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Singer and composer Markéta Irglová: ‘For many years, my Oscar was at my parents’ house in The Czech Republic, and they were so worried about it being stolen, they kept it wrapped in a blanket in a closet’

The musician on rewilding Ireland, motherhood and being inspired by Bridgerton

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Markéta Irglová. Picture: Lena Bushart

Markéta Irglová. Picture: Lena Bushart

Markéta Irglová. Picture: Lena Bushart

Born in what was then Czechoslovakia, Markéta Irglová moved to Ireland in 2003 . She won a Best Original Song Oscar in 2008 for co-writing Falling Slowly from the film Once. She lives in Iceland with her music producer husband, Sturla Míó Þórisson, and their three children.

What’s your earliest memory?

My sister, Suzie, being brought back from the maternity hospital when I was three.

When and where were you happiest?

I’m actually the happiest I’ve ever been now, and it’s not so much tied to the place, it’s wherever family is.

What is your biggest fear?

My biggest fear is always losing my children. I also get anxious about war, and I also fear about things like drought and global hunger. I worry about those things very much.

What’s your least, and your most, attractive trait?

I’d say my least attractive is stubbornness. I can be pretty stubborn, to my detriment at times, and a positive one, maybe that I’m passionate about the things I love.

What trait do you deplore most in others?

It’s definitely arrogance and greed.

What’s the first thing you’d do if you were Taoiseach?

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I would introduce an initiative to rewild Ireland and introduce some laws about protecting your beautiful nature, which is being stamped on. It seems to me like you are losing a lot of it to agriculture — just people not appreciating all the beautiful trees and wild places.

Who would you most like to go for a pint with?

[Reformed landscape designer] Mary Reynolds, my dear friend. We are like sisters and I have been very inspired by her Ark movement that she started in Ireland, and globally as well, to give any land under your care back to nature, and we try and apply that in Iceland.

Which fictional character do you most identify with?

The last time I felt I identified with a fictional character, it was the character of Clare in The Time Traveler’s Wife series.

What is your biggest insecurity?

Belonging.

What is your most treasured possession?

I have two. It would be my Mother Mary enamel and gold necklace that I got when my children were born, so I treasure it very much, and also my Steinway piano. I used whatever money I had saved up from the Once on Broadway income to build the studio, and then the first equipment I bought for it was the piano.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?

I actually don’t have one. I don’t feel guilty about anything that I enjoy.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

It’s better to be free than be right.

When did you last cry, and why?

Watching the news. I try and avoid watching it because I usually cry.

Who would play you in a film of your life?

My daughter, Mia. She’s eight now and she would probably do a good-enough job.

Do you believe in a god?

Yes, I believe in God.

What’s your favourite word?

Grace.

What’s the last TV show you binge-watched?

Bridgerton. I’ve always enjoyed period dramas, and the show actually inspired me to write a love song called The Season.

What’s been your closest brush with the law?

Speeding in a car.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

To not rush anywhere and just be in the here and now.

If you could have a super power, what would it be?

The ability to heal anything and anyone.

What has motherhood taught you?

It has taught me that I come from a long line of women and mothers, and that I can draw on that strength and wisdom of all those generations before me.

Where do you keep your Oscar statuette?

For many years after the Oscars, it was at my parents’ house in The Czech Republic, and they were so worried about it being stolen, they kept it wrapped in a blanket in a closet. Eventually, with great relief, they let me take it to Iceland, and it’s now in the studio in the same room as my piano.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Let It Be by The Beatles.

Markéta Irglová’s new album, ‘Lila’, will be released in late August. Her single, ‘The Season’, is out this week, available on all streaming services. marketairglova.com


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