My Weekend: Sunday nights... Playing tunes in the Sin E session - only mighty!

Artist Eileen Healy tells us how she likes to spend her weekends
My Weekend: Sunday nights... Playing tunes in the Sin E session - only mighty!

Artist Eileen Healy.

Tell us about yourself:

Im originally from Youghal. My bedroom window in my family home looked directly out onto the old town walls… a very historical part of the East Cork harbour town. My dad worked in Seafield Factory back in the day and was also a signwriter/painter decorator. I have memories of him up a ladder painting signs over shops in the town. My mam's claim to fame was as an extra in the epic movie Moby Dick starring Gregory Peck.

When it came time for my interview to attend the Crawford College of Art and Design, she came to Cork with me on the bus for support. A car was a luxury back then. Happily I got in and completed my studies in 1988 in Fine Art and won Student of the Year Award from the Lavit Gallery, which was then on Lavit Quay. I was also awarded a studio for a year from the gallery which was in the loft of the building, overlooking the river Lee. Lucky me!

What is your ideal way to spend a Friday night? 

As well as an artist, I'm a musician who is addicted to live music. 

Sometimes I might stroll into the the pub to play in a trad session or if there is a good band somewhere I'lll be in the front seat at a gig.

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

I'm not up at the crack, I love my sleep! But I don't enjoy lingering in bed too long either, unless it's a wash out, howling wind kind of day. I'm usually up and at it around 8.30am.

Does work creep into your weekend at all?

I never really stop working. There is always something to be done when you're a creative and the day isn't long enough, I often have extra bits to take care of with my teaching, but I try to keep the weekends clear for gigs, heading out of the city, playing music, extra time in my studio.

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

Barcelona is one of my favourite cities. I found a fantastic Life Drawing group there and a beautiful figurative gallery in the Gothic quarter, The European Museum of Modern Art. 

There were some great music venues also pre Pandemic..I hope they are still there! 

For me it fits the bill for my art and music fix. A stunning city with lots to offer a music and art junky. London would also be in my top 5, for the same reasons and closer to home. I often travel with friends but just as happy on my own to go exploring.

Ruti Lachs (left) and Eileen Healy of Fresh Air Collective performing at The Workshop Cafe in Ballygarvan. Picture: Brian Lougheed
Ruti Lachs (left) and Eileen Healy of Fresh Air Collective performing at The Workshop Cafe in Ballygarvan. Picture: Brian Lougheed

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

Courtmacsherry, beautiful walk through the woods and up to the cliffs. Schull is a must, plus they have The Blue Gallery where I've exhibited. Going East direction, of course there is Youghal, the board walk along the beach. Towards Whitegate is stunning, through Cloyne and onto Roches Point and Ballycotton cliff walk. Further East is Ardmore. I'll give Ardmore Pottery a mention here, fantastic craft shop. Lismore… I love Tower Woods there. I'm lucky to have friends in beautiful coastal spots to go visit.

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

Sure..for coffee or to catch a gig, meet for lunch. It's nice to meet folks on The Coal Quay Saturday morning at the market..Great buzz there and maybe get lunch at the Bodega or at The Marina Market.

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

I've never been a fan of sport, either watching or participating. I did watch some of the Olympics with mild passing curiosity but I don't seek it out. My hobbies are my occupation and all arts based. For keeping fit and getting around..I cycle everywhere and otherwise some yoga, though that has lapsed since the absence of live classes. Yes, I got lazy. I practice my fiddle and guitar a bit to learn some new songs, tunes or to compose. 

During Covid I wrote quite a few instrumentals and might release them on CD someday. I draw as much as I can, bringing a sketchbook with me everywhere. I draw in cafes, trains, parks, keeps me off Facebook… for a while! 

Like most, I enjoy a good series on Netflix. That's my switch off time, but never before 10pm. Life is way too short for watching TV during the day. I dont have one and I dont miss it either.

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

We're so spoiled for choice now..and the outdoor vibe is fantastic..if it's not too brrr. I love sitting in cafes with a Mocha. Gugi in the Marina Market, Cork Coffee Roasters, Nestors on Parnell Place. Depeche on Western Rd were a lifesaver at the start of Covid when nothing else was open. Being able to order at the hatch was a joy, on the way To Fitzgerald Park.

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

Playing tunes in the Sin E session… only mighty!


Eileen is part of a group show at The Pig's Back in Douglas with artists, Martha Cashman, Donnacha O Callaghan and Sinead Ni Choinaola, continuing until January 11.

For more on her work see

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