In this post-lockdown environment, live music and concerts are slowly but surely making a comeback. While the last few years have been challenging for musicians, there’s no shortage of rising talent out there, particularly in rural communities.

Amy Meehan is a 20-year-old singer-songwriter from Drumoghill, a small rural area in Manorcunningham, Co Donegal. She is currently in her third year studying music ?at Ulster University in Derry, and she already has some impressive achievements under her belt. She speaks to Irish Country Living about her experience as a rural musician.


Amy grew up on a sheep and suckler farm and comes from a musical family. Her rural upbringing had a profound influence on her passion for music.

“The whole family would come together from all areas of Donegal and Ireland once a year for a weekend up at my great aunt’s house. And we’d just play music all weekend and just have the craic. You learn things from each other as well.”

Once Amy discovered her own talent for singing, she knew this was what she wanted to pursue.

“I started doing singing lessons when I was about 10 because someone told my mum I was a good singer. From that I just started singing more and doing performing arts, going on to start to learn the guitar. I loved playing it and I kept it up.”

Amy’s musical inspiration comes from a variety of artists and genres, but her favourite genre is folk. She names some of her favourite modern artists as Damien Rice, The Paper Kites and Bon Iver.

“The kind of music that I love is 60s, 70s and 80s, so like Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, all those kinds of artists,” says Amy. “That [style] is more what I wanted to do when I was about 14 or 15, but now I love folk music. Just all different acoustic kinds of music.”

Early success

In 2016 at the age of just 13, Amy won the Talent Northwest competition in Derry. She explains that her win led to many exciting opportunities. “Things just spiralled”, she says.

Bronagh Gallagher, star of The Commitments, was a judge at the competition. Amy was invited on tour with Bronagh and she performed all over Ireland, including in Whelan’s in Dublin.

“I think that was the time where I really thought, ‘this is going somewhere’,” says Amy. “I started keeping it up and putting more effort into it.”

In 2019, Amy supported English singer Paul Carrack on his tour of Ireland and the UK. Amy cites this as her greatest musical achievement to date.

“He was a big part of the band Mike + The Mechanics back in the 80’s. Now he’s playing with artists such as Eric Clapton.

Amy performing at the London Palladium on tour with English singer Paul Carrack.

“I opened the show for him, I played for about 30 minutes with my own stuff. In Ireland we toured in the Millennium Forum in Derry, the Cork Opera House and the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin.

“Then he asked me to come back and do the UK tour with him, and that was when I was doing my Leaving Cert at the time as well. In the UK it was the Liverpool Philharmonic among other venues. It was the biggest thing I’ve done so far. The last show was in the London Palladium.”

A changed landscape

Things were looking bright for Amy. However, the London performance would be her last before the onset of COVID-19. This cancelled Amy’s plans, as it did for so many artists at the time.

“So 2019-2020 were the biggest years, and then COVID happened and everything shut down after that. I went from doing a lot to doing nothing. It was very difficult.”

“I had so much but it was completely cut short, so if COVID wasn’t there I’d say I’d still be doing the bigger tours but it’s not happening anymore. Hopefully in the future I’ll get going again, but without COVID it would be a completely different place.”


Amy is currently working on new music. She already has two recorded songs. Say Goodbye is dedicated to Amy’s cousin Shane who died from cancer at the age of 17 in 2019.

For You was recorded after the Irish tour with Paul Carrack and was inspired by the support of her parents along her musical journey. She performed these songs at all of her UK shows with Paul.

Amy is focused on getting her degree. She intends to pass on her love of music through primary school teaching, and is open to studying a PhD to become a lecturer.

While she doesn’t think she will rely solely on performing as a career, one thing for certain is that the music will never leave her.

“Two years ago I was so set on doing live performances and recordings and everything. It’s just not easy to make a living out of it if you’re not at a certain level. I love performing. I’m never giving it up.”

To find out more about Amy and her music, visit her Facebook page Amy Meehan Music and her Instagram @amymmeehan. You can also listen to her music on Spotify.

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