With the arrival of the recession, have you cut back on any spending?
I'm a musician! The Celtic Tiger was never a part of our band. Never even tried to audition. In our business, no one gains or loses too much during a boom or recession. After saying that, the Altans have cut back on some 'on the road' expenses.
What three things would you not be able to do without if you were tightening your belt?
The usual. Mobile phone, car and my instruments, of course. Without the instruments, there would be no belt to tighten!
Do you shop in Lidl or Aldi?
I shop in both occasionally. I would have been aware of those supermarkets long before they arrived in Ireland -- touring abroad, I have shopped in both.
What's your worst customer service experience?
One of the Irish airlines (the younger one). We had flown back from Europe and were due to play the Ballyshannon Folk Festival. All the baggage was lost including instruments. The girl at the lost baggage desk eventually told us she didn't care where our stuff was!
What car do you drive and how much does it cost to fill up the petrol tank?
I drive an eight-year-old Mercedes. Over 160,000 miles on the clock and still going great. It costs €75 to €80 to fill with diesel. It's annoying spending that especially if you've done the same thing somewhere like America the previous week for a fraction of that.
What was your first job and salary?
I had a weekend/summer job with Jim McConnell who distributes soft drinks in my home town of Buncrana and beyond. During the summer, it was "full-time". I cannot remember exactly how much I got paid but I'm sure it was above the average minimum wage for a 13-year-old at the time. As it happened, his niece Rachael worked with us in Dublin minding our three children for a year before going to university. Keep it in the family. . .
What would you like to achieve in work this year?
We are about to start recording a new record. After that, it's back touring. Hopefully it will be another great year for Altan.
I have plans to make a record with my teacher, Dinny McLaughlin. He's almost 76 years old, but it's me that's holding things up. 2011 for the new record, Dinny! Another 'string to my bow' (ahem) is the new Ranelagh Irish Music Academy. It's for anyone interested in learning traditional music. Check out rima.ie.
Do you have any family connection with business?
My sister, Angela, teaches piano. We started music lessons on the same day with Dinny.
What businessman or woman do you most admire?
A lot of people who had no part to play in the financial demise of Ireland are suffering hugely as a result. Anyone who can come out at the far end deserves applause.
What was your best investment?
Building our house in Dublin. It was before the big cat arrived so, in terms of equity, we are on the positive side.
What's the biggest financial mistake you ever made?
Haven't made any huge ones so far. Everything goes into the house and family.
Do you know what interest rate you're paying on your mortgage?
It's a tracker mortgage at 1.85% (I know what a tracker mortgage is!!!) We'll never get such a deal again so staying put for a while.
Have you switched your bank or moved your mortgage in the last couple of years?
No, we've been with Ulster Bank since day one. All Altan stuff is with AIB.
If you won the Euromillions, what would you do with the money?
Just keep touring until it's all gone! Seriously, I'd look after family, colleagues and friends.
What have you got in your wallet today?
Some cash, a driving licence and a few credit cards.
If you could design your own euro note, whose face would you put on it?
I'd put my wife, Siobhan on it. Sure I wouldn't spend anything after that!
What would you spend more money on each year? Petrol or restaurants.
Far too much on both although the diesel is necessary.
Have you ever been overcharged by a bank?
Not that I know of.
Have you ever made an insurance claim?
I had a small claim on my car insurance a number of years ago.
How much is a bag of chips?
About €2.50 in Ranelagh.
Donegal-born Ciaran Tourish plays fiddle with Altan. The traditional folk group performs at Christ Church Cathedral this Wednesday, January 26, as part of Temple Bar TradFest. More information at www.templebartrad.com
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