Christy Moore reveals Waterford link in personal and revealing interview
Legendary folk singer and musician Christy Moore revealed his links to Waterford in what might be his most personal and revealing interview yet on Ruairí McKiernan’s Love and Courage podcast.
In the interview, which is available online for free, Christy reveals how his parents first met in Waterford. He also discusses the childhood loss of his father, the joy he has found in sobriety, and his views on songs, spirituality and politics.
“My father joined the Irish Army in 1939 and he was on manoeuvres down in Waterford. At this stage, Mammy was working in a hotel in Tramore called The Majestic and that's where they met up and they got married two years later and I was the first of six born to Andy Moore and Nancy Power," he explained.
He goes on to say the death of his father at an early age had a profound impact on him and his siblings and says it wasn't until he became a parent himself that it really struck him.
“I was driving down the road one day and my eleven-year-old son was in the back seat of the car and I looked in the mirror and I saw him and suddenly it dawned on me the effect it would have on him now at this moment, if he was told what I was told when I was eleven. And it really hit home. That thing hit home to me that day, even though it was many, many years on.”
“It was a shocking experience and it affected us all in different ways and I believe all six of us are still affected by it, you know, by the impact that had on our lives,” he says, speaking of the impact his father’s death had on his brothers and sisters.
He says the awareness of his mother’s struggle as a lone parent with six children helped him realise the need for greater understanding and support for people in need.
“You know, I was blessed to grow up in a strong family environment and even though we lost our daddy when I was eleven and the eldest of six and the family was shattered by that, we still grew up in a loving, caring environment, you know. And unfortunately, not everybody has that privilege.”
Moore isn’t a fan of the politics that talks about prioritising the needs of people ‘who get out of bed early in the morning’.
“There are many who've no reason to get out of bed, I suppose. People living in depression and people living in need and in want.”
On the subject of sobriety, his time as a drinker as part of the 70s folk scene is well known and he says his current life of sobriety as a “wonderful thing”.
“I know it took me a few years to come into the light. I can still remember the first time I ever walked out on stage without alcohol or any other substance and it was, for me in my life, it was quite an amazing moment cos for many years I thought I couldn't do anything without those crutches.”
When it comes to speaking out, Christy Moore has never shied away from the issues of the day, standing behind the Birmingham 6, the Stardust fire families, and campaigns against fracking, racism, and homelessness. He describes how he has received hate mail in the past but that he embraces criticism as part of the work of being an artist.
“Ann Lovett caused a lot of hate mail, you know. Not a deluge but it certainly did rattle, you know. But that's okay. I have to say that that doesn't bother me. There was a time it used to scare me a bit but now it means it's working, you know. The songs are working if people love them and hate them. They're living. They're alive. They're not just meaningless.”
Growing up near the Curragh in Kildare and spending time with family and neighbours on farms and bogs inspired a young Christy with a love of nature, something that shines through in many of his songs. He says he increasingly concerned about the state of the planet and is determined to do more to act.
“We seem to be able to disregard it. I mean, we see the fires in California and it's kind of disregarded. It's seen as a terrible tragedy and God love those poor people but not why is it happening. The way the weather is changing, you know. There are voices out there and we listen and then we go out and buy a new flat-screen television and a new car and everything has to be quadruply wrapped in plastic and on we go."
"I'm not a very good warrior in the ecological movement. I sing about it and I talk about it but I hope I can do better. I hope I can do more. On the back of this, I'm going to do better. On the back of this conversation on this day, I'm going to do better. I'm going to do less plastic."
You can listen to Ruairí McKiernan’s full 1-hour interview with Christy Moore for free on the Love and Courage podcast. Find it on Spotify, iTunes, Soundcloud or via www.loveandcourage.org.