Writers @ Write by the Sea 2021
Mike Hanrahan was born in Ennis, Co. Clare. He began performing professionally with Maura O’Connell in 1977 in a duo called ‘Tumbleweed’ before joining Stockton’s Wing in 1980. He toured extensively throughout Europe and the U.S. with the band whose second album was named for Mike’s composition, ‘Take A Chance’. Mike subsequently penned all the original songs on Stockton’s Wing’s 1982 ground-breaking and critically acclaimed album ‘Light in the Western Sky’, which included hit singles Beautiful Affair and Walk Away. He featured prominently in the great success story that was ‘Stockton’s Wing’ at home and abroad, as guitarist, singer and songwriter.
In 1994 he decided to leave the band to pursue a solo career and to tour with Finbar Furey throughout the UK. His first solo album, ‘Someone Like You’ was released in Germany, Switzerland and Holland in 1995 and in 1996 in Ireland to critical acclaim.
Mike went on to work with Ronnie Drew in his theatre show ‘Ronnie, I Hardly Knew Ya’ in Dublin and toured the show to a successful off-Broadway run in New York. He produced four albums with Ronnie and Eleanor Shanley along with collaborating with many of the legends of Irish folk music up to 2006.
Mike’s career as a musician and songwriter has kept him very busy in the ensuing years. As producer, performer, arranger he has travelled extensively in Europe and America, returning for the occasional Stockton’s Wing reunion, culminating in the release of a back-catalogue collection by the band in 2020 called ‘Stockton’s Wing Beautiful Affair: A Retrospective’. A new live album is due out later this year.
In recent years Mike began to develop a career in cooking, training in Ballymaloe with Darina Allen and working for a time in Pat Shortt’s Bar in Castlemartyr. His memoir on food, friendship and music “Beautiful Affair” was published by Harper Collins in 2019. It was shortlisted for Best Irish Published Book of the Year at the An Post National Book Awards. The book has been well-received and a book tour is set for later in 2020.