Damien only tuned into ‘Murder at the Cottage’ as he loves anything by Sheridan, but was dumbstruck when he saw Bailey play his music and laud one of this tracks ‘I’ve no alibi’.
“I held my head in my hands going ‘Jaysus Christ’,” he recalls. “I had me held in me hands when I was watching the Jim Sheirdan documentary because the song they were playing ‘I’ve no alibi’, that’s a song of mine, the song Ian Bailey was playing ‘I’ve no alibi’.
“When I heard the chorus, I was ‘ah for f**k sake’”
The chorus includes the lines:
“I've no alibi, I'm so bad I cry I've no alibi, I laugh until I cry
I talk shite, shite, shite And they buy, buy, buy, buy it I talk shite, shite, shite And they buy, buy, buy, buy it”.
Asked for his thoughts on the famous case, he replies: “ I have no idea. I was always a fan of Jim Sheridan and it would be nice to see some sort of justice brought to that case"
“But I was I was saying to people ‘Jesus Christ’ when I saw and heard him (Bailey) playing one of my songs, particularly ‘I’ve no alibi’.”
The Sky series was screened at the height of lockdown and Damien admits he found the period difficult.
“It was challenging financially, but spiritually it was amazing. I just got back to nature, I got back to the land. There’s a native wood up in Howth. That was within my 5k. I’m in Donaghmede. I was just up there all the time, rambling through the woods and up to the top of the mountain,” he recalls.
“From Howth you can see all of Wicklow, you can see Tara, and the mountains of Mourne, the Cooley mountains, Cuchulainn country.
“I’d just walk up there, through the woods, up to the top of the hill, come down, dive in the sea and that would cure anybody of all sorts of stuff.”
He believes he is spiritual.
“I wouldn’t be religious, I’m spiritual, very spiritual. I’ve been getting little nudges here and there all my life,” he confirms.
“My mother and my mother’s mother, my granny, they’d call themselves white witches. They’d know things before they happened. I’m sort of like that, a bit intuitive.”
He believes we have a connection to our pagan past.
“I think that’s what it is, more so. It’s a shame that organised religions divorce us from nature, whereas the older religions seem to be very in tune with nature,” he argues.
“I think for a long time in Ireland, Christianity, the church here was very much in tune with the pagan way and Rome didn’t like that and they tried to change it then over the years.”
The 47-year-old stars in a documentary being screened on RTÉ1 on Thursday which centres on three of his recent gigs in Dublin’s Vicar Street at Christmastime.
“We filmed the three concerts, but we mainly filmed the middle night on the Saturday. Mostly everything you see is the Saturday night,” he explains.
“I didn’t think anyone could capture that, the vibration in that.”
He was initially approached about the idea by filmmaker Ross Killeen.
“Ross came to me and said ‘I’d love to try and do something about your Vicar street gigs because I was very down. My friend told me to go to one and I did and I couldn’t believe how much it lifted him,’ and he wanted to try and catch that,” he remembers.
"I was sort of sceptical because he hadn’t done that much documentary stuff before, but he seemed very genuine and I thought no one else wanted to do something with us and I said ‘I’ll give it a go’ and said ‘let’s make a movie that helps people’. He said ‘deal’, we shook hands. Somehow, he captured the vibration there, I don’t know how he did.”
He adds: “It was great, because he didn’t make it about me, it wasn’t like the Damo show, it was about the fans. They make the show really. You can go out there and do the best gig of your life, but if the fans aren’t with you, opening their hearts and letting their hair and letting go of everything it won’t be that good. It’s about what happens between me and the fans, that’s the healing power of it.”
Damien has always been involved in social justice issues, whether its homelessness or fighting to save the building in Dublin’s Moore street some of the 1916 leaders took refuge in after the Easter Rising.
“There needs to be some sort of sweeping reforms. I don’t know what the answer is, but I know there needs to be a big change somehow,” he maintains about the housing crisis.
He is single at the moment and is trying to play catch-up with his mortgage.
“You’re kind of locked down, a solitary time. Since I’ve been back I’ve been trying to pay back the mortgage arrears. I’ve done about 45 gigs now since February so it’s getting full on, trying to get a good new album out and just to give people a lift,” he notes.
“I kind of would have stayed on the path I’m on and get any show I could take. I just feel I have a bit of a mission, to bring some healing to Ireland after all the trauma that’s been visited upon this island and that’s all I’m trying to do.”