Singer/songwriter, recording artist, storyteller and comedian, Cahal Dunne, has published a semiautobiographical book. Set in economically depressed 1970s Ireland, it is the coming-of-age tale of Dunne’s alter ego, Billy Golden. During this era there seemed few possibilities and little hope for Ireland’s younger generation, and, to the chagrin of Billy’s mother, he gives up the security of a teaching job to follow his heart into the music business. His six-man band wins the right to represent Ireland in the international Eurovision Song Contest, and his own song is watched on TV by over 500 million people — the chance of a lifetime. Billy and the band have hilarious journeys as they play in dance halls in Ireland and Europe in the waning days of the “show band” craze, and ultimately grow into one of the first ever “Celtic Rock” bands, thirty years before it became the rage on American college campuses.
Cahal will take us along on Billy Golden’ s colorful journey, weaving modern Irish history together with anecdotes and his experiences as he tells the story behind Put Yer Rosary Beads Away Ma (c. 2013). Cahal may even sing a song or two for us! Copies of his book will be available for signature and sale after the talk.
CAHAL DUNNE, “Ireland’s Happy Man,” has been a U.S.-based solo performer since the 1980s. Born in Cork (city), Ireland, he is the nephew of former Prime Minster of Ireland, Jack Lynch. Cahal received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University College of Cork. In that same year, he won first prize in the Castlebar Song Contest with his own song, “Shalom.” He represented Ireland in the Yamaha World Song Contest in Tokyo with another of his own songs, “Lover, Not Just a Wife.” With his winning song, “Happy Man,” he earned the right to represent Ireland at the 1979 International Eurovision Music Contest in Israel. The song became number one in Europe and Ireland with record sales topping the 250,000 marks. A recording artist with more than a dozen albums, he is best known for his renditions of traditional Irish songs and enjoys a busy travel and performance schedule. Cahal lives in Pittsburgh with his wife, Kathleen and son, Ryan.