What do Katie Taylor, Padraig Harrington, Muhammad Ali, the Queen, Barack Obama, and the Dalai Lama all have in common? Answer; they have all been immortalised in song by the singing banker Dermot Kelly.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny may have commended Dermot on his musical tribute to Olympic golden girl, Katie Taylor, but Dermot’s biggest concern was the reaction of Taylor herself.
“Having written it, I wasn’t sure whether she liked it or not. When the [book] signing came about in O’Mahony’s I went in trepidation, I was getting a few books signed for the grandchildren.
“I said Katie, I’m the fellow who wrote the song about you. She said it was lovely. That was one of the biggest thrills I got in my life and I’ve had lots of thrills,” he said.
Dermot was impressed by a speech the Taoiseach made when he was presenting Taylor with her Irish sportsperson of the year award.
“He made a speech that night and it really was terrific. It was outstanding so I sent him on a CD.”
The Taoiseach in a hand written letter to Dermot described his song as “a work of merit”.
“He’s an honest man, he took the trouble of writing the letter to me personally.” said Dermot.
Dermot may be retired from the bank but singing remains a huge part of his life. A member of Limerick’s 1955 All-Ireland hurling final winning team, the legendary Mackey’s greyhounds, he has over ten songs uploaded on Youtube from the classic Limerick My Home to Katie Taylor - The Ballad.
His writing talents take inspiration from a variety of world figures: “I did one recently on the Queen, Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama,” said Dermot, who still awaiting the royal seal of approval.
“When Muhammad Ali came to Ennis, I wrote a song about him coming. And probably the most famous song I’ve wrote is about Joseph McHugh’s pub in Liscannor. The stuff has been on Youtube about two years now and to begin with Mohammad had streaked ahead.
“Now Mohammad Ali is around 7,100 views and Joe McHugh has 7,600. He’s past out Ali,” he laughed.
Another one of those thrills he talks about took place just a couple of weeks ago in a pub after Munster’s defeat of Racing Metro.
“Who had we in our company but Paul O’Connell and Michael Flatley. I sang The Boys From The Yellow Road and I got a colossal reception for it.”
Dermot sure has packed a lot into his 80 years with the hurling triumph of 1955 being a particular highlight. When asked about this year’s crop of county hurlers he is optimistic:
“The [Limerick] trainer said it is a bit ridiculous to ask people to hurl in winter and I agree with him wholeheartedly. Now the team is a bit scattered, some are in college and the like but I prefer to think back on their performance in the championship last year which I thought was good.
“When the fine weather comes and the ball is like a tennis ball and the fields are like golf courses, it’s a different game altogether.”
Prompted to remember the achievement of 1955 he retorted: “Who told you about that.” He then recounted a story of how when he was transferred in 1957, to a bank in Clare. Limerick were the heavy favourites for the 1955 final. He was accosted by a native in the pub, who said: “You were never any good before or after (1955),” laughed Dermot modestly.