Donegal musician’s song for World Alzheimer’s Month

A Donegal musician’s poignant song on the theme of dementia has been picked up by the Alzheimer Society of Ireland for this year’s World Alzheimer’s Month.

Patrick McEleney will release ‘Memory’, a collaboration with fellow singer and songwriter Laura Rai, on September 22 to raise funds for the Alzheimer Society.

The song was written and recorded at Attica Audio in Donegal last summer as part of the Earagail Arts Festival’s recording studio residency.


The duo were tasked with writing a song together and Ballyliffin man Patrick revealed how, when they were thinking of what to write about, they both coincidentally had the topic of dementia and ageing on their minds.

“It came about completely by chance,” said Patrick.

“I had been living away from Donegal for a while but I always kept up to date with the Earagail Arts Festival.

“Last year they ran a residency for people who wanted to go into a recording studio. As a singer and songwriter, I applied and fortunately I won a place on it.

“Myself and Laura were put together and the very first thing we played became the song.

“We were both playing away and we started talking about the piece and how we had both seen it – an old man, a piano player, who had got to the point where he no longer knew his family but he could remember these complicated pieces.”

Following the residency, Laura, a psychology student, happened to mention the recording to one of her professors. He suggested forwarding it to the Alzheimer Society who were looking for new ways to raise money.


“The song was written about the experience of living with dementia and it only felt right that any proceeds from it would go towards helping those who live with the condition – particularly in these difficult times we find ourselves in,” said Patrick.

Memory is accompanied by a video directed by Gareth Stack and the single will be released on Tuesday September 22, It will be available on Spotify, Apple Music and Bandcamp with all proceeds from sales or streams donated to the Alzheimer Society. They in turn will use the money to support vital dementia-specific supports and services.

For Patrick McEleney, who works as an engineer when not performing or writing music, Memory follows hot on the heels of the release last month of his debut single, ‘She’s Gone’. His first EP ‘Only Time Will Tell’ will be released in early 2021.

“I work full-time as an engineer and I do this on the side so it is all brand new to me. But the support from everyone involved has been amazing and it is great to give something back,” he added.

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