Remembering Ireland’s ‘first international pop star’: Bridie Gallagher

Remembering Ireland’s ‘first international pop star’: Bridie Gallagher

Bridie Gallagher’s son will give a talk about his famous mum, ‘the girl from Donegal’ this week

Over a fifty-year career Ireland’s first truly international pop star sang at sell-out concerts everywhere; from small halls across Ireland to leading venues such as the London Palladium, Royal Albert Hall, the Lincoln Centre in New York and Sydney’s Opera House.

Remembering Ireland’s ‘first international pop star’: Bridie GallagherJim Livingstone has written a new biography, Bridie Gallagher – The Girl from Donegal, and will give a illustrated talk in the Irish World Heritage Centre, Manchester on Friday February 26.

It tells the story of Ireland’s first pop star long before the X Factor, a woman who has 116,000 results on Google, and it also chronicles the singer’s private life not previously exposed, about her mother, grandmother, personality and life struggles. Jim Livingstone is the only surviving son of Bridie Gallagher and he was his mother’s business manager from 1974 and musical director for a period, until she retired in 2000.

He toured with her in Ireland, Britain and North America and, more than anyone else, knew and understood the woman who won the hearts of millions of Irish people around the world.

Mr Livingstone said: “Bridie brought glamour to show business in Ireland, and gave new life to forgotten Irish ballads. Her rise to fame began in the mid-1950s and was marked by enormous crowds wherever she appeared as she won the hearts of legions of fans loyal ever since.

“But as well as phenomenal success, her life was marked by tragedy and loss.”

This biography draws upon Bridie’s own handwritten memoir, interviews with friends, fans and professional colleagues, and Jim’s own personal insights, having worked closely with her.

Daniel O’Donnell provided the foreword, stating: “I always say Bridie was the first to pave the way for all of us that came after.”

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This is the story of a young, beautiful and talented girl from humble beginnings in Donegal who established a career in show business that was to endure for fifty years.

Bridie Gallagher – The Girl from Donegal by Jim Livingstone is published by The Collins Press, price €19.99.

• It is available in all good bookshops and online from www.collinspress. ie.

• Jim’s talk is at 7 p.m. in the Ulster Gallery of the Irish World Heritage Centre. Tickets are £4/£2.50 concession.

• Jim Livingstone is a qualified psychologist, after a career in the NI civil service, he retired in 2012. From 1974 he was his mother’s business manager and, for a period, musical director until she retired in 2000. He toured with her in Ireland, Britain and North America and, more than anyone else, knew and understood the woman who won the hearts of millions of Irish people around the world during a career of fifty years.

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