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Eleanor McEvoy was brokenhearted

Eleanor McEvoy was brokenhearted

Eleanor McEvoy was brokenhearted

SHE'S the hit writer and singer of Only A Woman's Heart, one of Irish music's most iconic songs - now Eleanor McEvoy reveals that her own heart has been broken.

In an exclusive interview with the Sunday World, Eleanor tells how she was left devastated and had counselling after splitting with her partner. The couple, who have an adult daughter, were together for 23 years.

Revealing the break-up for the first time as she releases her new album, Gimme Some Wine, Eleanor (54) says: "It happened two-and-a-half years ago and it was a horrendous experience that I'm nowhere near ready to fully talk about, to be honest.

"It's a long time to be with somebody and it [the split] was dreadful and awful. It was all very tough. I did have counselling, but writing new songs was very cathartic as well. It's a great way of getting stuff out of your system."

One of her new songs is called Survival, and Eleanor reveals the pain and struggle to come to terms with a traumatic break-up and "the immediate aftermath of just surviving, just get through this day, and then get through the next day and the next day.

"And sometimes, even if that's too big a jump, then get through a smaller portion of it.

"I'd definitely recommend counselling for anyone going through this awful experience in life, but it's important to find the right person. If you find the right counsellor it's absolutely brilliant. It's been a game changer for me and how I live my life now, being kinder to myself.

"I'm so much better now and I'm so much happier. Jesus, I'm so much happier! I think about things in a different way, it's fantastic. Now I think, 'God, it's actually pretty good being single.'"

Having lived in Wexford with her former partner who works behind the scenes in the music industry, Eleanor has now moved back to her native Dublin city.

"I absolutely loved Wexford, there's no doubt about it, and it's a great place to rear a child, but there's something great about being back in Dublin too," she says.

"My daughter is in UCD and her friends come around and it's a really great atmosphere in the house."

Her new single from the album is called South Anne Street, so-called because it's where she bumped into an old boyfriend one day and rolled back the years.

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"It's about meeting an ex on South Anne Street from my college days and ending up in McDaid's pub. You can't get more Dublin than that,"

Eleanor laughs. "It was really lovely and wonderful getting chatting again, like exactly the way it used to be, and then it was really weird as well. So we had a few pints in McDaid's and drank to all our friends and said goodbye. And that was that."

So he's still your ex? "He's still my ex," Eleanor laughs.

"He's married and all of that, but it was a great afternoon just catching up on old times. Of course, you start thinking, 'what if I had gone down that road, instead of going down this road'. I'll never know now."

Eleanor says her songwriting has helped her navigate the ups and downs of her life through the years. "It's my mindfulness," she says.

"And when people come to a gig and you sing a song it touches something inside them, and it releases the grief or whatever. During the course of a song they can feel the emotion, and by the end they feel elated because that grief is gone from them. It has allowed them to process it.

"I used to look at doctors and nurses, and other people who did these amazing jobs, and think, 'oh my God, what do I do?' I used to feel inadequate, but I realise now that I have a place in society too.

"It's maybe to touch people in whatever way, and help them in their day, and I do get lovely messages from people.

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Eleanor McEvoy

Eleanor McEvoy

Eleanor McEvoy

"One of my older songs, Sophie, has been used in treatment centres for years to treat people with anorexia. It's actually the biggest song I've written.

"If you go on to Spotify there's more hits on Sophie than there are on A Woman's Heart. It's huge across the world and I do get messages all the time about it.

"I was inspired to write it all those years ago because I had a friend and an acquaintance who were anorexic and I saw the devastation, not just on them, but on their families and everybody around them."

Eleanor is looking forward to getting back out on tour, having lost a lot of money when the pandemic suddenly struck.

"I was in Melbourne on March 12, 2020, thinking I had a five-week tour ahead of me," she recalls.

"I was all fired up as it would have been the best one yet.

"Even though it wasn't bad in Australia at the time, it just became very evident that stuff was going to start getting cancelled and that they were going to start closing airports and I wouldn't get home. I got one of the last seats out of there.

"But it cost me a fortune to get home, and I lost the tour.

"All my costs for the tour had been paid up front - you pay for your tour manager and all your hotels for the five weeks in advance, so I was massively out of pocket."

  • ELEANOR McEvoy's new album, Gimme Some Wine, is now available on CD through Golden Discs.

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