Characters of Cork: Singer-songwriter Roy Buckley on his successful music career 

Roy Buckley from Ballyvolane has spent all of his life singing, collecting, writing and promoting Irish music.
Characters of Cork: Singer-songwriter Roy Buckley on his successful music career 

Roy has spent all of his life singing, collecting, writing and promoting Irish music.

Proud Cork man and singer-songwriter Roy Buckley has joined forces with many big names in the music industry over the course of his career.

Son of Liam and Geraldine and the brother of Joanne, Dean and Paul, Roy now lives in Banduff with his partner Olga and dog Jessie and says he is “very proud” of his family and where he comes from.

Roy has spent all of his life singing, collecting, writing and promoting Irish music both at home and abroad and says that Irish artists have always been among the best in the world.

Speaking about how he became a singer-songwriter, Roy says there was always music growing up in his home in Ballyvolane. His mother’s side of the family are all singers and uncles Liam and Mick Hutchinson have been gigging for decades.

My mother says that when I was nine years old, I told her that I wanted to be a singer and play guitar so off she went into MacCurtain St and bought me my first guitar.

"After that, I started getting guitar lessons in Scoil Oilibhéir before going to Steve Leahy in Glanmire.

“I suppose I was about 11 or 12 when my love for Irish ballads really took over, I heard how those songs could be delivered from the singing of all the greats such as Luke Kelly, Paddy Reilly, Jim McCann, Christy Moore, Liam Clancy, Finbar Furey and after that my fate was sealed.” 

Roy says he spent his pocket money buying albums of The Dubliners, The Clancy Brothers, and The Dublin City Ramblers and at about 14 or 15 years old began to play in ballad sessions and traditional music sessions in Cork.

The songwriting came later, in his late teens when he began to join the dots when reading the sleeve notes from the albums.

“I would see that these brilliant songs were written by people like Jimmy MacCarthy or Ewan McColl or legends that I would later on have the honour of working with like Phil Coulter or the late great trailblazers Pete St John and Liam Reilly. I was in my early twenties before I started performing my own songs in public. The first song I ever wrote was called The Old Man On Patrick’s Street."

Since then, Roy has had many highlights in his career, including reaching Number 1 for his original songs, being asked by Pete St John to sing his new song Tara Tansey, being part of breaking a Guinness World Record for the longest concert in Las Vegas with friends Dave Browne and Dave Rooney joining The Dublin City Ramblers for their 50th Anniversary Tour in the USA.

He says that his proudest moment to date is creating the concert series The Song Collector Sessions back in the summer of 2012, promoting Irish artists and songwriting.

“It makes me feel very proud to know I’ve created a platform for both the artists to perform and the audience to enjoy our own homegrown talent. 

We have had over 50 sold-out shows over the past ten years and I’m looking forward to organising more events now that the world has opened up again after the pandemic.

Roy says he is proud of how far he has come and said he is lucky to be surrounded by fantastic family and friends who also make him proud every day.

“I love spending time with the people closest to me. In the music business, there’s a lot of hard work in the background so it’s a proud feeling when a new song release is received well or a show sells out. It makes me happy when I see people enjoying themselves and music always does that.” 

Speaking about what’s next for him, he said Phil Coulter recently asked him about collaborating on one of his songs called Holy Moses which they have been working on in the studio.

Of course, it’s a thrill to be working with the maestro who has written songs recorded by everybody from Luke Kelly to Elvis Presley.

"I will be guesting with Phil in December when his 80th birthday tour comes to The Grainstore in Ballymaloe. I plan to release two new original songs in the new year as well, Carrie Carry On and Always On The Road.” 

Sharing his advice for being successful, he says that many young people are influenced by what others think of them and that with age you realise who and what is important in life.

“Go for it with everything you’ve got. Don’t leave a stone unturned, seize every opportunity and kick down as many doors as you can! Don’t look back later in life with regret, take the leap.” 

Asked what he thinks makes a ‘character’, he says that a character can be measured very easily.

“When a good character’s name is mentioned, it brings a smile and possibly a good anecdote or fond memory. Somebody who leaves a lasting impression. They’re my favourite characters.”

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Echo 130Echo 130

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

Listen Here

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