FEATURE

My Donegal Life with the amazing Little John Nee

Little John Nee is an exceptionally talented writer and musician

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My Donegal Life with the amazing Little John Nee

What's your idea of a perfect day, or perfect weekend out in Donegal?

I’ve had so many perfect days of so many different varieties in Donegal I don’t know where to begin. A perfect day might begin by writing for an hour or so as I do that every morning and I love it. After that maybe a leisurely breakfast outdoors if possible, porridge with honey and bananas with Bjork. I’d have to do a bit of mindfulness meditation because to tell the truth I wouldn’t be sure where to bring her first and I’d be getting stressed in case I might bump into relations and they’d be looking at her funny like “no word of ye getting married?” I’d bring her to Gartan to impress her, stop and skim some stones on the lake and write a song together. On to Glenveagh, swing by Attica Studio’s and make an album with Altan and then on to the Poison Glen where we’d get out of the car and take a selfie of the pair of us smiling blissfully. Drop into the Dunlewey Centre and show her the ducks; then take the wee back road to Gortahork past Cashel na gCorr. Go for a walk, holding hands on Magheroarty beach, probably write another song. Not a long walk because we’d want to go over to Arranmore for a quick spin before lunch. Obviously we haven’t eaten since breakfast at five in the morning so we’d be starving, probably stop off in Lidl in Dungloe and get some ingredients for a romantic picnic. I imagine after the picnic we’d take a nap in the car.

I wouldn’t have time to visit people so I’d be phoning them to explain why I was passing by without calling in, just in case they’d see me driving by and think “now he’s hanging out with Bjork he thinks he’s too good for us” Then we’d tear up to Fanad and round Knockalla and go swimming at a quiet place I know. By nine o clock I’d hope to be in Mc Daids Wine Bar in Ramelton listening to Tom Waits and Percy Robinson playing live. About midnight we’d head down to Gweedore looking for craic.


Who has made the greatest contribution to Donegal in your lifetime - and why?

Generally, I believe good things happen as a result of communities but if I had to single out one person it’d be David Bowie without a doubt. The seventies were bleak enough and he brought a different perspective and music that changed everything. He opened things up when things needed opening. I believe his influence has been enduring.


What's your first Donegal memory?

I remember the view of Lough Swilly from Listillion when I was four and we’d just arrived on the Derry Boat that morning.


What do you think gives Donegal its unique identity?

The landscape is so incredibly beautiful that it gets into the soul of people. All the time my mother lived in Glasgow she still had the Donegal landscape in her eyes.

Do you have a favourite local author?

So many. Very fond of Peadar O’Donnell. But if push came to shove it would have to be Patrick McGill and Moya Cannon.


What's the biggest challenge facing the county today?

Global-warming.

If you had the power to change one thing in, or about Donegal, what would it be?

I’d change all the road signs to Sanskrit so nobody would know where they were going and we’d all just drive around the county, lost, enjoying the scenery. In electric cars.