Who is Liam Ó Maonlaí?

Liam and friends
Liam and friends

He is the cool guy with the long green scarf on a bus to Dublin airport.

He is the lead singer of the Hothouse Flowers.

He was on his way to London to appear at the Albert Hall (although I didn’t know it at the time).

He is singing there this evening along with Glen Hansard and Irena Marketa Irglova who are touring under the name The Swell Season.

Glen Hansard of Irish band The Frames and Marketa Irglova first happened upon one another when The Frames were touring the Czech Republic. In 2005 they recorded an album together in Prague, ‘The Swell Season’, which was released in April 2006.


Since the release of the film, Once, (one of my all time favourites!) Glen and Marketa have toured extensively as ‘The Swell Season’ and appeared on a number of high profile US TV shows including ‘Letterman’ and ‘Tonight Show’ with Jay Leno’.

This Irish success story was rounded off in February 2008 by winning an Academy Award for ‘Falling Slowly’ in the ‘Best Original Song’ category.

So Liam must be pretty good to be singing along with them right?

He is not only a singer but in the way of many artistic people also artistic in the literal sense of the word. His artwork has featured on cd packaging.



The Hothouse Flowers formed in 1985. Rolling Stone called them the best unsigned band and they soon supported U2. Their first album People was the most successful debut album in Irish music history at the time. They went on to complete seven albums in all having been signed by London Records.

More recently they were signed by Rubyworks an Irish label which counts Sinead O’Connor among its artists to release their album Your Love Goes on which critics have described as a major improvement on their former work. By this time the members of the band had reduced in number to Ó Maonlaí  and three others.

Recently he has been on a “musical journey through modern day Africa”.
Ó Maonlaí  along with Paddy Keenan travelled to a number of music events in Mali that culminated in a unique performance at the world’s most remote music festival “Festival au Desert.” This will be documented in the film Dambe – the Mali Project.

He too is a blogger…….

Born of musical parents in Ireland in 1964 he plays the piano, the tin whistle and the bodhran (he was carrying his bodhran with him yesterday!) as well as singing. So he is many things….!




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