People of the Tribes: Meet Fionn & Jonathan.

In association with McGettigans

We are Fionn Crombie Angus and Jonathan Angus, probably best known around Galway for busking on Shop Street. We've been part of the local music scene, with Fionn playing his distinctive left-handed fiddle, and Jonathan backing him up on guitar, for five years, after moving from County Clare when Fionn finished secondary school.

But our social enterprise, Fionnathan Productions, is about so much more. Fionn is the first person in Ireland with developmental delay to run his own HSE funded pilot project, designing and managing his own supports. As a member of the Task Force on Personalised Budgets, he advised the Government on how to introduce this option for every person who currently uses day services or residential care.

And we turned a social welfare programme for employers who hire people with disabilities inside out. Rather than fit a person into a preexisting job, we developed Fionn's job around his interests and talents. We're always looking for creative ways to make the system work better for individuals, and we share our discoveries in hopes of helping others design their own great lives.

Through that, he is able to visit primary schools all around the country as the youngest expert on the Heritage in Schools Programme, teaching about Irish wildlife and traditional music. We spent 45 days with children in the last school year. (Jonathan was a Steiner / Waldorf teacher for decades. )

We also give regular guest lectures to Social Care programmes in ten Irish colleges and universities and do family consultations. We plan to soon start advising companies on how they can improve workplaces to make them more inclusive.

We're becoming known for our 'What Do You Love About Your Life?' Interview Project, with more than 500 videos on our YouTube Channel, interviewing such people as Cillian Murphy, Mary Robinson, Damien Dempsey, Imelda May, Brian Eno, Angela Lansbury, Domhnall Gleeson, Marisa Tomei, and Michael D Higgins. The practical reason for the project is to help Fionn decide his future career direction, but it's great to meet so many of our heroes, and people love to watch the interactions. The channel has more than 340,000 views.

We also work internationally, learning about nature, teaching and playing music in fifteen countries in the last five years, from the Amazon to Zanzibar. Our last three St Patrick's Day performances have been at Pike Place Market in Seattle, beside the Sydney Opera House, and in Austin TX during the South by Southwest Festival.

But Galway is definitely home. There are always great things happening here. We have collaborated with dozens of local community groups and hosted the Cultural Café, a way for locals to celebrate and share their cultures of origin at ARD Family Resource Centre. Our neighbourhood, Doughiska, is not only the most diverse in Galway but in the whole country, with 48% of residents having chosen Ireland as their home (as Jonathan did, when moving from America in 2001 ). This project was funded through Galway 2020 Little Towns, Big Ideas.

Next month we are going to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to present seven nights of stand-up comedy. We had two preview shows this month, at NUIG and at Ireland's Smallest Comedy Club, and they were both well received - we're hilarious, apparently - so we're looking forward to bringing a bit of Galway humour to the people of Edinburgh.

To top it all off, we are also visual artists, with works shown in London and New York, and will soon publish a children's book. Our art studio is in Clarenbridge.

We like to show people what is possible when you happen to be labelled with disability. We are advocates for people on the margins, and Galway 2020 should provide lots of opportunities for an inclusive, celebratory year.

You can follow the adventures of this son and father team on our Facebook page.

Link to Heritage in Schools:

Link to youtube channel:

Link to Facebook:


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