IT has been a busy few years for Edendork native, Conleth McGeary, who recently returned to Dungannon for a special homecoming performance in the Square Box Theatre in Ranfurly House on the Hill of the O’Neill.
With support from local songwriter, Peter McKernan, Conleth – who has previously been described as the ‘Liverpool Irish Phenomenon’ – took to the stage with his band featuring Joseph Barenskie from Armagh and Danny Lawton from Liverpool for a special performance of self-penned songs celebrating what has already been an exciting career in music for the 28-year-old singer.
With a string of hit singles and successful tours under his belt, he has racked up hundreds and thousands of streams online and has some exciting plans for the future, but music isn’t the only thing that the Edendork man has successfully tried his hand at.
He also recently opened his own bar in Liverpool in February 2022, which he has named after his favourite song – and one he has recorded himself – ‘Beeswing’.
Located in the heart of Liverpool’s Smithdown Road – just a stone’s throw away from the iconic ‘Penny Lane’ that the Beatles once sang of – the Beeswing has been described as ‘Liverpool’s new live music hot spot’, and is a 10 minute walk away from where Conleth has firmly established himself as one of the biggest names on the Liverpool Irish Scene in the city at the popular Liffey Bar.
Currently residing between Liverpool and Dubai, Conleth’s recent home-coming tour saw him performing all over the country, taking to the stage in Dungannon, Derry, Belfast, Dublin and Newcastle.
Following yet another successful run of gigs, and with some exciting plans for the future, I caught up with Conleth following the recent tour to find out where it all began and what has brought him to where he is today.
“I started singing when I was in school at St Patrick’s College in Dungannon,” he explains.
“I took part in a few musicals when I was there and it helped me develop the bit of confidence to get on the stage.”
When asked about his first gig, Conleth recalled opening for Dungannon rock band ‘Louise’ around 2010 in the Dungannon venue ‘The Common Room’, of which has since sadly shut down.
This sidetracked our conversation a little, as a we spent some time discussing mutual fond memories of the iconic Dungannon venue – perhaps a different story for another time – but ultimately, we both came to the conclusion that a ‘Louise’ reunion gig is in order.
It has been nine years now since Conleth left his hometown for Liverpool.
He had, initially, intentions of studying to become a teacher, but, with a bit of stage time under his belt, it wouldn’t be long until he was singing full-time.
“While I was studying at University, I would sing regularly at the Liffey Bar, most notably their ‘Liffy Sundays’,” he recalled. “It was one of the biggest nights in Liverpool for the Irish, and as time went on, it would just get busier and busier.
“It felt a bit bizarre, to be honest; I couldn’t believe the crowds I was playing to.”
Kept busy with gigging and his studies, it wasn’t until 2017 that Conleth finally hit the recording studio.
He released a three track EP entitled ‘Conleth’, followed by a 2018 EP entitled ‘Conleth McGeary’ and has since had admirable success with a steady run of singles, including his latest release ‘Losing a Friend’, and 2022’s ‘Ireland’ which was described as ‘a song for Irish people all around the world who are missing home’.
“I’ve had many wonderful opportunities since releasing my music,” explains Conleth.
“Most notably, maybe, was getting to play with Aslan in Liverpool, as well as the Fureys.
“I also got to tour with UK with Tom Clarke of ‘The Enemy’, which was an incredible chance to showcase my music to larger audiences all over the UK.”
Conleth’s tour with Tom Clarke saw them performing to audiences throughout the likes of Cardiff, Sheffield, Glasgow, Leeds and Nottingham as part of the ‘We’ll Live and Die in These Towns’ tour.
Regarding what come next for the talented Edendork man, Conleth said, “I will be supporting the Coronas in Liverpool in October, with more news on that coming soon.
“I will also be heading out on my first headline UK tour this December, and again, there will be more news on that soon,” he said.
“However, I can confirm that I will be performing in the O2 Academy in Liverpool, and I fully intend to return to Belfast, with maybe even another visit home to Dungannon on the cards to wrap things up before Christmas.”
Conleth’s latest single, ‘Losing a Friend’, is available now on all major streaming platforms.
If you would like to follow Conleth on his journey, you can follow him on Instagram @conlethmcgeary.
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