Ballinrobe singer/songwriter Faraway Martin doesn't do things by halves. The former music teacher packed in the day job last June in Qatar and came home to follow his dream. Now, he can be seen driving the highways and byways of Ireland on his mammoth 32 county tour, and, to add to the challenge, he decided to do it in 32 days, after buying a van and kitting it out for life on the road.
While at times it has been tough, the musician reports he is enjoying every minute of the tour, stating: "I had a few setbacks, delays in getting insured in the van, the CDs being mixed up and a few gigs being cancelled, but I cannot get over the kindness and generosity of people. The support has been phenomenal, at every gig."
Faraway Martin says he has no regrets about following his dream full-time and now, playing music every night, while writing and discovering Ireland most days, is fulfilling those dreams. "There's towns I've been in that I've only rushed through. This way I'm getting to a county early in the morning, talking to the locals, getting off the beaten track and I'm playing a gig there that night, it's all about meeting people."
His next Mayo appearance is this Friday at The Battle for the Lakes Festival in Achill. "I'm really excited to play that because there's a few acts that I know. I'll be teaming up with Mundy again, I've played with him twice now."
For his final gig of the tour he will be coming home to Ballinrobe to play at Ballinrobe Library on Saturday, October 5. He'll be joined by a number of artists, including Rebecca McRedmond. The musician has been selling his CD, 'I Wanna Go' at each gig and even has his own merchandise - a custom O'Neill's GAA jersey. "It was my nephew Kieran who helped me with the idea. This tour is about a celebration of Ireland and Irish music and nothing says Ireland like an O'Neill's jersey."
Highlights from the tour so far include kicking off at Electric Picnic and hearing a 60-strong audience singing his songs back to him at a gig in Donegal. Asked who the ultimate dream artist to support or play alongside would be, the determined musician loses no time answering. "Christy Moore. I'm making it happen. Every gig I do I'm getting more confident."
So, what next for Faraway Martin? "After the tour I'll be taking a well-deserved break from everything just to recharge. Over Christmas I'll be recording an album and in the New Year I'll be setting a date for release."
Faraway Martin's latest single - 'I Wanna Go' is available on Spotify and other streaming services. For more info visit Faraway Martin on Facebook.