Sunday 25 February 2018

Imelda May on growing up in the Liberties and sharing a bedroom with her parents

Imelda May "loved" sharing a bedroom with her brother and parents growing up in the Liberties.

May shared the room with one of her brothers and her two parents until she was 14. "It was fun, we were... cosy!"

One of May's brothers shared with two of her sisters in the second room of the house until he "got too old to be sharing with girls." He was on the top bunk and "If he woke up too quick, he'd smack his head off the ceiling."

May's father expanded the house when her brother needed his own room, removing the staircase and building a box room. "With his bare hands, by himself he did that."

"One by one, as people moved out, you'd be delighted if you got into the box room."

May has no regrets on her childhood or living in such close quarters. "I didn't know any different... I loved being part of a gang. I had a very happy childhood."

Imelda May and six year old Ava Leahy. Photo@ Patrick Bolger
Imelda May and six year old Ava Leahy. Photo@ Patrick Bolger
‘I think I’d like to be one of those eccentric 80-year-old women’ - May and husband, Darrel Higham, at the filming of ‘Glaoch - The President’s Call’
Imelda May recently launched her fourth album
‘I always felt a bit different. Is that odd?’ — May duets with Bono in a surprise guest appearance at her concert in Dublin in December 2011
Imelda May
Imelda May

"In my house, there was loads of love. Loads of madness, but loads of love."

May is delighted to be able to "give back" to her parents, who took her and her brother and sisters on family holidays even when times were tough.

On one such excursion to France, the family could only afford to take a select few to see each attraction, and tried to find a fair system of deciding when something was in high demand.

"We flipped coins to see who would get to see whatever."

"Then when you come down, you'd be chatting all night about what you did."

May can now put her parents up in hotels when they come to her gigs, and they travel with her around the world.

"The first time we all stayed in the Shelbourne, I found my Mam on the phone. She had a big long list and she was ringing people saying "Guess where I am!"

"I'm glad I can give back to my parents, they gave everything to us all our lives. They're loving it!"

Watch the video above for the full interview with's Barry Egan.


We’re giving away three pairs of VIP tickets to Imelda’s O2 concerts in December. One lucky winner will also get to meet the star and get a signed copy of her new album.

To win, all you have to do is answer the following question: Where in Dublin is Imelda May from?

Email your answer to with 'Imelda May' in the subject line to be in with a chance to win.

Online Editors

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