Liam O'Maonlai's Longford love affair

Liam O'Maonlai, the lead singer with the Hothouse Flowers, has said that a part of his heart shall always remain in County Longford.

Liam O'Maonlai, the lead singer with the Hothouse Flowers, has said that a part of his heart shall always remain in County Longford.

The well known international singer-songwriter made the comments following a recent stay near Legan where he worked upon the Michael Keegan-Dolan production 'Helen and Hell'.

"I had a wonderful experience staying in Legan. Each day I would take a walk and I loved the landscape of the area," said Liam, speaking to Leader.

"I also had some visits to the Oasis Bar in Legan which I felt had a great heart and a great spirit about it. We did a couple of all nighters there with music and dancing. I think I've left a bit of my heart in County Longford."

Liam, who played the role of Fintan in the Fabulous Beast Theatre production 'Helen and Hell', spent a number of weeks in Longford in the lead up to the production's debut as a 'work in progress'.

This took place at the Backstage Theatre recently following time rehearsing in Shawbrook Dance School, Legan. It is hoped that the piece will be commissioned for the stage in London in the near future.

"I arranged to meet Michael Keegan-Dolan about a year and a half ago in a coffee shop in Ranelagh in Dublin. We found that we had a lot in common as people.

"We had a lot of differences too in how we followed our passions. He worked with large amounts of people and I work with a small group and we do the rock n' roll thing," said Liam. "Despite this, we seemed to see things the same way."

The collaboration of the two creative forces led to the expansion of the role of Fintan within the work 'Helen and Hell'.

"I brought my sense of music to the production. Although I do a lot of mainstream work, I am very big into traditional music and its connection with the Ancient and with the self. Sometimes I feel that this music is more in tune with things," said Liam, who has previously acted in Brendan Behan's The Hostage in 1984-1985.

In bringing the role of Fintan to life, Liam joined in with other cast members and followed a routine developed by Michael Keegan-Dolan. Each morning the troupe would begin their day's work with an hour's session of yoga followed by breakfast.

"I loved working with the other members of 'Helen and Hell'. I love my work and I love working with people like that. I learned a lot.

"No matter how little you say (in the production) you need to be concentrating on every word that is said. It was interesting to learn about movement also," said Liam.