‘This has been a very special project for me’

From 1916 to 2016: Carn singer-songwriter Kate O'Callaghan launches her latest album this weekend.

From 1916 to 2016: Carn singer-songwriter Kate O’Callaghan launches her latest album this weekend.

Carn singer-songwriter traces family history in 1916 concept album


An Inishowen singer- songwriter explores her family history and its connection to the Easter Rising in a new 1916 concept album, due for release this weekend.

Kate O’Callaghan, from Carn, has spent more than six months recording ‘The Girl With The Beret’, a collection of songs inspired by her great-grand aunt Catherine Byrne and her role in the Rising.

Relying largely on family testimony and witness statements from the Bureau of Military History, O’Callaghan weaves the story of her young aunt – a member of Cumann na mBan and the first woman to enter the GPO – with the turbulent events of 1916 Dublin.

One hundred years on, O’Callaghan is proud to revisit her family’s past in ‘The Girl With The Beret’, which features the Donegal Camerata String Ensemble as well as musicians, Seamus Devenny, Tim Jarvis, Declan McClafferty, Martin Smyth, Kevin Murphy and Paul Devenny.

“The album has been a very special project for me as it is inspired by my great-grand aunty Katy and her family, the Byrnes, who lived through the Rebellion and the War of Independence.”

“I have heard many stories about her involvement in the Rising and the years that followed and have always been fascinated with this part of my family history.”

The mother-of-two, who holds a doctorate in biology, is originally from Dublin but relocated to Inishowen more than ten years ago after meeting husband-to-be Seamus Devenny, from Carn, while studying at NUI Maynooth.

The move north inadvertently kickstarted O’Callaghan’s career in music, bringing with it a debut EP in 2010 and a first full-length album – ‘The Still Beyond’ – three years later.

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Donna Roddy