to buy myself a coffee. I was utterly touched by how one could be so generous. So whether you send a letter, a card, or a gift, I appreciate them all and thank you for them. I often get great encouragement from reading your letters and thoughts. So keep them coming. I will get around to reading them all at some point. This I promise.
I feel it important to take a moment to talk about the recent departure of Ryan Kelly from the Celtic Thunder group and from public life in general. I know many of you were shocked and saddened by the news. As was I. I was unaware of his intentions. I have got to know Ryan well over the four years working with him and we have shared many a great laugh together. This I expect to remain intact. I do know that Ryan is a very private person and that whatever reason he felt he couldnt continue is for him to divulge in his own time. Being in the public eye is difficult. Its not one I complain about as it is something I knew came with the territory of being a professional singer. I was fortunate to have had experience of this lifestyle prior to joining Celtic Thunder. For some in the group its easier than others. Im not for a moment suggesting Ryan struggled with this. In fact I know he appreciated the support and adoration he got from many of his fans, as we all did. However, sometimes it can get tough due to a handful. For this I hope is not the reason Ryan needs time away.
Whatever it is, I do want to thank him for all his support and friendship over the years. I want to wish him well in whatever road he decides is best for him, and hope that both himself and Anna find true happiness together. I can assure you all the rumours that have been brought to my attention are untrue. He is not joining the army, or going to the jungles to save the Rainforest, or expecting twins, or adopting orphans, or joining the Greenpeace fight against whale fishing. He just wants time out, and for those who love his music and indeed himself, Im sure you'll give it to him. We will ALL be here for him when and if he decides to return. Of this Im sure.
As for the GLEE project. Where to begin!! I dont watch the show Glee so when the wee man was here in New York visiting, I had to have him explain it all to me. Im still confused. There's no shooting, no murders to be solved, no text voting, its all about high school??!! OK! Great.
Damian is very excited and I know they are exciting times ahead for the fella. How he copes with it all, we will have to see....on a weekly show!! I wish him the best, as if its needed to be said. I feel there are great things ahead for him. How super cool would it be if he got on the show....like OMG, LOL!!!
I know the boys are in studio recording new stuff as I type. I wait like the rest of you, to hear it. It is changing times for Celtic Thunder, and after spending 4 years building and developing the show and the brand, I can only wish them continued success.
Now, Im off to reply to some more mail and make my dinner. Dom is working, so one has to figure out what to eat.
Keep well my loves