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The original idea for this musical came from Killorglins own Pa Houlihan, who sadly, but peacefully, passed away in February 2010. Pa was renowned for his basement museum in the town where his passion for all things related to Circus life was so vividly displayed for all to see. Pa felt that Johnny Patterson had been to some extent forgotten in the passage of time, and though so many of his songs are still regularly performed today, their composers name has somehow been overlooked. Pa suggested to Declan that a musical tribute would be the ideal way to revive awareness of Patterson's contribution to the Irish song 'library'. A  year or two passed between original suggestion and the emergence of a script, but now, Pa's idea has become both reality and success.

Johnny Patterson - The Musical is a project that was never intended as a musical 'docu-drama'; so we hope expert historians will forgive us the modest poetic licence we have taken. Indeed, it is worth pointing out that Declan's adaptation of the romantic element of Pattersons life, woven so sensitively into the factual side of the story, is based on the fiction, or maybe fantasy (though the lady herself was real enough!) of one of Patterson's best loved songs, Biddy Donahue.

The legacy left by Johnny Patterson is greater in quality and quantity than many realise, and his life story, not only fascinating and moving, also has poignant resonances with recent events. Declan & Mick both sincerely hope that their tribute to Patterson will be seen as an opportunity to celebrate the life and work of a man whose reputation deserves to be higher in the national consciousness.

Click on this link for a look at a paper cutting  (from the time when Pa lived in Dublin)
which illustrates Pa's longstanding loyalty to the legacy of Johnny Patterson

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