Bishopstown hurler's love song to the GAA goes on a national tour

Corkman Timmy Creed brings his one man show ‘Spliced’ to GAA clubs in Cork this month. Here he talks about his childhood, interests and hopes for the future
Bishopstown hurler's love song to the GAA goes on a national tour
Cork actor, sportsman, writer Timmy Creed in 'Spliced.

Tell us about yourself;

I am an actor, sportsman, writer, forager and yogi from Mardyke Walk.

I am currently touring my first one man show, Spliced, around the GAA clubs of Ireland (see more info below). Spliced is a love song to the GAA, a meditation on my experiences playing with Bishopstown GAA club and subsequent life outside the institution.

Where were you born?

Cork born. Cork bred. Cork bruised. Cork fled.

Where do you live?

For all my sins, the home of Sam; Baile Atha Cliath (Dublin).

Family?

Eight of us. Mother, Father, Director, Mathematician, Teacher, Engineer, Doctor......and me....

Best friend?

Because this is being printed in Cork, I’d be scolded if I didn’t say my mother, the most wonderful human, Norma Bracken.

Earliest childhood memory?

The first sliotar that was put through the window in our house. That situation repeated itself over and over.

Person you most admire?

A hurler by the name of Diarmuid Lyng, who I am lucky enough to also call a friend. At his peak he was the captain of the Wexford hurling team, and is renowned nationally for his gifted abilities with a hurl.

As someone who played at the highest level from a young age he understands the game in all its beauty and faults and knows how the culture of sport starts at a very young age. Diarmuid is known for using his respected position in the sporting community of Ireland to effect positive change in attitudes and ways to see and play the game, bringing it back to its bare ancient simplicity.

Spliced has been performed in secondary schools where Diarmuid has facilitated workshops with the students after performances. Observing him in the room as he facilitated a space for young people to speak freely and openly about respect and identity as their peer, and not their elder, was a wonderful insight into what made him such a celebrated captain and team leader.

Person who most irritates you?

I’m not afraid to say that it’s myself. I am forever questioning, criticising and holding myself back. When I was writing this show I found I was getting in my own way a lot, lacked discipline and focus to revisit and refine the text and to dig into the hard truths about myself. But on a good day I’m my biggest fan too so it balances out.

Who would you like to see as Minister for Finance, and why?

It’s a position filled with psychopaths and pimps and it should be abolished. But, if pushed, I would say give it to Mattress Mick. We’d all sleep a bit more soundly.

Where was your most memorable holiday?

I was 20 in California for the summer. Every Wednesday we would go over the border into Mexico to Tijuana. Jump in a taxi at the border and straight to the nightclub, Safari, for Irish night. The club was full of Irish students still too young to go clubbing in the USA. $20 in and free drinks for the night. (What genius ever came up with that!)

One Wednesday, I left the club, deciding to walk to the border. I was stopped by a police car and two Spanish-speaking policemen asked for my passport. I didn’t have a word of Spanish and have a vague memory of them smiling and driving off with my passport. I figured the only way to get back home without paying the $300 penalty was to climb and hop the border fence. Which I did. I climbed up, looked over and landed on sand. Big gates opened. Trucks surrounded. Dust flew up. Guns may or may not have been involved. I was kept in a holding room for two days until my details were located. My mates thought I had been fed to the snakes. That story lives on.

Favourite TV programme?

Has to be The Sunday Game. Watching Marty Morrissey on a Sunday night makes me feel things that I don’t understand.

Favourite radio show?

An Taobh Tuathaill — Cian O Ciobháins delicately chosen sounds and bangers, 10-12 every night, all in Irish on RnaG.

Your signature dish if cooking?

Beetroot risotto, a recipe I picked up from my father. It was the fuel that kept the Spliced crew going for our midsummer run last year. Cheap, healthy, nutritious and most importantly maroon and white; the Bishopstown colours!

Favourite restaurant?

When I was a carnivore it would have been KC’s of Douglas. Their bacon jam filled Bermuda triangles are still hard to resist but for the last few years it would have to be Iyers’ on Popes Quay. Rich flavours, fresh ingredients and made with love.

Last book you read?

Old Moores Almanac, 2019.

Best book you read?

Mushrooms, by Roger Phillips, has been the most enlightening book I have read in the last few years. It’s a wonderful companion to have out foraging through Irish fields at this time of year. With the aid of this book I found many little friends of the field who were of great help in the gestation and writing of Spliced. I am also very keen on Dreamtime by the late, great John Moriarty.

Last album/CD/download you bought?

Bought the Fugees’ first album in a charity shop for a quid recently. How bad!

Favourite song?

In Spite of Ourselves by John Prine.

One person you would like to see in concert?

John Prine. I love his music but have never seen him in the flesh.

Do you have a pet?

Not a domesticated one, but I was told by a shaman that the fox is my spirit animal so there’s a mutual respect and admiration when I see one.

Morning person or night owl?

The morning depends on the night before and the night depends on if I went to bed that morning.

Your proudest moment?

Spliced selling out five nights in Bishopstown GAA club for the Midsummer Festival last year. In every other club the show is me sharing my story but in Bishopstown, performing it in front of my old team mates, it felt like it was our story. It was a little overwhelming to be up there telling the lads about my experiences, but the reaction that came from them after the show made me feel proud and reassured.

Spendthrift or saver?

Summer spender, winter saver. When the sun is on your back and a thirst is in your mouth it’s easy to lose a few euro on a balmy summer’s evening walking through town. I’m staunchly against fast fashion so I get most of my clothes in charity shops, though I’m lucky enough to be going out with a style icon who has me looking dapper most days.

Name one thing you would improve in your area in which you live?

I’d love to see more good-sized green spaces around Dublin city and more arts/cultural spaces opening up rather than closing down to make way for bogus hotels.

What makes you happy?

Being in the moment with someone. Spending time in West Kerry. Hurling balls or being on stage performing.

How would you like to be remembered?

Beautifully, and forgiven of my debts.

What else are you up to at the moment?

Right now my whole world is Spliced so it’s hard to see outside that but I’m currently working on a few news shows. One about our connection and lost connection with the Irish language. The other is about madness and the history of Irish psychiatric institutions. I am working on this with my sister, the magical Maggie Creed, who is acting, singing and writing the music for the show. Did you know that in the 1960s Ireland had the highest number of psychiatric beds per capita in Europe?

MORE ABOUT SPLICED

From one of the country’s most exciting upcoming writers, Timmy Creed, comes Spliced. Hard-hitting, witty and brave, this multi-disciplinary collaboration written and performed by Timmy Creed (with visual artist David Mathúna, composer Chris Somers), and directed by Gina Moxley, shines a light on the fragility of the sportsman behind the mask, and begins a conversation about identity and mental health in the GAA.

Following a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Chalk It Down productions in association with The Everyman, comes to Cork November 5-9.

Show locations and dates:

Brian Dillons GAA Club, Montenotte – Tue 5 Nov, 8pm

St. Finbarr’s GAA Club, Togher – Wed 6 Nov, 8pm

Glen Rovers Hurling Club, Ballyvolane – Thu 7 Nov, 8pm

Blackrock Hurling Club – Fri 8 Nov, 8pm

Bishopstown GAA Club – Sat 9 Nov, 8pm

Tickets available from everymancork.com

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