Singer-songwriter Megan O'Neill, grew up in Ballymore Eustace and comes from a family of five children. She went to primary school in Ballymore and secondary school in Kilcullen. She now lives full-time in London and previously in the home of country music, Nashville. She is one of the UK’s most loved country music stars, and a rising star in Ireland. She has a new album coming out in June, and will be touring the US, UK and parts of Europe this Summer and Autumn.
WHAT IS YOUR FIRST KILDARE MEMORY?
I remember back when we first moved to Ballymore (I was 6 and we’d previously lived in Kilcullen and the Curragh) we had this makeshift waterslide out the back garden. It seemed massive at the time but it was probably pretty small in fairness. It was a giant piece of plastic going down a small hill with a hose at the top and we used to have so much fun just sliding down it all day in the summers! It’s the simple things in life!
DID YOU ENJOY GROWING UP IN KILDARE?
I loved it. My siblings and I spent so much time outdoors and in nature — before smartphones and Facebook! Thanks to my parents being absolute saints, I was involved in so many different things — horse riding, drama, singing, running, piano lessons, violin lessons, etc etc. I have so many happy memories of growing up in Kildare.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT THE COUNTY AND WHY?
It’s probably the people for me. I have great friends and great family in Kildare and I love the sense of community everywhere you go. It’s the people that make a place — not the other way around!
WHAT IS YOUR IDEA OF A PERFECT DAY OUT IN KILDARE?
Punchestown Races, always such a fun time.
WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST ABOUT HOME?
The peace and quiet of being in the countryside! I love going home and not being able to hear traffic or sirens or people outside my house. Also, you can’t always see the stars in London due to pollution so when I go home I appreciate breathing in clean air and being able to see the stars at night.
DO YOU EVER TAKE INSPIRATION FROM KILDARE FOR ANY OF YOUR MUSIC?
Absolutely! I actually wrote a song the other day about how much I miss home (it’s called Ireland). The lyrics are about how I’d still choose living in Ballymore over almost anywhere else in the world because for me, there’s no place like it.
WHAT DO YOU THINK GIVES KILDARE ITS UNIQUE IDENTITY?
We have so many great things in Kildare to celebrate and be proud of: Punchestown Racecourse, The Curragh, numerous stud farms, beautiful towns, great shopping and lovely forests and hiking. I myself grew up horse-riding and Kildare is definitely a great county for that — so maybe that’s our unique selling point! But I think there’s also a great sense of community everywhere you go in Kildare. I might be biased because it’s home for me but it really does feel that way.