Aoife's Parents Ann Mulligan (Reilly) Crott, Moyne and father Peter Mulligan, Bornacoola originally. Grandparents on Ann's side Eddie and Philomena Reilly, R.I.P., Crott, Moyne and on Peter’s side, Gerard 'Gerry' Mulligan (Bornacoola) and Bernadette (Grey), Leitrim Newtownforbes and I have four siblings, all brothers, Ciarán, Dónal, Pádraig and Tomás.
I first seen this young lady at a recent event held in Longford Town, the weekend of the Cruthu Arts event. Aoife performed a few songs at a song and poetry night, and well you know when you go to some events and you see or hear something that totally blows you away, well that's what I experienced with Aoife. She sang three of her own written music and lyrics. What I heard was like something you would hear at a top Indie kinda concert, was like I was listening to radio of some famous singer. The depth of the lyrics surprised me for somebody so young. I had to approach and ask her if she would do a story for me, before she became too big to bother with local Photographer Michael Croghan. Aoife's mannerly way could not have been much nicer and was honoured for the compliments I paid her. She seemed taken aback. I hope to have a link to video below, so you can see for yourself and you can judge.
Studywise started in a creche in Longford Town ran by Joan McKenna, and have very fond memories of it. Actually, it was there I met Tomás Skelly (Moss) and we are still good friends to this day. Then onto Glen National School, on the outskirts of Edgeworthstown. In Glen you could say that's where it all started with singing. I was part of the Schools Scor, an Irish Musical competition. I was part of an Instrumental band and a solo singer. I won the solo singing in Longford County School Scor competition in 5th or 6th class (can’t remember exactly). I was one student in fifty, within the whole school. Went to Ballymahon Vocational school. Very good school, I enjoyed it so much, we did a lot of performance with pantomime and music.
Studied dance also, and did all my RAD grades in ballet with Anica Louw, in Shawbrook. She is from South Africa living in Legan where she set up the very famous dance school, Shawbrook. She pushed all of us out of our comfort zones and taught us to be confident. Shawbrook was a huge part of my younger years, where we completed Internationally recognised examinations, performed on stage and competed in dance competitions. We toured all over Ireland and when I was 15, I was part of the Shawbrook Touring Company that represented Ireland in the Aberdeen International Youth Festival.
I was taught classical piano by Bernadette Walsh, Edgeworthstown, an amazing teacher who always pushes you to achieve your full potential. She encouraged me to sing from a young age also. Pauline Flood has also encouraged and helped me massively over the years. She has been a huge part of my life. She is the organiser of the Joe Callaghan CCE Saturday Music Club in Edgeworthstown and she asked me to teach classes in piano and traditional singing a couple of years ago, something I enjoy so much. I have a singing student qualified to compete in the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil this weekend, and a dance student competing in the All-Ireland Community Games competition.
All of my family are members of Joe Callaghan CCÉ, Edgeworthstown, and my 4 brothers all play music. We have all competed in the Fleadh Cheoil over the years (I won an All-Ireland medal in Traditional Singing a number of years ago). In fact, my brother Ciarán, is competing in U18 Fiddle in the All Ireland Fleadh Cheoil this weekend.
Desmond 'Dessie' Rynn has helped and encouraged me the most in recent times helping me record a cover for my FB Music page. We are recording another song at the moment. That first cover on my Facebook page was a huge help to me. Dessie has encouraged and taken singers and musicians under his wing over the years and helped them with their music careers. He is such a kind and generous man.
In terms of college, the first year I did Applied Languages and Translation Studies including French and Spanish, but after a year, I left that. I was afraid to do music. I had this fear it would become a chore, if I studied it. But after a year of doing something I didn't particularly love, I started music the following year in St. Pat’s in Drumcondra. In my second year now. I will never see the first year as a waste, but it taught me a lesson, a real valuable lesson, stick with music, it’s all I ever wanted to do. I had the privilege of being taught by John Buckley my Composition Lecturer. Amazing amazing Lecturer. He was a great help and would go the extra mile to help myself and others. Retired last year. He has composed almost 100 works that have been performed and broadcast in more than 50 countries worldwide. I have been part of DCU Dance Society in College the past 2 years. I actually choreographed ballet pieces two years in a row for the All Ireland Dance Experiment in the Helix in Dublin.
I have been writing music a long time, but only recently played in front of crowds.
I don’t know how he heard of me, but Chef Martin O’Connor asked me to sing at a Wine & Dine event in Ardagh Heritage & Creativity Centre. I sang a few covers and for the first time in public, one of my own songs. After I had sung my own song, people at the Wine & Dine event encouraged me to sing more of my own music. That was a great moment for me, very affirming, gave me great confidence. I’ll never forget. I don't write songs often, just when a notion comes to me or something inspires me. I could write a song in an hour.
Another personal confidence boost was when I was asked to sing at several 1916 events last year, including one in Pearse Park, the opening of the Memorial garden here in Longford Town (opposite County Council offices), a memorial event in Ballinalee, and Longford Library. I even sang for an international delegation meeting at Kiernan Milling in Granard!
Music and dance are a huge part of my life. It would be nice to teach music at primary level but also at secondary level as I think I would get more out of it.
Ever since I was a little girl I always wanted to be a singer, my advice to any and everybody would be to Go with what you love, and everything else will all fall into place. Just keep pushing yourself.
Aoife certainly has super talent and will go far, because of that and her drive and focus, and hard work studying. to describe her music, certainly has depth and background in traditional. but I think of katie melua, hints of jazzy bluesy, more bluesy. Talent nobody can deny. I think we will all be hearing more of this young lady in the future.
I asked her of any experience , and advice to others she said ‘’Go with what you love and all will fall inot place, just keep working hard’’