Sunday 18 August 2019

Tenor Anthony Kearns survives brush with Hurricane Irma in Florida

Anthony Kearns (left) and a picture he snapped of an uprooted tree outside his Orlando home.
Anthony Kearns (left) and a picture he snapped of an uprooted tree outside his Orlando home.
Anthony Kearns (left) and a picture he snapped of an uprooted tree outside his Orlando home.

By Pádraig byrne

WHEN Kiltealy born tenor Anthony Kearns returns to Ireland for a short run of dates in the coming weeks, he will be leaving behind him some of the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Irma. Now living in Orlando, Florida, Anthony was hunkered down in his home as the storm battered everything in its path and witnessed the panic and devastation that it caused.

'It was absolutely crazy out here,' he said. 'It was like something out of a film. I sat it out at home, but the roads were absolutely chocka-block with people trying to escape and head north. Three days beforehand there were massive queues for petrol, all of the hardware stores completely ran out of wood to board up houses and supplies were very low. People were running around buying up all the supplies they could before they battened down the hatches. Just before the storm there were curfews in place and everything as there were some people going around looting.'

While Anthony initially thought that he would avoid the worst of Irma's wrath entirely, he had a far closer brush with the storm than he would've liked. 'All these warnings were coming through on the news and on the phone,' he said. 'Then the power went out. When it really hit, it was about midnight, so it was pitch black. I listened to all the advice and I was sleeping in the hall away from doors, but I can tell you I didn't sleep a wink! I was up and down and trying to peak out and see what was going on. You could hear the shingles being ripped from the roof and things rolling along the roof. I remember just praying that the windows would hold out and thankfully they did.'

When Anthony awoke to survey the damage, thankfully it wasn't too bad in his area.

'About 80 shingles came off the roof,' he said. 'Then there were trees down all over the place and that kind of thing. I was without electricity for nine days, which in this heat and humidity is a killer because you really need your air conditioning. Thankfully things weren't too bad in my area though. Further south was completely destroyed and the cost will run into billions of dollars.'

In the midst of all this upheaval, Anthony is preparing for his annual pilgrimage home, where he will perform at The Riverside Park Hotel in Enniscorthy, along with dates in The National Concert Hall and Athlone.

'It's always good to get back home,' he said. 'It's great that I get the opportunity to do a few shows here and I'll be home for a little over two weeks.

'I'll be playing the Riverside with myy good friend Patrick Healy, who people know and love at this stage, and we'll be doing a little bit of everything really. Boolavogue will have to come out and we'll be doing some pieces from the musicals, along with some contemporary stuff. It'll be a real night of toe-tapping good fun before I head back to the US to start into our Christmas dates with the Irish tenors starting in November.'

Tickets for the Enniscorthy show are €20 and are available from The Riverside Park Hotel reception, Byrnes Books & Toys in Wexford and Steemers O'Leary Newsagents in Bunclody. Alternatively, they can be bought online at

Wexford People

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