Peadar Clancy

Poet and actor whose roots are woven firmly into the fabric of Limerick city

John Rainsford


John Rainsford

Peadar Clancy

Peadar Clancy

Born in the Maternity Hospital on the Ennis Road it was a great day for the parish.

Seriously, though, when speaking of parishes, my father’s family hail from St. Mary’s, with my grandfather Gerry ‘Riley’ Clancy being the last of the Abbey Fishermen. The Clancy family is, therefore, deeply embedded into the very fabric of Limerick City, our history being woven into it like the rivers running through it.

I went to school in JFK, back in the day when it was all prefabs, roaring and shouting.

There was nothing like a game of ball in the yard before school started, and there still isn’t. It was a catch-all school for the Ennis Road, Caherdavin, the North Circular Road, Moyross and ‘Balla’. That same schoolyard also provided me with a broader education about Limerick (respect will be met with respect and disrespect given short shrift). Indeed, you were absolutely shafted if you couldn’t take a joke. From there I went on to the Crescent Comprehensive where the Jesuit ethos was, and still is very strong. I made lasting friendships there, and I am grateful for them and to the school. At eighteen I figured that Limerick was best viewed over my shoulder and so I left for the National University of Ireland in Galway (NUIG), where I studied English Literature, and the Classics. Ten years later, I went back and graduated with a Master’s Degree in Screenwriting, from ‘The Huston’.

Always wanting to write I was never without a book in my hand, but I understood that it wasn’t easy being a poet, so I hid from it for a while.

A poet is really not something that you become, it is more something that you realise you have always been. As for acting, pretty much everything in life is a performance, the actor is just willing to admit that he’s lying to you, and if he (or she) is good enough, they’ll get you to forget it. There’s a great art in that, and much the same as dancing, the medium of the art is the person. There is no tool, or translation, just ‘the self’. That is hugely attractive.

My large extended family includes; artists, poets, writers, and musicians.

Indeed, my mother is a very fine artist in her own right. The education that my father gave me in classic cinema and ‘the Western’ in particular whetted my appetite for acting and filmmaking. If I get it right, I don’t make a distinction between my screen work and my writing, they both serve the same purpose and they both come from the same source. It’s easier to act, though, I will say that.

Father told me to do what I loved as a very young man, and that has pretty much been my guiding principle ever since.

However, while this is great for dinner party conversation, it is not so hot for bill paying. Regarding the future for artists in Ireland, I was more worried during the Celtic Tiger years. In my view Art does not thrive while nations grow fat. Famine, genocide, deforestation, and theft, have not curbed the will of our people to express themselves. So, I very much doubt that anything coming down the line will shut us up either.

In terms of getting into acting or performing I would encourage anybody who wants to express themselves to do just that.

Find your medium and dive right in. My own acting career has been sporadic, but rewarding. Most recently I worked on a video for Morrissey & Marshall, two fantastic Dublin musicians. They had a number one in Ireland with ‘Cold November Sunrise’ recently and are set to release a new album. Indeed, they will play Dolan’s in early September. I was fortunate enough to be invited to participate by my good friend and collaborator in film, James Skerritt. I owe a huge debt of thanks to him for giving me confidence in myself. Making films with him is like being John McEnroe’s doubles partner – you can’t lose. My future, today, is as much behind the scenes as it is in them. Limerick has some fantastic actors who freely give great advice. For example, Zeb Moore is an inspiring character and the Richard Harris Film Festival (RHFF) is an unbelievable opportunity for any aspiring filmmakers to go and talk to such people. So, would be filmmakers in Limerick, get to the RHFF this year and don’t be shy.

Over the course of the past year I have been involved in Thursday’s Kid, a session I run in Charlie Malone’s pub every week with my good pal, Patrick McMahon.

He’s an unbelievable musician and attracts others of great talent to play with him. I bring the crowd, add a few music heads to the mix, and keep them as happy as I can. That is not difficult in Charlie’s. I love the place. Watch out for Patrick’s band called ‘Green Tea’. The lead singer, Mike Carroll, has a hell of a voice. I have also organised that ‘Sin Arreglo’, a Madrid based band whom I befriended many moons ago, will come to Dolan’s Warehouse as part of a mini-tour of Ireland this July. This is in aid of Doras Luimní and Clare band, ‘Los Paddys De Las Pampas’, will be joining them, as well as ‘Savya’, our local Nepalese rock stars and ‘Green Tea’. ‘The Buzz Monkeys’, punk aristocracy of Ennis Town, should bring the house down. We had a great night at the same venue last year. Limerick really was a beautiful place to be that evening. Same again please!

For more information about Peadar Clancy please see: ‘The Armada of Love’ concert will take place at Dolan’s Warehouse on Friday, July 29. For more information please access: and