Describing his location on The Ryan Tubridy Show, Patrick Dexter drew a very compelling picture of his surroundings in the west of Ireland:
“I’m looking out across Clew Bay, I’m looking at Croagh Patrick, I’m on the north side of Clew Bay in a small town called Newport and here we have to our west, Achill Island, Clare Island, and in front of me, Croagh Patrick and the islands, the hundreds of islands of Clew Bay and all around me is the north Mayo hills, the mountains of Mayo.”
And to top it all off, the sun was shining. Ryan was almost ready to pack his bags, plead special circumstances to be allowed break his 5km limit and travel west to visit Patrick in his cottage on the idyllic setting of Clew Bay. Patrick lives there with his wife and their new-born baby daughter. Originally from Dublin, the 31-year-old has no plans to be anywhere else but where he is right now:
“This is my end destination. I’m happy to live the rest of my life here. It’s a place where I’ve found happiness, peace, tranquillity… My heart, where I feel I belong, is definitely here on the west coast.”
Patrick comes from a musical family. His father is a musician and all seven children were given musical instruments when they were old enough to hold them. His two elder sisters got violins and Patrick – number 3 – got a cello and his love of the instrument is evident from the way he describes its qualities to Ryan:
“The cello is so special to me. I really think it is an instrument that has such a close connection with our humanity, you know, it’s so closely linked to the human voice, the expression in it for me has always felt – both listening to and to make the sound – has felt so very, very human.”
Patrick got the cello at age 6 or 7 and it’s been part of his life ever since and during lockdown 1 last year, he started making videos of himself playing music on the cello outside the cottage and sharing them online.
“I started to share regular, every day – mostly – of me playing music outside my cottage, videoing it on social media and there was this huge wall of response from around the world that I could have never expected. People being really so complimentary and in love with both the music and the landscape here and encouraging me and wanting me to continue.”
Ryan wanted to know how Patrick picks the music he plays in his social media videos. Patrick told him that he’s interested in a wide variety of musical genres and styles. But the key draw for Patrick is the sense of a personal connection to a piece of music:
“Usually it’s to do with something that connected with me when I was growing up, but it could be just a certain time in my life.”
Following his chat with Ryan, Patrick will be going outside in the Mayo sunshine to record a piece of music called The Swan from The Carnival of the Animals by a French composer called Camille Saint-Saëns. It’s a favourite of his baby daughter’s. So, Clew Bay in the sunshine? Check. Instrument that you love? Check. Appropriate knitwear? Check. Pretty remarkable way to make your way through lockdown? Check, check check.
To hear full chat between Ryan and Patrick Dexter, including detailed discussion of the importance of wearing the correct knitwear when you’re playing music outdoors, go here.
Niall Ó Sioradáin
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