Ballymahon musician, Katie Gallagher
One of Longford's most popular up and coming musicians, Ballymahon woman Katie Gallagher discusses her favourite things about Longford.
What's your idea of a perfect day or perfect weekend in Longford?
I particularly love the evenings that involve coffee in Wilder and Gold and a good show in the Backstage Theatre or the Bog Lane. A night in Skelly's is always a good one too! But during the day there's so much to do, I love a good walk with the dog down the canal! There's so much going on in the county that I could plan perfect days for a year!
Who has made the greatest contribution to Longford in your lifetime - and why?
Well being a music fan and the arts I really believe that BYT, School of Rock and Evolution and groups like that make the greatest contribution to the young people in Longford. I also think that Grace in Brigdeways has made an amazing contribution with the family resource centre. All the courses, clubs and activities she and the team organise in the centre have really changed Ballymahon with knock on effects in the county as a whole.
What's your favourite part of the county - and why?
Ballymahon of course. I could spend my whole day in Wilder and Gold drinking coffee if I was let! And Rebecca and Cormac always look after me in Fades and Flicks!
Do you have a favourite local writer or artist?
What a question! The county is literally bursting with talent. In Ballymahon we have the hugely talent Valerie Masters and Jessica Thompson and a number of poetry and writing groups in the county that are incredibly talented. Music wise - where do I begin? I love Brave Giant and it really is great to see a local band do so well but there are also some amazing groups that are working away like Sean Rooney, Undefined, 4 Degrees West and so many more.
What about a local walk?
Of course I am biased, but the Royal Canal walk in Ballymahon has to be the best place to walk and relax. I go there all the time to think and get ideas for music and business. The Tidy Towns and Canal committee work tirelessly to keep the walk and the town, clean and beautiful.
What do you think gives Longford its unique identity?
The people. Without a doubt, the population! We have the ability to mix humour, dry wit and seriousness all into one! We're also able to laugh at ourselves. And we really care about our county and how we better it and that constant cycle of working, testing and improving makes us.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Longford today?
The services for students with mental health and additional educational and special needs. We have such hard working people working on these things in the county at the moment but I think we all can agree we need much more.
If you had the power to change one thing in, or about Longford, what would it be?
The way we see ourselves. We always seem to be prepared to be ashamed of where we're from but I really think that shouldn't be the case. Longford has just as much to offer as any other county and more! So I would love the population to have a pride of place!