KTG: Ballymahon's Katie Gallagher PICTURE: SHELLEY CORCORAN
Katie Gallagher is undoubtedly one of Ballymahon’s most talented and currently busiest people, following the official opening of the Gallagher School of Music & Drama.
Katie played her first notes on the piano at the age of five and since then, music has been a constant presence in her life.
What originally began as something to do when her friends were playing sports, quickly developed into an emotional outlet for when she was experiencing difficult situations. Writing lyrics and music allowed her to express her emotions instead of bottling everything up.
Surprisingly, Katie didn’t always have her sights set on pursuing music as a career. She wanted to be a solicitor when she was younger. However, her love of music soon became too much and she decided to teach and play music full time. Looking at her extremely decorated resume, it is clear she has made the right decision. She has played for President Michael D Higgins, been a featured artist on the live music series ‘Other Voices’, and has been interviewed on RTE Radio One.
She has always admired her mother’s extremely hard work ethic and it is clear she has inherited this characteristic herself.
“Not to sound cheesy but mam was always the inspiration because she literally was the hardest worker I knew and still is today. I want to be exactly like her,” she said.
Whilst running her own music and drama school, and constantly writing and releasing new music and an album, Katie also teaches full time in Athlone Community College: “I have always wanted to teach and to play music so mixing the two is the ideal situation.”
Katie’s love for her family is apparent and endearing. They are a constant support to her and she credits them to her success.
“(My family) are the best type of supporters because they’ll tell you exactly how they feel whether it’s positive or negative and I really respect that,” Katie explained.
The Gallagher School has been a long time in the making. Katie first started teaching music six years ago from her home, and since then her student numbers have skyrocketed. She made the move to her new headquarters in August and so far it has been a roaring success.
Katie’s respect and passion for her students is evident: “The students of GSMD put a smile on my face all the time. They are extremely talented and just the best bunch of children you have ever come across,” she enthused.
Katie spotted a gap in the market for a music and drama school in Ballymahon and a place for young people in the town to go.
“I simply wanted to create a safe space for young people to learn and create music and I think it's needed in Ballymahon. There’s so much talent in Ballymahon in all of the branches of the arts and it needs to be promoted and nurtured.”
Katie Gallagher has been an important part of the Aisling festival over the last few years, leading workshops and playing at events. Through her work with the Aisling Festival she has helped promote Irish culture in Longford and encouraged young people to get involved in the arts.
Music in Ireland is currently thriving and arguably at its strongest, with musicians like Katie leading the way: “The musical culture in Ireland at the moment is booming; there is so much activity going on and there are so many new and exciting artists coming into the industry and there’s a lot of space for all sorts of music so it’s a really exciting time!”
The future is exciting for Katie with hopes of expansion for the GSMD and future album releases. On her bucket list is to visit America, swim with dolphins and running a marathon, as well as hopefully featuring on the Late Late Show someday.