Friday 16 November 2018

'I know I'll play again' - Eurovision winner and fiddle player who broke both her arms

FALLING FOR A FIDDLER: Fionnuala Sherry of Secret Garden. Photo: Tony Gavin
FALLING FOR A FIDDLER: Fionnuala Sherry of Secret Garden. Photo: Tony Gavin
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

Eurovision Song Contest winner Fionnuala Sherry hasn't picked up a violin since February 2. It will be a few months before the 52-year-old can even think about the possibility of ever playing again.

Yesterday the beautiful blonde cancelled her act Secret Garden's 20th anniversary tour in Norway. "It was going to be filmed and there was a lot of people involved," she said.

Fionnuala had no alternative; as she is unable to physically play the instrument that has made her famous in Scandinavia and across Asia where Secret Garden - her group with Rolf Lovland - play sell-out tours to hundreds of thousands of fans. It was, as she says herself, a violinist's worst nightmare.

On February 2, Fionnuala was coming back from getting the paper on Shelbourne Road in Dublin at 9am with her dog Yogi when she tripped.

"I went up in the air and landed in enormous pain. I knew immediately I had broken both arms. I just knew," she said. "I could feel I was going unconscious.

"I was lying there, thinking: 'How am I going to play the violin again?' Because my wrist was really mangled, and the pain was horrendous, absolutely terrible."

Fionnuala also recalls that a few people came to her immediately as she lay on the ground.

She knew she was falling unconscious, so she gave them her husband Bernard Doyle's number and asked them to ring him and tell him to come and get Yogi. They also called an ambulance, which brought her to St Vincent's Hospital nearby.

"I was operated on that day because the breaks were so bad. The surgeon was Paul Curtain. He did an amazing operation limiting the nerve damage as much as possible. We talked before and after the operation. He totally understood the risks involved for me," Fionnuala said, adding that she didn't cry until she got home from the hospital to her husband.

The Naas-born musician, who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1995 with Secret Garden, added she broke her right wrist (her bowing arm, "what I hold the bow with and that wrist is crucial to what I do for a living") and her left elbow.

"I know I will play again. I am so determined. I know what's ahead. I have more surgery down the road. I have to get the plates in the left elbow out.

"I can just about brush my teeth at the moment. I am getting better but it is challenging. I have months of rehab," she said, thanking her husband, long-term personal trainer Pat Henry and her physio, Dr Marie Elaine Grant.

"I am absolutely determined to get through all this," said Fionnuala.

Sunday Independent

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