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Pat Ryan, originally from Kildare, who says living on the west coast has given him a new lease of life.

Pat Finds His Wings On The West Coast

A MILTOWN Malbay resident who swapped his native Kildare for the banner county has described how the move opened up a whole new life for him.
Pat Ryan, originally from Kildare town, has lived in Clare for four years with his wife, Geraldine. Now in his early sixties, Pat says life on the west coast has given him a new lease of life and has led to the creation of new business enterprises and an unexpected venture into the world of songwriting. “I’ve been coming to Clare since I was about 17. I loved it, and through the years, despite travelling a fair bit, I was always drawn back to Clare. We have had a journey over the years by virtue of life’s ups and downs. Since we married, we have moved 11 times.
“We moved to Ennistymon in October 2017 then in February 2020, we moved to Miltown Malbay to a house with a bit more room.”
Pat says the strong community spirit he has encountered has been a massive part of the appeal of life here for himself and Geraldine.
“The people, the wildness, the music, the sea, the friends. All of these are equally important. We met Sinead Garvey at the Cheese Press in Ennistymon, who introduced herself to us and gave us a coffee to welcome us to the town. “That weekend we went to Cooley’s House, and there we met Joan, who welcomed us with open arms. Joan said to me if I need to use the Wi-Fi here while we are waiting to be connected, that we were free to come in anytime.
“At the time, I was still commuting to work at Coca-Cola in Athy and staying over twice a week. My heart would beat closer on arriving back into County Clare. I felt I was coming home. Geraldine and I would go out to music sessions several nights a week and we got to know all the musicians who welcomed us every time. I know more people here and have more friends here than all the other places I’ve lived in combined.”
Music has always been a massive part of life for Pat. He was an early fan of artists and bands such as Christy Moore, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Rory Gallagher, Planxty, the Beatles, and John Lennon, and although he didn’t play an instrument or sing himself, he always felt drawn to music.
It’s no surprise that his daughter Sara would go on to become a well-known singer, songwriter and musician, her work influenced in large parts by her visits to Clare.
In supporting Sara’s journey to release her first album, Pat saw firsthand the challenges artists face regarding music management, finance, administration. He had a background in operations, business, and production processes and saw an opportunity for how he might be able to help.
“There’s the whole world of music copyright and royalties and registration with agencies such as IMRO, RAAP, and PPI and ensuring artists are getting the money that is due to them.
“Then the challenges with music distribution on platforms such as Bandcamp and Spotify. It can sometimes be daunting for musicians, so I figured I’m jumping in and see if I could help.”

“When everything was removed, I saw what was important in life. I stopped making plans for the long term learned to appreciate the now. So it’s a case of living for each day and being grateful for what we have.”

This led to Pat establishing Pat Ryan Music Services, a growing enterprise supporting artists throughout Ireland.
He also went on to join up with well-known musician and Clare FM radio presenter Eoin O’Neill to establish Anam Music to offer intimate gigs for music lovers.
“The Anam adventure has been incredible. It’s like a dream come true. We’ve organised dozens of gigs and hosted artists including Mick Flannery, John Spillane, Daoiri Farrell, Mundy, Steo Wall, Anne Kirrane, Pauline Scanlon, Mary Coughlan, Vickie Keating, and Declan Sinnott.
“We have Susan O’Neill, The Walls, and others on the cards when things open up. The response has been incredible. People are hungry for music but especially music to be presented in a good family-friendly listening environment.”
Although Covid restrictions have put Anam gigs on pause, for now, that hasn’t stopped Pat. While busy with the artist administration work, he has also been hosting online courses and events, including a recent songwriting workshop with John Spillane, something he hopes to repeat in the near future.
“Obviously, we’d love to be meeting up in person, but it’s incredible how well things can work online. People have gotten an awful lot out of these songwriting workshops, including me.”
It was on a previous workshop in Doolin that Pat’s songwriting passions were stirred. “I had always wondered about songwriting but I never knew if it would be possible for me.”
Lo and behold, this was to open up a new world for Pat. “The creative door opened, and I found myself walking through to see what was on the other side. One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I was in Rob Wedgbury’s Wild Way Recording collaborating with my daughter Sara and her partner, Kealan Kenny. We ended up recording my song ‘Uniforms’ which is a reflection on the world today and how with all the non-conformity that goes on, we’re often conforming to ways of being that don’t suit us. It’s hard to find your way in life, but I’m glad to say I’m finally getting there, in large part thanks to life in Clare”.
While Covid has presented challenges for artists and aspects of Pat’s work, he says it’s important to keep perspective. “I live where I can walk and breathe in the sea every day and do not take anything for granted. I have huge respect for all the people working in hospitals, nursing homes, and in supermarkets and shops, often on very low pay.
I’m keen to get our gigs back up and running but at the same time I think we just need to do what we can do to keep ourselves and each other safe.”
As to his plans for the future, Pat says he has no long-term plans and is taking life one day at a time.
“I’ve become very aware of my age, and although I’m not old, I reflect on where I’ve been, what has happened along the way, and where I am today.
“Our son David and his fiancée Claire have given us a granddaughter Sophia. I want to show her sunsets in Clare. And to let her see the sea and hear the music.
“I remember once being told, “you are the most driven man I know.” I thought this was a great compliment until I realised that it was a dreadful trait.
“When everything was removed, I saw what was important in life. I stopped making plans for the long term learned to appreciate the now. So it’s a case of living for each day and being grateful for what we have.”

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