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Singing shrink hits the right note to help hospice

HE's one of Ireland's top psychiatrists -- and now he's added a musical string to his bow.

Louis O'Carroll has started singing notes -- instead of taking them -- on his first album.

Dr O'Carroll, who has earned a reputation as one of Dublin's premier psychiatric specialists, launched the recording at a special concert last weekend.

The singing shrink enlisted some of the biggest names in the trad music world to support the project, and will donate all proceeds to Listowel Hospice. Legendary vocalist Francie Conway joined in the efforts, as did Tom Shanahan and Dermot Daly.

The top doc, who relocated from Dublin to Co Kerry in recent years, admitted that he is always the first to get up on stage and sing at functions.

But he told the Herald that he only considered making an album when a recently retired friend convinced him to "make a go of it".

"I would be somebody that would sort of sing on various occasions, predominantly Kerry songs, or other trad songs," he explained.

"Over the years different people have said it's a shame that no one has made an album of those particular songs.

"It has always been strictly at amateur level, but people have commented that it's a shame that there hadn't been any formal recording, or some collection of them.

"A friend of mine who just retired said, 'We'll make this happen'.





recording

"He did the organisational side of things with the recording studio and recruiting musicians. We recorded in the Jam Factory on James Street, where Bell X1 and Mundy have also recorded."

He added: "We're very pleased with the finished product."

And the big-hearted doctor organised a charity event last Saturday night in Listowel, with €5,000 going to a well-deserved cause -- the local hospice.

"We launched it in Listowel Hospice, and we turned it into a concert and arranged for all the musicians on the CD to come down and hand over a big cheque."

His album features the best known traditional Kerry songs as Dr O'Carroll and his team were keen to record them in order to ensure they "last the test of time".

"I still do a bit of part-time work as a psychiatrist," he said. "I was a consultant psychiatrist in north Dublin for 20 years. Then I retired to Kerry, where I do part-time work."

cmcbride@herald.ie