Music with Rockin Rowley: Can't slow Feeney down
Top Irish country singer Patrick Feeney's world came crashing down at the age of 30. In March 2013, Feeney's physical condition was that of an old man. "I was so angry and so depressed," he says.
Four years earlier, the cattle farmer and entertainer from Culfadda, Co Sligo, had been diagnosed with Crohn's disease, which affects the digestive system. "I got treatment and it was pretty much under control," Patrick reveals.
Two years later came the shock news that he also had Ankylosing Spondylitis, a rare form of arthritis which affects every joint in the body.
At that point, Patrick had established himself as one of the new country sensations, with a hectic schedule playing dance venues nationwide.
"What really frightened me was the day a consultant told me that if I didn't change my life I'd end up in a wheelchair," he reveals.
The singer immediately cut back on his touring schedule, and with treatment his condition has improved. "I'm not as energetic as I was and I get tired a lot easier, but I space out my performing over the year," he says. "The rest of the time I'm down on the farm."
The Sligo man breeds Limousin cattle on his 40-ac farm at Culfadda. "It's light farming for me and it's like a hobby," he says.
As well as being a star in his own right, Feeney is a celebrated performer in Irish supergroup The Three Amigos with Jimmy Buckley and Robert Mizzell.