Musician, broadcaster and Hot House Flower Fiachna Ó Braonáin admits he only has time for an occasional read, but when he is on tour, his literary passions come alive.

From James Joyce to Joseph O'Connor, Fiachna shares how reading on the tour bus provided much-welcomed inspiration….

"These days, most of my time is spent either reading background information on the music I play on air or reading my kids' schoolwork at home, so I am more of an occasional reader. Most of my reading has been done when on tour…


"The first book that inspired me was James Joyce’s Ulysses. I tackled Ulysses to propel myself into the literary world after a prolonged period of very little reading, I thought I would just jump in at the deep end! I was on tour with Michelle Shocked in the mid-nineties and that involved lengthy spells of travelling around America, and Ulysses provided me with great company, even if at times the conversation the book was having with me was incomprehensible!

"Secondly, Joseph O’Connor's Star Of The Sea was one of those books I could not put down. Its personification of the West of Ireland man was so detailed and evocative that I fell deeply into it. The line where he describes the main character’s journey across the Atlantic in the famine ship "with only one screaming seagull for company" floored me, so much so that I stole it for my song Bottle of Rum (listen below). I met Joseph in New York some years after writing the song and sang it to him on a park bench and thankfully got his nod of approval!

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Julia Cameron’s The Artist's Way taught me many practical creative life lessons and Eckhart Tolle’s The Power Of Now also did so, especially during transitory and difficult times.

"Creativity occurs in the moment, and in the moment we are timeless"

Julia Cameron, The Artist's Way 


I return to writers more than books, and Joseph O’Connor again stands out. I am currently reading Shadowplay and, although I am barely a few chapters in, I am totally hooked… Now all I need is a world tour!

Fiachna’s EP Winter Sun (which features Bottle of Rum mentioned above) is available for stream or purchase on and of course you can join him on Late Date on RTÉ Radio One.