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Meltdown of a tour guide

JACK Walsh brings his one man show Welcome to Ireland: Meltdown of an Irish Tour Guide to glór on July 25.
Over the years Jack has appeared on hit shows like Killinascully and Kin, but the show tells the story of a stressful time in his life, when he was working but facing homelessness.
“It’s basically a dramatised version of part of my own life. I’m an actor and have been for decades. About ten years ago I was happily divorced, so to speak, and like many divorced men I was living in private rented accommodation.
“I realised that with the rent going up and up I was going to have to do something to add to my acting income. Acting income, it’s great when it arrives, but you can’t depend on it always. I started tour guiding, I did a Fáilte Ireland training course and everything.
“Actors are great at telling stories so it was a natural fit. But then I realised I was selling Ireland as this lovely country, which it is, with lovely people, which we are, but I was having trouble keeping a roof over my head. So I decided to write a show about it and this is it.”
While the subject matter is quite serious, he feels the show is fun too.
“There’s a lot of laughs in it, it’s very entertaining, but it makes its point as well. Audiences have really enjoyed it here in Dublin.”
Promoting a very positive image of his own country while feeling like it didn’t care about him or others like him was a strange place to be.
“I was selling Brand Ireland to tourists from far and wide, telling stories of ceol agus craic, and I was also facing eviction from my Capel Street flat as the rent was going up. Feeling that I was caught, and I didn’t know what to do. You’ve two sides of the coin. I’m selling Ireland, quite happy to, but then I realise maybe Ireland has no place for me. I was a man in my 60s, getting older, and I wasn’t on the housing ladder. I was really stuck.
“How do you make an entertaining, funny, show out of that, while making the point that it shouldn’t be the case?
“Also so many people are having to emigrate because they can’t see a way of getting on the housing ladder. I ask why people fought and died for Ireland, so we could have better lives, but still things are very difficult for a lot of people. Trying to do that with humour and perception.”
The show is 65 minutes long, and combines social commentary while amusing the audience.
“Theatre should be about questioning stuff as well, not just about entertaining. But if you can ask questions while entertaining, all the better.”
In advance of the show he is reluctant to say how things worked out. “I tell the story at the end of the show as to what happened, but I’m still alive! It’s an entertaining show of survival.”

Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

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