The Irish artist's viral song giving expats stuck abroad a taste of home 5 months ago

The Irish artist's viral song giving expats stuck abroad a taste of home

"Like a big squeeze from Ireland..."

Megan O'Neill hadn't planned on releasing her latest single, 'Ireland', at all. And then the Covid-19 pandemic happened.

The Irish born singer recorded the track while she was living in London, craving the rolling hills, the tight knit communities, and the summer that doesn't last that long.

Eager to give those living away from home something to look forward to when they can come back, Megan decided to share the song to Facebook - alongside an incredible video featuring some of the country's most beautiful landscapes.

The response was, understandably, quite incredible.

"I've been playing it live at shows over the past year around the world and the response has always been amazing - from Irish people living abroad in particular," she tells Her.

"So I thought now would be a great time to put it out with all that's going on, and so many Irish people unable to come home or unable to come visit their families.

"Hopefully the song can be like a big squeeze from Ireland instead, and bring about some great memories for everyone who listens."

And judging by the response the video has gotten online, it does appear to have done just that.

Megan O'Neill 

Already, the song has amassed almost 700 comments on Megan's own Facebook page, with the majority of people saying that the track has afforded them a sense of calm, and given them something to share with loved ones who may be stuck abroad, missing home.

Megan knows that feeling all too well. After moving away to pursue to her career in music at just 21, she came home recently for the first time in seven years.

Missing the quiet creative spaces and the quintessential Irish culture, she made the decision to come back to her native Kildare.

While it sometimes feels like little has changed, she says, other times it feels like everything has.

"I come from a really small town and it has hardly changed in the last seven years - which I love! - but Dublin feels different," she says.

"Cities change a lot more quickly. I suppose the biggest change is in me and the way I see Ireland. I'm completely in love with Ireland now in a way I wasn't when I moved away."

And seemingly, so are the people who have been sharing her latest single - support that Megan is grateful for during these trying and often confusing times.

In some ways, Ireland's creatives have been hit the hardest amid the Covid-19 pandemic. And in others, they have taken the outbreak as an excuse to recharge, regroup, and remind themselves why they became an artist in the first place.

For Megan, the past month or so has been an opportunity to work on new music, to engage in new collaborations, and to try and break through the productivity lull that can often come with self isolation.

"I was supposed to be on tour from mid February almost right through to November and now all those shows are cancelled so that's really difficult - both financially and creatively," she says.

"I am enjoying a lot of elements of the lockdown period. I'm doing a load of online shows, releasing new music, writing new music and collaborating with fellow songwriters and artists over Skype - so that's all fun!

"But I won't lie, some days I really struggle creatively. I think it's hard right now with all that's going on to be focused all the time but I'm trying to make the most of it. There will probably be a few more albums completely written if this continues much longer!"

You can check out Megan's latest single and video below: