Tales from the Holywell review: Damien Dempsey’s theatrical performance at the Abbey is like a life story with songs

Halfway through his show, Damien Dempsey tells a yarn about American daytime TV and a messianic preacher performing a cod miracle. Watching it, Dempsey almost chokes and dies on cheesy snacks. It’s a funny story. But by the end of his show, it becomes clear that there is something of the old-style messianic preacher about Damo. He has a message, he has a moral — and he wants to heal.

hen he was a little ‘un, one of his grandmothers suggested he was very quiet and that he would make a good priest. This prompted him to start pretending to be a guitarist, to put his relations off the idea. But his current vision is highly spiritual, harking back to a pre-Christian Ireland, a druidic concoction of premonitions and hauntings.

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