Meet the reigning “Westmeath Bachelor” – the Kerryman who gave up farming to seek fame and fortune in music

It’s been a busy few weeks for 25-year-old Kerry farmer and musician Bryan Murphy, recently crowned Westmeath Bachelor.

Ryan, who lives between Listowel, Tralee and Ballybunion, says he entered the competition after experiencing “a new appreciation for life” as a result of the pandemic.

“It was something I would never have done before Covid, but being at home so much and not getting out to see places or things to do and the madness changed my mind,” he explains.

“It was completely out of my comfort zone coming in here and I wanted to do something different. We’ve been very isolated down here in Kerry during Covid and it was nice to get out and try something new – something I hadn’t tried before.

“Also, before and during the pandemic, I had some health issues and that changed the way I look at things. I said I’ll take whatever comes my way – I’ll just do it and take the bull by the horns.”

Bryan was one of 13 finalists who graced the stage at Mullingar in front of celebrity judges Louis Walsh, Anne Doyle, Doireann Garrihy and Nathan Carter. He played a medley of songs on the accordion and sang along.


Bryan Murphy performs at the Westmeath Bachelor

“We had to get on stage and be ourselves and do a little talent piece. I took the accordion and sang Mama Mia, hey baby and i finished on I’ll tell myself, ma. It’s been a fantastic weekend with some big names like The Academic, The Blizzards and Gavin James.”

The experience, he says, boosted his confidence tremendously.

“I was very surprised, I didn’t think I would win, but when I did I was delighted,” he says.


Bryan Murphy at the family farm at Ballinglanna, Causeway, Tralee, Co. Kerry

“To enter, all you had to do was fill out an application and you were selected or not. I would tell anyone thinking about doing it because it’s a really brilliant experience.”

Bryan grew up on a dairy farm and spent his teenage years in the milking parlour. He still helps out and worked as a farmhand before giving it up to pursue his dream of becoming a full-time musician. Music was in the family.

“The love of music comes from my father Patrick,” he says. “I remember when I was a little boy I was in the milking parlor with my father and he sang. That’s where I learned to sing.

“When I was growing up there was an accordion in the house and my dad played by ear a little bit and I started playing it and got a few lessons from a neighbor.


Bryan used to work as a farmhand, but now he just helps out on the local farm

“I got my first professional accordion when I was about 13 years old. My father sold a Limousin heifer for €1,150 and we bought a beautiful wooden accordion to go with it in Kenmare.

“After that I really started learning, playing and singing. I’ve always made music as a pastime and did a few gigs here and there and after thinking about it for a while I decided to follow my dream.”

Now Bryan is performing all over Ireland.

“Over the summer it will be on the road six nights a week, playing with the band in Killarney on Tuesday and Thursday nights, then in Dingle on Friday nights,” he says.


Bryan is out and about six nights a week in the summer

“Then I’m out and about on Saturday and Sunday, either playing in bars or at weddings.”

With the launch of his music career, he spends less time in the living room these days, but his younger brother Patrick is happy to take the reins at home.

“I don’t milk as much as I used to because I’m not in bed until around 3 a.m. most nights,” he says.

“My brother Patrick milks full time now. Growing up on a farm throws you in at the deep end as soon as you can wear wellies, and while I love farming, music is more therapeutic.

“Music is where my heart beats and if I don’t do it now, I never will.” Meet the reigning “Westmeath Bachelor” – the Kerryman who gave up farming to seek fame and fortune in music

Fry Electronics Team

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