My Weekend: A marathon of music takes place across the city today

Claire Layton O’Brien, co-ordinator of Music Generation Cork City, is involved in GLOW on the GO — a day ofmusic-making around the city as part of GLOW, A Cork Christmas Celebration, today. Music Generation carollers and musicians will be performing impromptu concerts all around the city to spread festive cheer.
My Weekend: A marathon of music takes place across the city today

Claire Layton O’Brien Music Generation Cork City

Claire Layton O'Brien features in our My Weekend series

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I’m a mama to two girls (aged 3 and 5) and job-sharing co-ordinator of Music Generation Cork City (with the legend that is Mags O’Sullivan).

I have worked in arts and festival management and administration for over 15 years, paying my way through a music degree in UCC with piano teaching, and keeping myself in free tickets by volunteering in arts organisations and festivals.

I’ve worked in everything from ice-cream seller to tour manager, producing gigs in unelectrified Georgian houses to Carnegie Hall, learning Ewe dance and drumming in Accra Ghana to performing on the carillon bells of Cobh Cathedral and playing keys in our band, Dirttrack, back in the day.

Music has taken me to interesting places, and it is what brought me to Music Generation Cork City.

Music Generation works to make performance music education accessible to all children and young people, with programmes and hubs in Cork city in Knocknaheeny, Gurranabraher, Farranree, Mayfield, Mahon, Ballyphehane, and the City Centre (CCLSS AKA Fr Rock’s and Westview Probation Service). We work in partnership with community-based providers like Music Mash Up, Creative Tradition, Music in Community, Barrack Street Band, GMC Beats at the Kabin, Cork Academy of Music, youth services, and schools to deliver our programmes with 35 of Cork’s best musician educators, each of whom comes with such a vast range of experience and expertise.

Claire Layton O'Brien, far right, back, with members of Music Generation. Picture: Michael O'Sullivan /OSM PHOTO
Claire Layton O'Brien, far right, back, with members of Music Generation. Picture: Michael O'Sullivan /OSM PHOTO

This week we’re getting ready for Glow on the Go in partnership with Cork City Council, which will be a day of music-making around the city as part of GLOW, A Cork Christmas Celebration (today, Friday, December 10).

Merry-making troupes of Music Generation carollers and musicians will be performing impromptu concerts all around the city to spread festive cheer.

We’ve even magicked up an open-top bus with a little help from Bus Éireann (and my incredible colleagues Aida and Aoibheann)!

What is your ideal way to spend a Friday night?

My dream Friday night is to have a babysitter (shout out to Nana Ann!) and head out for dinner and a play or a gig in the Triskel or the Everyman or somewhere, with a cheeky glass or two of something nice.

Lie-ins or up with the lark... which is it for you?

Ha ha, I literally cannot remember the last time I had a lie-in. Definitely a lark (not necessarily by choice!)

Does work creep into your weekend at all?

Not in recent years, but if it does, it’s event-related so it’s not all hardship. Last Friday, we had a Music Gen group from Greenmount School (Emily, Jay, Evan, and Mia) and GMC Beats at the Kabin (Coben and Jamie) up to the Toy Show to play with a little-known artist called ED SHEERAN! This Friday [today] we are doing a marathon day of music performance — Glow on the Go, as part of Cork City Council’s Glow: A Cork Christmas Celebration.

If money was no object, where would you head to on a weekend city break? And who would you bring with you?

I would love to go to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland with my husband Mick, and we’d probably bring the two smallies if they were good.

Closer to home, is there some place you like to head to recharge the batteries?

Slea Head in Kerry if we’re going for a few days, or Long Strand to blow away the cobwebs.

Do you like to catch up with family/friends at the weekend?

Absolutely, we always meet family and friends (these days outdoors) on the weekend, usually somewhere near a playground.

Do you get to indulge any hobbies? Even as a spectator?

I play the piano — it’s like a form of meditation. I’m an incredibly shy performer though — something that I’ve battled for years! I wish I had been involved in Music Generation as a child — the confidence and self-possession I see in kids on our programmes is unbelievable.

Entertain or be entertained? If it’s the latter, do you have a signature dish?

A bit of both is good! My go-to dish if I’m cooking is a Greek stew recipe my parents brought back from holidays once — it’s all olive oil, wine, veg, and feta cheese. Yum!

We have so many places to eat out in Cork — where are your go-to spots for coffee/ lunch/ special meal?

My favourites are coffee from Soma, Joes and Bros, or Guji in the Marina Market, I love Blackrock Castle or Good Day Deli for dinner and Café Izz for something delicious for lunch (and a cinnamon roll).

Sunday night comes around too fast ... how do you normally spend it?

We’d normally go for a spin to the sea or a forest on a Sunday and come back nicely tired from that.

We might get a takeaway and then get ready for the week with packing lunches and putting out uniforms, topped off with an episode of whatever series we might be watching (just finished Only Murders in the Building on Hulu — it’s great).

What time does your alarm clock go off on Monday morning?

I don’t need to set an alarm clock — my lively daughters batter the door down between 7am and 7.30am most mornings.

More about GLOW

To celebrate GLOW, Bishop Lucey Park has been transformed into a festive wonderland inspired by the song ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’.

Enjoy fantastic views of Cork on the iconic 32m Ferris Wheel on the Grand Parade.

Prebooking of Bishop Lucey Park and the Ferris Wheel is essential on glowcork.ie

GLOW runs every weekend until December 19.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Echo 130Echo 130
EL_music

Podcast: 1000 Cork songs 
Singer/songwriter Jimmy Crowley talks to John Dolan

Listen Here

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more