Critically-acclaimed Irish band Walking on Cars’ brilliant track ‘Don’t Mind Me’ soundtracks the latest Wild Atlantic Way video. Here, lead singer Patrick Sheehy lets us know what makes their hometown of Dingle in County Kerry so special, and explains how the therapeutic and invigorating effects of this magical stretch of coast fed into the writing of their album.
A thrilling showcase of the various elements that combine to make the west coast so enigmatic, this new video is an invitation to embrace the Wild Atlantic Way of life for yourself. Having grown up in the enchanting town of Dingle in west Kerry, Walking on Cars understand what makes this part of the world so unique, and have drawn inspiration for their album from the lush, wind-swept landscapes around them.
“You can’t really put your finger on it”, Patrick begins, “but there’s something in Dingle that people are drawn to. We spend a lot of time on the road – airports, buses and taxis have become part of our lives. But we always have that sense of a homecoming at the end of a long tour. Every time we take that turn into Dingle and the bay comes into view, there’s that moment of – ‘We’re home!’. Indeed, it was an annual Dingle winter festival that inspired the friends to form the band in the first place. Other Voices takes place each December in the town, and sees both Irish and international acts perform in the cosy surrounds of Dingle’s one-of-a-kind venues and local pubs. Think warm wools, friendly chatter, roaring fires and inviting hot ports. “Other Voices has really given the musical aspect of the town a huge boost” says Patrick. “For us as a band growing up in that environment, we were inspired by it, and that’s where the seed was planted in terms of musicality for us.” Did they make it along to the 2016 event? “We did! It was absolutely fantastic – really cold but the skies were blue; perfect weather for the occasion.”
The haunting Kerry landscape also played a pivotal role in Walking on Cars’ debut album, Everything This Way. In order to get away from the bustle of everyday life, the band rented a cottage for six months on the very edge of the Dingle Peninsula. There, they relaxed into the pace of this mesmerising part of the world, and began writing songs. “We were literally on the tip of the peninsula”, recalls Patrick, “the most westerly point of Europe. The views definitely helped the vibe along as we were trying to find our sound. Our songs are quite epic, and we believe that the landscape around us had something to do with that.” The Wild Atlantic Way also features heavily in the band's stunning videos, as Patrick explains; “We try to incorporate the landscape into our videos to show people where we’re from and what we’re about. We take pride in it, we’ve used the landscape in 80% of our videos to date and we’ll probably continue that way.”
When they do get the opportunity to chill out at home in Dingle, what are their favourite haunts? “We take the odd trip out to see Fungie the dolphin”, he smiles, “and the lads play a lot of pitch & putt in Milltown – it’s a great place by the sea during summer. Maybe lunch in Louis Mulcahy’s, and Dick Mack’s for a pint.” What about more secluded places; little-known spots where you can really unwind and get away from it all? “There are some amazing beaches all over the west Kerry peninsulas”, he says. “Our main one is Béal Bán. If you go there during the day, there’s a chance you’ll be on your own, which is amazing.”
Outside of his home county, is there anywhere else along the Wild Atlantic Way that holds a special place in his heart? “Every time we’re in Galway we stroll up towards Salthill, it’s a really cool place. We’ve all visited the Cliffs of Moher too – they’re fantastic.” The band actually ventured to the most northerly part of the country when they were working on earlier material, so they really have done their fair share of traversing the length of this winding coast. As Patrick recalls; “Donegal is an amazing place. We recorded our first EP in Termon (outside Letterkenny), and it was like Dingle, in terms of seclusion and magic. It’s just a lovely place to be creative.” No doubt the band will continue to draw inspiration from the every-changing landscapes along the Wild Atlantic Way. “Yeah, it really is one of those coastlines that you could travel up and down forever and never get sick of,” he laughs. And we couldn’t agree more!
To learn more about the video, read our feature on how you can embrace the Wild Atlantic Way of life. Discover more about Dingle or take on the other regions along the coast.