An accomplished folk musician, Nicola is one third of the new force in Irish roots music, The Whileaways. Creating a beguiling tapestry of harmonies, tradition and beautifully crafted original songs, The Whileaways recently released their third album From What We’re Made. These are a few of her favourite things…

Favourite way to relax:

Diamond Hill

Driving out through Connemara to climb Diamond Hill on a clear winter’s day, followed by a hot one near the fire in Coyne’s pub. Or for a real treat – Ballynahinch Castle. It’s just made for this time of year.

Favourite restaurant:


Kai. For lots of reasons. It excites me every time and always gives me that warm and satisfied feeling.

Favourite album:

This year it’s been Padraig Stevens’ songs from the Old Country. His songs are just pure magic – everyone should hear them!

Favourite pub:

Paddy Coyne'sCampbell’s Tavern, Cloughanover. The music, the conversation, the pizza, the vibe – there’s always something new going on and it’s a real hub for musicians and farmers!

Favourite city:

NYCNew York, New York! Even the thought of the place makes me giddy.

Favourite place to tour:

TokyoJapan. It’s an amazing place to visit, and the way you are hosted there as a musician is unbelievable. The food blew me away, the best meal I’ve ever had was in Tokyo.

Favourite flower:

I have a soft spot for montbretia – those beautiful tall orange wild flowers that populate the hills in August. We got married in August and had them everywhere so they always remind me of that gorgeous time.

Favourite movie:

Dirty DancingDirty Dancing – and I’m not ashamed to know every word of it!

Favourite book:Let the Great World Spin

Colum McCann’s Let the Great World Spin. Maybe because it’s set in New York and he randomly showed up at our gig there just after I had read it!

Favourite TV show:

CatastropheCatastrophe. It’s so funny, with a nice healthy dose of irreverence. Sharon Horgan’s writing and acting is spot on.

Favourite time of year:

Christmas. It’s such a lovely time to play gigs. There’s a particular magic in the room that only exists at that time of year.


Photographer Doreen Kilfeather.

The Whileaways will play The Black Box on Friday 21 December at 8pm.