CHANCES are you could bump into Tommy Tiernan over the next few weeks. The Navan comic kicks off his world tour of Clare in Killaloe on Thursday and Tiernan likes nothing better than hitting the highways and byways of the Irish countryside. “I like to go for big walks in a county,” he says ahead of his seven-gig tour of Clare this month.
Tiernan has been a regular visitor to Clare over his hugely successful career as a stand-up comedian. And the prospect of discovering more of the county is one he relishes.
Tiernan says, “I’ve never done a world tour of the county. I’ve done shows in Lisdoonvarna and Ennis before but I’ve never camped out for two weeks in the county. Clare has a great reputation. I remember saying to someone before that Clare always seemed a little bit more Connacht than Munster. I don’t know what that is. Munster should start at Limerick really! It’s too high up the coast to belong to Munster. With the reputation that ye have for music and lunacy and with the long summer evenings coming, I’m especially looking forward to this world tour.”
He continues, “The reputation you have for being slightly wild, it’s one of the most independent counties we have in Ireland. Ye’re very self-assured and convinced of your own uniqueness! It’s a great privilege to be able to do something like this, to spend a fortnight traipsing around from town to town.”
Tiernan has been doing world tours of Irish counties for the past two years. The idea of taking his show to as many nooks and crannies as possible chimes with Tiernan’s wandering spirit.
He says, “The first time I heard the phrase was probably Billy Connolly’s World Tour of Scotland. I’m very attracted to Ireland, all the different parts of it, all the different characteristics that different places would have. The idea of going to small towns and bringing the shows really interested me. I’m more excited about Clare than I would be about touring Australia or England.”
Tiernan has been packing out Irish venues for over a decade now. Times have certainly changed since Tiernan’s career went supernova in the heady days of the Celtic Tiger. In these tough economic times, the father of six gets the feeling that audiences view laughing as a form of relief.
He says, “I certainly have a larger appreciation for seeing people laugh and the feeling I get from it is that it’s relished more now than it was maybe back in the day when we all had loads of money. It was just seen as a product and there was lots of choice. Now it’s more of a treat. It’s more unusual. I don’t know how many acts are touring. If a big enough act is touring Ireland, they would probably just do Killarney, maybe the Traveller’s Friend in Castlebar, places like that. They wouldn’t normally go to places like Kilkee or Miltown Malbay.”
Tiernan adds, “I got it in Vicar Street most recently, there’s a kind of an appreciation for the relief that laughter brings. I think people thought of it as being slightly more disposable during the Celtic Tiger. It was just another option of availing of rather than something that had a huge value in itself. I definitely get the sense that people are relieved and delighted to be laughing.”
A sense he’s sure to get again in Clare over the next week.
Tommy Tiernan performs at the following venues in Clare:
21-Jun Lakeside Hotel, Killaloe;
22-Jun Oakwood Arms Hotel, Shannon;
23-Jun The Pavilion, Lisdoonvarna;
24-Jun Armada Hotel, Spanish Point, Miltown Malbay;
28-Jun Stella Maris Hotel, Kilkee;
29-Jun West County Hotel, Ennis;
30-Jun Bunratty Castle Hotel, Bunratty