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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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3 young artists with ag roots changing the face of Irish country music

In this news article, That’s Farming, looks back at interviews with three young artists with a connection to farming, that are changing the face of Irish country music, we have featured.

Emma Donohue

Emma Donohue practices what she preaches in her recently released single, Follow Your Dream.

The Co Galway native is, in her own words, “chasing my musical career”, along with working as a fully qualified and practicing nurse and farmer on her family suckler and beef farm in Co Galway.

She was crowned the 2021 Glór Tíre champion, during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, and has professionally recorded household hits, including Love Me Tonight, I Fell in Love, Wrong Night, and Rambling.

She told the editor of, Catherina Cunnane:

“I love to perform some upbeat jivey songs mostly. That feeling you get when the dancefloor is full of jivers flying around the floor listening to you singing is unreal. The more upbeat, the better.”

“I cover some of Philomena Begley’s songs and Dolly Parton’s music. I grew up listening to both of these women, and I admired how strong a figure they were in the country music scene.”

“Moreover, I suppose I aspired to be like them someday; they have brought out some cracking songs,” she added.

Read more about her journey.

Aishling Rafferty

When Rafferty is not performing on stage or training to be a music teacher at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, she is most often found at the ringside in livestock marts, carrying out calf-feeding duties or in the passenger seat of a livestock lorry, delivering calves all over the country, with her other half.

She “cannot put an exact age on when I became interested in country music” but has been inspired by her late father, John, to pursue her musical passion from a tender age.

“Losing my father last year was very difficult as he got me started in the industry and travelled to each gig with me,” she told Cunnane.

“There is a huge void there that will never be filled, but I am very grateful to have had his support and for getting me this far. I feel him with me every time I open my mouth to sing.”

“I have released two albums to date, and I will be releasing my third album this year in memory of my late father, John.”

Read more on this.

Ailish McBride

McBride, Co Donegal, juggles many hats as a professional recording artist, farmer, equine enthusiast, and veterinary nurse.

While her musical career may only be in its infancy, she has shared the stage with some of Ireland’s biggest household names, including Philomena Begley, Margo, and Derek Ryan.

“Country music was always played in our house for as long as I can remember.” Ailish, who grew up on a suckler-beef farm, explained to Catherina Cunnane, editor of That’s Farming.

“The likes of Shania Twain, Philomena Begley, Louise Morrissey and many more were played in the car, and the radio is always on in the kitchen.”

Ailish was just 15-years-old when she realised she wanted to pursue a career as a professional recording artist.

She was a member of Donegal Youth Choir for approximately two years before she gradually broke onto the country music scene with the release of her debut album and first single, a cover version of Home to Donegal.

“I began securing bookings for guest spots at concerts all around Ireland, and I gigged in local pubs around my area with my good friend, Ben McFadden, which really helped to boost my confidence as I was just starting out.”

Read more about her story.

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