Characters of Cork: Dedicated musician Ciara Kirby has big plans

Cork musician and student Ciara Kirby tells Breda Graham she is focused on her musical goals and determined to enjoy the journey ahead
Characters of Cork: Dedicated musician Ciara Kirby has big plans

Singer Ciara Kirby from Cork.

SEVENTEEN-year-old Ballincollig native Ciara Kirby is on the path to a bright future in the music industry with a recent Cork Teen Idol win and her first gig under her belt.

The sixth year Coláiste Choilm student and camogie player, who is currently preparing for her Leaving Cert, hopes to become successful in her music career and travel the world.

Inspired by her grandfather Ted Kirby, who is known for being in the band The Hollies, she has continued to practice and build her confidence.

“I started to learn to play the guitar first, about five years ago. Totally inspired by my Grandad Ted Kirby, who is known in Cork and nationwide for being in the band called The Hollies.

“I practiced every day and with my stepdad Kevin, we started to sing. I didn’t have much confidence at the beginning, but I practiced every spare moment I had. After two or three years and a little more confidence, I eventually sang in school, thanks to great encouragement from my music teacher Mr Houlihan.

“With lots of singing at home and then beginning voice lessons at Voiceworks in Cork, my singing voice developed even more. Thank you to my coaches Sarah and Nikki.”

Last year, Ciara entered Teen Idol for the first time, and came in second place, before entering again this year and taking home the win.

“I never really thought I would do something like this, but with many nerves in the run up to it and on the day, I did it. So thrilled to come in second place. This year, I tried again and I won. I sang my heart out all year, so I definitely think practice is the key, plus the encouragement at home of course,” she says.

Ciara says that she is proud of where her singing has got her to date, especially looking back at her younger self.

“Slightly shy, but gaining confidence daily,” she says.

She says her mother Tracy is her biggest fan and that she is constantly being supported by her family members.

Singer Ciara Kirby from Cork.
Singer Ciara Kirby from Cork.

“Every day I play guitar and sing for her which is guaranteed to make her cry. My whole family is so supportive, including my brother Dylan and sister Tara. My dad Leonard and my mum bought me all of my gear for singing and recording. So the house is like a mini studio. They are by my side every day, helping and encouraging me,” she says.

Ciara says that while she’s not entirely sure what’s next for her off the back of her Teen Idol win and first-ever gig at Sliced Restaurant in Ballincollig, she said she is waiting to hear about upcoming auditions.

“I’m all for bettering myself and gaining experience. With the Teen Idol competition, I also won a scholarship to the Cork School of Music. My goal is to do my Leaving Cert and start the course in Popular Music and get my degree. The sky’s the limit.”

After winning Teen Idol, she decided to create an Instagram account (@ciara_k_sings) to share her music.

“People are so supportive and send lovely comments and messages. But it’s only a new page, so I’m new to it all.”

Artists she looks up to include Billie Elish, Taylor Swift, Gavin James, Hozier and Cork’s own Cian Ducrot whose success this year she says is “fantastic to see”.

“Also musicals. Dad brought me to London this year to see Hamilton in the West End. It was incredible and I have to plan to see more. To go to Broadway would be amazing. But I will get there, I know it.”

Asked where she sees herself in five years, she says she hopes to be “hugely successful in music” and to have sell-out gigs.

Ciara says she is willing to put the hard work and dedication in to get to where she wants, singing and writing her own songs, and that she is taking on board the best piece of advice she has been given which is not to rush it, enjoy the journey and remain focused on her goals.

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