Today on The Lock-In Podcast we’re talking to Tara Howley from Kilfenora, County Clare, All-Ireland champion musician, Riverdance performer and social media star. (The cover-photo is by Awake and Dreaming Photography).

Click on the player below to play the podcast audio (download: 20:12; 12MB; MP3), or scroll down to watch the video.


Tara is one of many who saw their lives change dramatically with the onset of the Coronavirus. Different industries have been affected to different extents by the pandemic, and none more so than the arts and entertainment industry, and live performance in particular.

In March 2020, Tara and her fellow members of the Riverdance company had just opened at Radio City Music Hall in New York, when they got word that the rest of their tour was cancelled, and flights were hastily arranged to get everyone home before travel restrictions took hold.

“Broadway has shut down; all the tours are cancelled … it was like a scene from a movie, literally. All the bad news was coming in, email after email, and then it was like: your flight is booked for Shannon this evening … some of the Australian dancers had their flights booked within that couple of hours”

The impact on the industry has been catastrophic, she says, not just for performers, but for everyone involved in the business of staging a large entertainment spectacle like Riverdance.

Back home in Kilfenora, Tara has done her best to keep busy. When travel restrictions were eased, she joined the daily swimmers at Spanish Point Beach. She has been able to work on some projects, including recording for a film score, and she has revived a project she last did in 2019: posting daily performance videos on Facebook.

That project, 365 Days by Tara, saw her collaborate with musicians at home and on her travels. Now in 2021 she’s doing the same, but virtually.

“It’s kind of a validation as well. I’m still a musician. I’m still an artist. I don’t have a stage but I’ll make my own one.”

This week she reunited with the Spanish Point swimming group founded by June Curtin, aka Snámhaí Sásta. Under careful socially distanced conditions, they shot their own Jerusalema dance video, with contributions from as far afield as New York and Brussels.

Also on today’s podcast, we talked about internet safety, as Safer Internet Day occurred this week. Did you know that there’s been a rise in online fraud since coronavirus measures were introduced? We’ve also re-published our internet safety guide: Seven Simple Steps to Online Security.

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