Lucia Butler speaks to the winner Michael Regan and his mentor Jimmy Buckley a Country singer from Limerick, at the grand finale of Glór Tíre at The Quays in Galway.
Michael, from Loughrea, Co. Galway, works in auctioneering and financial services but has been involved in music from a very young age.
He is a popular warm-up man at venues around Galway, Mayo and Roscrea.
He was elected to the Galway County Council in 1991 and was Mayor during 2011-2012.
Speaking of his victory he said: “I was thrilled and excited just to be in the final but to win it is just fantastic.
“I was so pleased when Ireland’s top class entertainer Jimmy Buckley asked me to be his contestant in Glór Tíre and I jumped at the chance because Jimmy could have asked anyone.
“I’m glad that I didn’t let him down when I got to the final.
“When you want something in life you have got to put down your head and go for it and that is what I’ve been doing at all my gigs which I’m happy to say has now paid off and I’m going from strength to strength.
“Since the first recording back in October it’s been a long campaign up to the middle of April to the final – the nerves were there of course as it’s only natural.”
All nine hopeful contestants had, over fourteen weeks, to show their range from American Country, to Irish, and ballads. How did he get on with his eight fellow contestants, given there could only be one winner?
“Yes, of course I built up great friendships with the eight other fabulous contestants and wish each of them well but I know they will all go on to perform on bigger stages at a later time.
“I’m thrilled to have won and really it’s a double celebration for me tonight as it’s my daughter Emma’s 27th birthday. Unfortunately my other daughter, Brenda, could not be here tonight as she is Dubai.
“I was very happy just to get to the final as it meant I got loads of free publicity, win lose or draw, because we still need to get up and go to work as life goes on.”
His mentor Jimmy Buckley, a Country singer from Limerick, spoke of his pride at his protégé.
“It’s great to see a local man from Galway win. He has put a lot of effort into the competition and I’ve travelled around the country with him from Killarney to Wexford and up to County Down.
“He mingled with the crowds and was very popular which makes all the difference to the votes. He puts on a great one man show and I’m sure his 2014 diary will be very busy and his popularity will grow after this fantastic win”.
A follow-up to his first album The Galway Celts is promised soon but for the time being fans of his music will have to make do with his single, Let Me Be There.
For more information about Michael go to www.michaelregan.ie or call 00 353 (0)91 847200