Terry McHugh with his trusty guitar at his home on the Ballymakenny Road. Photo: Andy Spearman.
“I’ve often thought I’d like to play at my own funeral” musician Terry McHugh said before explaining that he has recorded an album of classical guitar music which he is launching at Millmount Tower this Monday evening (August 12).
Hopefully Terry’s funeral won’t take place for many years to come because he has a very busy life with much more to do. When the day does arrive though, at least the music will be good.
Terry is a man of many skills and interests. He makes his living as a plumber but at other times he gets up to all sorts of things such as writing, poetry and music. He’s also a damn good snooker player.
His main love though is music and classical guitar in particular. He traces his interest in music back to when he was child in his grandparents’ old farmhouse in Shamrock Lodge on the Ballymakenny Road.
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“There was a guitar and banjo lying around and I would run my young hands across the strings and marvel at how my uncle’s fingers had the memory and skill to make real music from these magical instruments” Terry recalls.
His father must have noticed that his young son was musically inclined, because he commissioned Murphy Brothers, master craftsmen from the Old Abbey, to make a custom-built guitar and presented it to the by now, thirteen year old.
“Around this time, the Leahy family from Oldcastle, Co Meath, moved in just down the road from our house and their son Brian and I soon became close friends” said Terry.
Their mutual love of music brought them to the back kitchen of Mrs Carberry’s pub on the North Strand, where they honed their skills in various musical genres. They were too young to play in the bar until later and that is how the famous Carberry sessions came into being.
“Brian was a rare talent with lots of instruments and went on to make quite a reputation with various bands” Terry remembers. “Tragically he contracted a terminal illness and passed away on the 15th of July, 1982, aged just 35 years old. His musical brilliance is remembered in the hearts of his beloved family and many friends.”
Terry played the local pub scene for a few years but became somewhat disillusioned and took a break from the music to concentrate on raising a family with his wife Patricia.
It was to be many years before Terry took up the instrument again and this time he wanted to learn more about classical guitar. He took lessons from Colin Blakey, formerly of the “Waterboys” and then progressed to the College of Music in Dublin where he spent four years honing his craft.
Somebody suggested to him that he should record his music and what better place than the incomparable Millmount Tower. Musical fruition has been reached and the result, ‘Prodigal Notes’ is being launched on Monday 12th August at 7.30pm in the august surroundings of the historical tower.
A CD of the album is included in admission fee as is a guided tour of the museum and tower. It has all the makings of an evening to remember.
This article was written by Andy Spearman