It all started back in March when PJ’s brother, John, was celebrating 50 years of marriage to his wife, Eileen. During a mass in the early part of the day, their daughters Paula, Sinéad and Claire provided the music for the ceremony. Listening from the pew, an idea began to form in PJ’s mind and later that afternoon, he approached Paula and asked if she would be interested in putting a family concert together.

“We had been talking about doing something together for a long time, but I’m delighted that it is finally happening,” says PJ. “There were always enquiries from people in Kerry and beyond as to when they could see Paula, who has sung all over the world, at Siamsa Tíre, in her hometown.”

A night at the opera

Tralee-born Paula Murrihy has indeed performed in some of the world’s major opera houses and concert halls, including the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, La Scala in Italy and Covent Garden in London. However, her journey started many years ago, on the stage of Siamsa Tíre, making the concert on 5 January all the more poignant.

This performance will be quite different from what Paula’s used to as she will be joined on stage by her family, including husband Eamonn, sisters Sinéad and Claire, dad John, and daughters Étaín and Fódhla. She is excited about the prospect of performing in her home town again and sharing her favourite musical memories, including those that inspired her career.

Stage home

“I’m thrilled to be coming home to perform on the Siamsa Tíre stage after so many years away,” says Paula. “It’s where I learned my craft, my stage home, where I performed with many groups like the Kerry School of Music, Tralee Musical Society and, of course, as a member of the Siamsa Tíre Theatre. The fact that this is going to be a family affair makes it extra special!”

The audience on the night will be treated to a wide variety of musical styles and genres ranging from operatic and classical to folk and country.

“My daughters Moira and Maeve as well as my son Seamus will take to the stage with me,” PJ added. “And the well-known accordion player Seamus Shannon will accompany us. There’ll be a mix of ballads and traditional tunes as well as my own compositions.”


Reminiscing about growing up in a house full of music, PJ says the ‘radio was never silent’. “All of our family danced and sang and my sister, Eileen, played the piano,” he recalls. “My mother had a gramophone which her own mother brought from America, and there were many nights of set dancing when the neighbours came to visit.”

The man from Mullagh is best known for his song Pat Murphy’s Meadow which remained in the top 30 Irish Charts for eight weeks in the late 1980s. He has also recorded popular songs including My Father’s House, The Old Thrashing Mill, and his own compositions, Life in the Auld Dog Yet and Drawing Little Men in the Ashes. 

As a songwriter, PJ’s songs have been recorded by a number of prominent artists, including Nathan Carter, Daniel O’Donnell and Brendan Shine.

PJ & Paula Murrihy & Family will take place at 8pm on 5 January 2024 in Siamsa Tíre, Tralee, Co Kerry. Visit for more information or call 066 7123055.

Read more

Children’s authors Adiba Jaigirdar and Katie O’Donoghue on a life in books

Asbestos: ‘for farmers, the risk is in old machinery and older buildings