Trad/punk Irish folk duo Ispíní na hÉireann (Tomás Mulligan and Adam J. Holohan) have released their debut album, The Hardworking Men. We asked them the BIG questions . . .
During a trip to Slovakia in 2017, banjo player Adam J. Holohan and guitar player Tomás Mulligan discovered how much they enjoyed playing with each other, shortly after they decided to form a band.
One day, while sitting at the bar of the famous Cobblestone Pub in Smithfield Square Dublin, drinking the strongest accidentally created ale the Four Provinces Brewery had to offer, they decided upon a name; Ispíní na hÉireann, and thus the 'Sausages of Ireland' were born.
"We are Ispíní na hÉireann, the Hardest Working Band in all of the Land," they say. "For those who don’t know yet, that means The Sausages of Ireland, and we’re called so because we are the slippiest, greasiest dogs going."
Speaking about The Hardworking Men, they say, "This album is a combination of original songs and reimagined covers of songs and tunes from the Irish tradition.
"There is subtext, commentary, and method to all of the madness, which we are leaving open to the interpretation of the listener. It is up to you to decide whether or not this is all waffle, or if there is deeper meaning among all this noise.
"All art is open to interpretation, and we are excited to find out how this speaks to you."
Tell us three things about yourself . . .
I come from a musical family, with the instrumental tradition mostly coming from my father's side and the singing and story-telling traditions coming from my mother's side. I am a qualified history and politics teacher at secondary level. I am actually taller than John Francis Flynn, he just insists on standing significantly closer to the camera whenever we have our picture take together.
How would you describe your music?
I think I'd get rinsed out of it if I referred to it as traditional Irish music, however that would be our biggest influence. So, I could describe it as an infusion of trad/punk Irish folk music mixed with a barrel of madness.
Who are your musical inspirations?
The Dubliners, The Pogues, Pat Goode, Mick O'Grady, Micil Quinn, Sean Tyrell, Christy Moore, Planxty, The Wolfe Tones, Lankum, Sean Garvey, The Deadlians, D'Unbelievables, The Rubberbandits, Steve Earle, Guy Clark, The Scratch, Skipper's Alley, The Len Collective.
What was the first gig you ever went to?
I snuck into the Phoenix Park in 2004 to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
What was the first record you ever bought?
With my own money, I bought a bootleg Best of Nirvana album for about €3 in Greece on a school trip in 2003. I think the first album on tape I ever owned was B*Witched when I was eight.
What’s your favourite song right now?
Another Round by The Scratch.
Favourite lyric of all time?
"Sliabh Gullion stands beside you, like a father with his son, and the sun slips off behind you when the harvest day is done" from a song my grandfather Micil Quinn wrote called Cowan Mountain. He wrote it about the mountain he grew up on, it stands beside the tallest mountain in Armagh, Sliabh Gullion, and it’s a line that, whenever it is sang, gives me a sense of him watching over us. I wouldn't be a particularly spiritual person, but it's nice to find that feeling in music.
If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
There's a song called Ringing that Bell by Rob Corcoran that Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin does a mighty cover of with his Concertina that I could listen to until the lights go out.
Where can people find your music/more information?
Our song Talk to Joe is available on Bandcamp and on Spotify. Our debut album The Hardworking Men is out on all platforms.