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Musician Clare Sands: ‘I never believed in telling my sins to a man in a dress in a box’

The free-spirited singer and fiddler talks to Barry Egan about God, finding a kindred spirit in Liam Ó Maonlaí, her new EP, and winning medals for martial arts representing Ireland

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Clare Sands recorded ‘Iontach Bheith Beo’ (Good to be Alive) with harpist Brídín about summer

Clare Sands recorded ‘Iontach Bheith Beo’ (Good to be Alive) with harpist Brídín about summer

Clare Sands and Susan O'Neill, left, recorded ‘Carry Your Song’, an ode to winter

Clare Sands and Susan O'Neill, left, recorded ‘Carry Your Song’, an ode to winter

To mark spring Clare Sands and Steve Cooney performed ‘Abair Liom Do Ruin’ (Tell Me Your Secrets)

To mark spring Clare Sands and Steve Cooney performed ‘Abair Liom Do Ruin’ (Tell Me Your Secrets)

Kindred spirits Liam Ó Maonlaí and Clare Sands

Kindred spirits Liam Ó Maonlaí and Clare Sands

Liam Ó Maonlaí and Clare Sands. Picture by Kasia Kaminska

Liam Ó Maonlaí and Clare Sands. Picture by Kasia Kaminska

Liam Ó Maonlaí and Clare Sands. Picture by Kasia Kaminska

Liam Ó Maonlaí and Clare Sands. Picture by Kasia Kaminska

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Clare Sands recorded ‘Iontach Bheith Beo’ (Good to be Alive) with harpist Brídín about summer

Seamus Sands was a Catholic from Newry in Northern Ireland; Susan a Protestant from Wexford. They met in Galway in 1991 and fell in love. “I don’t think my father had ever properly met a Protestant before because of where he was from,” their daughter, the traditional Irish singer and fiddler Clare Sands, says.

In 1993, they decided to get married in Galway. “They found it very difficult because of their different religions. They couldn’t get a dispensation to get married.


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