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Thursday 16 August 2018

Body and soul: Fionnuala Sherry

Fionnuala Sherry won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1995 with Norway's Secret Garden. After 10 years with the RTE Concert Orchestra, she has just released her debut solo album My parents are . . . Bernard and Breeda Sherry. My father grew up in Monaghan and my mother comes from West Cork. They met and married in Dublin and settled in Naas in Co Kildare.

The house I grew up in . . . was in Naas and I loved it there. We lived in a small, private cul de sac of 11 bungalows. We all got along and shared our lives with each other.

When I was a child I wanted to be . . . a violinist. From the moment I first heard the instrument I wanted one and begged my parents until they eventually bought me a violin for my eighth birthday. I have never considered anything else.

If I could change one thing about myself I would . . . like to be more patient. I always want everything done yesterday, so I drive everybody around me crazy.

You wouldn't know it but I'm very good at . . . golf. I recently began to play and discovered I can really drive a ball. Maybe all the years of fiddling have given me great upper strength.

You may not know it but I'm no good at . . . singing. Even though I use my voice as part of the production, you would not wish to hear me sing a whole song. I did record a full vocal years ago on a Secret Garden CD. It stressed producer Rolf Lovland so much that he began to smoke during the session after years of being nicotine-free.

At night I dream of . . . having a good night's sleep. It's the ultimate luxury.

When I look in the mirror I see . . . mostly a contented face. I always try to be grateful for being healthy and well.

My favourite item of clothing is . . . my skinny leather jeans I wore for the Eurovision in 1995. I even wore them for the photo shoot for my new CD Songs From Before. Thank God fashion is cyclical. Pat Gartland, who is a genius with leather, has mended and patched them many times, but I can't bear to throw them away.

I wish I'd never worn . . . any of the outfits I wore for RTE series Tune In. They seem hideous to me now. I can't bear to watch any of the shows as they seem so dated.

I drive . . . . a BMW.

My house is . . . in Dalkey and I love it there.

My favourite work of art . . . is a painting by Addis, an artist from Bosnia who mainly works in classical sculpture. I bought the painting in Sydney on the day of our sell-out concert in the Opera House, which was a momentous occasion for all of the band. The painting hangs in my bedroom as a constant reminder of that magical night.

A book that changed me . . . was The Scale System for Violin by Carl Flesch. Every day as I struggle to work through these scales I realise how much more I have to learn, so this book constantly pushes me to try and be a better player and musician.

My greatest regret is . . . not taking up golf years ago, as I see the amount of enjoyment everybody gets from it.

My real-life villains are . . . parking wardens hovering around Dalkey. They should give us some more leeway so our local shops and businesses can survive.

The last time I cried . . . was when our lovely dog had to go for major leg surgery.

My five-year plan is . . . I don't have one, nor have I ever had one. In this business you are as good as your last gig and the easiest way to keep going is just to stay focused on the creative side and, hopefully, other things fall into place.

Fionnuala Sherry's debut solo album Songs From Before is out now

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