Clonmel is set to join the 'hit factory club'

Cork singer John Spillane to launch Clonmel busking song

Eamon Lacey


Eamon Lacey



“Tell my friends that I am well, playing music in Clonmel,” Cork troubadour John Spillane proudly sings as he celebrates his long association with the town of Clonmel through the busking festival and decades of gigging in the area.
This year that special relationship between the ‘hit factory’ specialist John Spillane and Clonmel will be further enhanced as the town will feature on his eagerly awaited new album 100 Snow White Horses which was inspired by his travels around Ireland.
The above lyric is included in one of the best songs on the new album, “Molly Bawn” a song that John Spillane hopes will become synonymous with Clonmel and Tipperary. The song will be accompanied with a video in which he collaborates with local musician and artist Des Dillon.
The Molly Bawn video was filmed on various locations in the town last summer when restrictions had been lifted.
The video features the Blueway, Dowd’s Lane,St Patrick’s Well and Mulcahy Park and was produced by Myles O ’Reilly.
It is a  humorous song that tells the story of a young busker arriving in Clonmel and falling for the charms of another busker called Molly Bawn.
Their fun relationship entails having a few glasses of cider in the Vale of Honey and having a good time while attending the busking festival in the town. 
“It is a fun song with a lot of references to Clonmel and Tipperary. I think it is a song that could put Clonmel on the map. I think Clonmel could claim ownership of the song and it could enter the repertoire of great Tipperary songs. It is a very radio friendly song. It captures the spirit of Clonmel and the busking festival, and hopefully it will become known as the big Clonmel song,” said John.
Having a song that people will immediately associate with the town of Clonmel is a gift that John Spillane is delighted to offer to mark his association with the town and he welcomes the support given by Tipperary County Council which enabled him to engage the services of Myles O’Reilly to shoot the video.
Spillane has been a mainstay of the busking festival since it started in Clonmel. His friend Liam Condon got him involved in the busking festival and he set the Cork man the challenge of writing a song about Clonmel.
Spillane warmed to the task and came up with a lovely humorous song entitled Molly Bawn.
He went to London to record the album before Christmas and has received a great feedback from colleagues, who all tell him that Molly Bawn will be the big hit off it.
The songs on the album are full of poetry , Irish mythology, melody and wonder and the album has a fairytale feel of fantasy and enjoyment.
“I have a great affinity with Clonmel, and I love going up there. I was writing songs about different places for TG4 and that is where the idea came from. I wrote Molly Bawn about three years ago and I put it on my new album to come out later this year. There has been a very positive response to it from anybody who has heard it,” said John.
Clonmel artist Des Dillon said he was delighted to work with John Spillane and Myles O’Reilly in the making of the video for Molly Bawn.
“I first met John at a concert in Monroe a few years ago and he saw the puppets perform there. John asked me to work with him for the video that was being made around Clonmel and I really enjoyed the experience,” said Des.
“I enjoyed John's company, he is so excited about music, songs and storytelling. There is a constant stream of creativity coming through him and I was happy to work with him,” said Des.
“When Myles started his first piece of filming down at the Old Bridge, he asked myself and John to start doing something. So John took out his guitar from it’s case and started singing the song and I had secretly learned the air of the song on my harmonica. So I took out my harmonica and joined John ,and I felt something very special happening between the three of us and I knew from that moment it was going to be an amazing few days,” said Des.
“What I love about Molly Bawn is that it was inspired by Clonmel and the busking festival, with subtle nods to Bulmers and Slievemon and it’s chorus has a dreamy feel that invokes lovely imagery that can help the listener create their own story,” said Des.
“Having seen the final film I was delighted to see how Myles had captured the beauty of the country side around Clonmel and of the town itself. Within this special place, he also managed to capture the relationship between the singer and the song, between the puppeteer and the puppet and between the performer and the audience in such a magical way,” said Des.
100 Snow White Horses will be released in April by John Spillane.