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9 to 5 Country star Barry Kirwan got supermarket job after Covid put music career on hold

Barry is itching to get back to gigging but says many musicians will quit for good due to the pandemic

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But Barry Kirwan says it will be a while before he can tour again.

But Barry Kirwan says it will be a while before he can tour again.

But Barry Kirwan says it will be a while before he can tour again.

Country star Barry Kirwan reveals how the Covid-19 lockdown has had a positive impact on his personal life, despite it temporarily wiping out his music career.

The 35-year-old singer took a job in Lidl in his native Omagh to pay the bills while he waited for the doors to open again.

But Barry says the normal nine-to-five job has given him the opportunity to bond with his three-year-old son Joshua.

Barry, who will marry his partner, Michelle, next October, tells the ­Sunday World: "That's the only one positive out of the whole lockdown, just being able to spend time with both Michelle and Joshua, particularly as he was in that two-to-three year age where he's learning words.

"I probably wouldn't have seen or heard a lot of that if I had been on the road, so that definitely was a big plus out of the lockdown for me.

"I've been a professional musician since the age of 21. I haven't really known anything different. Even when I met Michelle and when we had Joshua my life continued the way it was.

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Barry with Michelle and Joshua

Barry with Michelle and Joshua

Barry with Michelle and Joshua

"I didn't actually look at it from the outside. When you have that time you see what you actually do miss. You just have to cherish every second that you have."

However, Barry is adamant that he still wants to go back on the road.

"Well, music is in my blood. It's been my passion all my life. I definitely still want to get back to it," he says.

"But I'm not sure if I want to get back to touring flat out all the time. I think we'll definitely have to look at the diary and make time for family and maybe take a weekend off every three or four weeks.

"Lockdown definitely opened my eyes to what we were doing and it probably was a bit too much, especially when you do have a family.

"You don't realise how much work goes in to raising a three-year-old child. Michelle did an amazing job when he was a baby and I was on the road, even though she has a busy job herself, and now I definitely want to be a bigger part of his life."

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Barry believes that some musicians won't return to the live music scene after the pandemic.

"I do think some people will leave the business and they won't be back," he says.

"A lot of people will have got normal nine-to-five jobs and have been spending time with their families and have been able to see their friends. They probably have seen a better side to life now and they might not want to come back to music. It remains to be seen."

Although some live shows are now on the way back, Barry says he intends to continue working in Lidl.

"I'm keeping on the day job for the foreseeable future, until the diary starts to build up a bit," he says.

"I think things are still too uncertain and promoters are probably a bit reluctant to put dates in the diary, just in case they have to cancel them again. I will have to keep the day job until next year. I hope after that I'll be able to get going again and hopefully music will be fruitful again.

"I'm happy to work in Lidl. Before I went into music professionally I worked in bars and I worked in Grant's restaurant here in Omagh for a little while.

"I've actually picked up a few shifts there again since lockdown has lifted. It's weird because I haven't worked there since I was 15.

Kirwan is one of the stars, including Philomena Begley, Cliona Hagan, Robert Mizzell and many more, who will perform at the Country at the Manor festival at Palmerstown House Estate, Johnstown, Kill, Co Kildare, on August 7 & 8.

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