Meet the team
David Kehoe - co-founder of Bealtaine Fire
The whole of my Dad’s side of the family are from Ireland, a small village in Co Wexford called Taylorstown.
Ever since I can remember we would always be excited to go and visit our relatives each year. When we arrived we would be welcomed with open arms and warm hearts.
My Mum and Dad would sit around chatting with all his cousins and uncles and aunties, while me, my brother and sister would go and play with their kids outside until it was time to eat.
And when dinner was served, wow, what a meal it would be. A table full of plates and bowls stacked high with vegetables, meat, potatoes and all sorts of food for us all to get stuck into. And we did! There was always enough to feed a small army, which I suppose is what we were in a way.
Dozens of relatives would arrive to join us for food and laughter. Once the whole family settled down, one of my uncles (or second or third uncles) would tell a story about his youth, and the squabbles he and his siblings would have. Before long, one of those siblings would pipe up and tell him he is telling the story wrong and take over, leading to the re-emergence of an argument that had clearly been played out several times, much to the amusement of us English visitors.
Ireland has always been a big part of my life and indeed who I am. Back home in England we would gather round the TV together for any big football or rugby match and cheer on the Boys in Green. One of my earliest memories is watching Ireland beat the mighty Italy in the World Cup in USA 1994. When Ray Houghton scored the winning goal my Dad jumped up in celebration and did a lap of our living room by running over our two settees. I thought ‘wow, this must be a big deal if Dad is running on the settees’ – we weren’t usually even allowed to put our feet up when we sat down!
From that moment I realised how important Ireland was to my Dad. And so it became equally important to me and has been so ever since.
Here you go, relive that special moment yourself.
Michael Kehoe - co-founder of Bealtaine Fire
I was born in Nottinghamshire to an English mum and Irish dad. While I was born and raised in England, Irish culture has always been every bit as much a part of my life as English.
Some of my early memories include hearing my dad playing Irish folk songs such as ‘Black Velvet Band’ on his acoustic guitar. I soon joined him in learning to play the guitar although I have yet to follow down the banjo and tin whistle paths.
As well as music, the other big influence on our lives was sports. From the great Irish footballers who beat Italy in the 1994 World Cup to boxer Steve Collins – the ‘Celtic Warrior’ who became Ireland’s first two weight world champion.
Supporting these sports stars helped us to stay close to our Irish roots while we were growing up. We came from a fairly big family and many Irish aunties, uncles and cousins would often come over to visit us and other English branches of the family. We would also go across the Irish Sea to Wexford to see our cousins and we’d be treated like kings whenever we stayed.
As well as Wexford, I have visited Dublin and Belfast and enjoyed my time in both cities immensely. I intend to visit plenty more parts of Ireland over the coming years as there is so much to see.
As a lad from an Irish family, I went to Catholic school. Although there were plenty of other Irish kids we didn’t learn much about Irish history or culture. As an adult I became more interested in all things Irish and discovered the proud history and rich culture of Ireland.
I’m delighted to be able to with such a talented artist and designer at Bealtaine Fire whose passion for creating wonderful Celtic artwork shines through with every new project.