Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh is an award winning traditional singer and musician from Corca Dhuibhne in West Kerry. She lives there with her husband Billy and their daughters Sadhbh and Líse. She was the lead singer and flutist of the traditional Irish band Danú for more than 13 years and performed as a solo artist for many years. She recently recorded Róisín Reimagined – an album of Sean nós songs – with the Irish Chamber Orchestra. You can order the album at muireann.ie/store/roisn-reimagined and the album will also stream online this August as part of the Kilkenny Arts Festival.
What’s the most important lesson about money you’ve learned from your career as a singer?
You never know what’s around the corner. Being self-employed means being sometimes up and sometimes down. We can’t take sick days or any kind of paid vacation – so we tend to be bribe-givers. It also taught me to be a little cautious – I really tried not to get into debt as I’m never sure of what’s ahead.
What has the Corona crisis taught you about money?
That I’m always finding ways to make a living. Initially, the pandemic really knocked the rug out from under me – I was touring with a new record when everything stopped. It was pretty scary. But after the first shock, I learned to do my own radio shows from home – alongside some TV shows, online concerts and workshops.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about money?
A dear friend who is a musician and accountant told me to learn to work smarter – not harder. He also said not to be a “busy fool”. So I tried to conserve my energy to focus on what I love to do and have faith that it will work.
What is your favorite saying about money as Gaeilge?
Is fearr cara sa chúirt ná punt sa sparán – A friend in court is better than a pound in the purse. I like this saying because there are many things money can’t buy and there are many ways to value things.
Do you still carry cash?
Not really – but I try to have a little tip with me or for my girls if they want to go to the store for ice cream.
What is the most you would pay for a bottle of wine?
€20 if it’s for me. Rather if it’s a gift for someone else.
Your biggest financial mistake?
Buying a house in 2006 at the height of the Celtic Tiger years just before the crash. That will accompany me for the rest of my life.
What’s your favorite Irish coin?
The old 10p coin with the salmon on it. I loved how we had the harp on one side of the coins and an animal on the other – our culture and environment are the two most beautiful things we have here in Ireland.
If you could design your own euro bill, what image would you put on it?
I would put aside some of our iconic landmarks like An Fear Marbh (Inis Tuaisceart Island) or The Skelligs. And I would bring back our old script on the other side because I think it’s really nice.
What was the most expensive country you have ever visited?
Norway. I went to buy a round for a gang of musicians and almost passed out at the price. It ended with a quiet weekend.
Would you buy Irish property now?
If I could, I would definitely do it. There is nothing better than the security of owning your own home. Unfortunately for so many Irish people that is out of reach. Prices are astronomical where I’m from – the peninsula has become something of a millionaire’s playground.
https://www.independent.ie/business/the-dingle-peninsula-has-become-a-bit-of-a-millionaires-playground-41489077.html “The Dingle Peninsula has become a playground for millionaires”