27th Jan 2023
Come take a trip around Mullingar's must-visits with musician and author Bressie.
Home is… Mullingar.
Where was your first home outside of your childhood home?
What was your first job?
My first job was basically scraping shit off a path on a farm.
What’s your favourite memory in your county?
My favourite memory in my county was quite recent actually it was the Fleadh in Mullingar, it’s a traditional music festival that’s on every year that is absolute carnage, it’s amazing.
Where do you go to let your hair down?
Where I got to let my hair down is generally music festivals. I find the escape of them, the hedonism quite important in life. We need to go to music festivals and not worry about anything for a while.
If you could buy any building in your county, which would it be?
There’s a house beside Lough Ennell where I’m from that I love. I’ve always wanted to live by the lake and this house is the house I’ve always wanted to live in but no one will ever sell it and it’s my dream home.
What’s your favourite hotel in your county?
My favourite hotel is probably Wineport Lodge in Athlone.
What are your favourite local shops?
Galvin in Mullingar is a clothes shop that I go to, it’s owned by a friend of mine.
What makes someone a Westmeather?
Their accent, generally. Mullingar has an awful lot of musicians. A lot of musicians have come out of Mullingar, I don’t know what it is about the town but music seems to be at the core of it.
Who is the most iconic person from your county?
God, there’s so many. Niall Horan. Michael O’Leary. Joe Dolan was the original icon of Westmeath. And Niamh Algar, a big actress at the moment from Mullingar, she’s absolutely flying. So there’s quite a few, more from Mullingar than from Athlone, Robbie Henshaw would be the Athlone one.
My favourite pub in my county would probably be Caffreys Bar in Mullingar.
Favourite coffee shop in your county?
What’s your favourite Irish work of art?
Who’s your Irish hero?
I have so many of them – John O’Donoghue.
Favourite way to spend a day in your county?
I actually love cycling the Greenway, it brings you to all the lakes. So if you have a day just to go and take it in, it’s a very quiet county. I’m getting old so I seek out old things.
Best meal you’ve had in your county?
My mum’s meal of any description. She raised me on tinned meatballs and ravioli.
The best walk in your county?
What’s your county’s secret?
North Westmeath. It’s just one of the most beautiful parts of Ireland, it’s untouched and it’s a very special place, with a lot of ancient history. And I suppose the Hill of Uisneach would be the biggest untouched but beautiful place.
What’s the best club in Ireland you have ever been to?
Any great club I went to I can’t really remember but I think probably The Palace on Camden Street in its heyday.
What’s most exciting Irish plan you have coming up?
I’m working on a documentary at the moment that kind of brings all my passions and puts them into one thing, which is just, I love that stuff. I love deep diving into something and pulling a thread and seeing what comes. And I’m doing that at the moment and I just love it.
My favourite thing about Ireland is…
My favourite thing about Ireland is the sense of fairness that Irish people seem to have. I think when you break us all down no matter what, I think we believe in that fairness. I think it’s something that I’ve always noticed in Irish people, that most of us don’t like unfairness.
What are you up to with work at the moment?
At the moment I am about to go back to studying, back into academia. So at work, I’m just trying to get as much work in as I can so I can dedicate the next five years of my life to education again, and also music is always a big part of my life. My job is creativity, whatever that might be – books, music, podcasting, I don’t care, that’s my job. I’ve also teamed up with Specsavers to encourage children across Ireland to take part in the Specsavers Short Story competition ahead of the An Post Irish Book Awards.
This article was originally published in November 2022