‘Being Irish abroad was never cool. It’s changed utterly now’ – Bill Whelan

Bill Whelan, the Grammy Award-winning composer, musician and now author, talks to Kate Demolder about growing up in Limerick, the cultural renaissance that was 1990s Ireland and his unwavering belief in Irish creativity

The most common question Bill Whelan, composer, musician and more recently author, is asked in interviews is whether he knew Riverdance would be a hit when he wrote it.

“I’ve been asked so many times that I sometimes feel like saying, ‘Oh yes, of course I did,’” Whelan says. “I just waited until I was 45 to write it.”

Riverdance, the seven-minute piece that premiered as the interval act of Eurovision 1994, was composed in ...