Saturday, 17 January 2009


Sean McCarron is originally from Strabane and now lives in Lisfannon with his wife Mary. He works as a tutor at the Letterkenny VEC teaching a subject he is passionate about, the saxophone. He has been in bands since his early days starting with a group called Quarterdeck. Sean is also a session musician with a lot of well known musicians and also plays the saxophone live with five different bands throughout the Northwest and beyond. His life changed dramatically ten years ago when he had a miraculous escape from death after a motorbike accident outside of his house. He survived after being hit by three different cars on the Lisfannon road. He did sustain serious life threatening injuries and nearly every bone in his body was broken. Sean holds the rather unnerving honour of being the only man in Ireland to survive after being hit by three vehicles in succession…. Sean is still keen on motorbikes and has a classic Triumph and an Indian Chief to renovate as well as riding his modern BMW… He also loves the quirky Citroen DS cars from the 1960’s and 70’s and renovates them in his spare time.

What music are you listening to at the moment?
I’m listening to music from the Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek at the moment; he played with the Jazz musician Keith Garrett for a long time. I also enjoy listening to R+B, Blues, Jazz, Funk and classical music. I find in my line of business its good to keep listening to a broad range of music.

What book are you reading?
Ted Simons book, Jupiter’s Travels. It was his first book from 1977 about his four-year journey around the world on a Triumph motorcycle. It was the inspiration for Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor’s trips. I also have the Belfast travel writer, Geoff Hills book on the go, The Road to Gobblers Knob: From Chile to Alaska on a Motorbike.

What was your favourite childhood game?
I grew up in the troubles in the North so we usually played games such as Cowboys and Indians, anything that involved guns. I didn’t like guns at all - especially when you were on the wrong side of them.

Have you been to the cinema recently, what did you see and was it any good?
I go to the cinema nearly every Sunday. I have two gigs on that day, one in the morning and one later in the evening so I have a window of opportunity. I will watch anything that doesn’t have people singing in it. I don’t care much for operettas and musicals… everything else is fine…

What section of the newspaper do you turn to first?
None…. I tune into the radio. Radio 3-4 or Lyric FM. The news is more up to date. A relation of mine said that the only truth in a paper is on the top right of the front cover….(the price..)

What would you never throw away?
My health. After almost dying tree times I value every day. If anyone asks me how old I am I say either 48, when I was born..10, which is how many years after my accident or 3 which is how long it has been since my heart attack…

Favourite TV programme?
I love travel documentaries. Anything that includes motorised transport is also an added bonus. Michael Palin’s programmes are very good.

What job did you want to do when you were a child?
My dad is a farmer and I wanted to follow in his footsteps. I loved one minute tending to the animals and the next being up to my elbows in oil looking after the tractor

Where was your best holiday and what made it special?
I went to Greece in 1986 for a holiday on invitation from Mary who was working over there teaching with the British Council on a TEFL scheme. I went for two weeks but stayed for two years and did loads of travelling Europe.

What famous people would you invite around for dinner and why?
Michael Parkinson would be the first guest. He has interviewed so many people so it would be like inviting a condensed version of all of his guests as he could talk about them. I would also invite the singer Billie Holliday and the tenor saxophone player Coleman Hawkins.

What do you do for a special treat?
I have just one vice…. Chocolate.

Favourite animal?
A border collie dog called Theira, who was named after the black volcanic sand on the island of Santorini, (it also translates to Gate). It is a bit of a strange name I suppose.

Biggest thrill?
It’s having the time to go where I want to go on a motorbike. I love the smells on a summer’s day when you get when travelling….

Biggest Challenge?
Surviving the accident on the 11th of November 10 years ago and the long road to getting my health back.

What was the best present you ever got?
My Indian Chief motorbike. The company made bikes from the turn of the 20th century and stopped in the 1950’s. My bike is from 1941 and is the only bike that has the throttle on the left hand side handlebars. This was because the police used them and needed to keep their speed up whilst chasing and shooting at criminals.

What was the last thing you bought just for yourself?
A radio for one of my Citroens. It’s an original Autoluz model and only 5 inches wide. I will be sending it away to get the insides brought up to date so they can get FM stations and play MP3’s. Am I being an anorak?

The world’s most irritating/most useful invention?
The television fits both categories. A dichotomy… It’s both educational and irritating

Favourite past-time?
Tinkering in my shed with the cars and bikes.

Which period in history would you most like to have lived through?
The American 1930’s and 40’s. The music from New York was amazing. I was influenced by my uncle who was a radio ham and got programmes called Voice of America and Reel 2 Reel when I was young and stayed up until the early morning listening to Jazz

What do you have for breakfast?
In winter its porridge, tea, toast and marmalade.

What was your first paid job?
I played saxophone at a variety show in Strabane back in 1973. It was my first pay and my first gig….

What is the best/worst piece of advice you have been given?
My mam would say... “Don’t be there ‘till your back and if you fall. Don’t take time to get up, just run on”… I wouldn’t know if that was good or bad advice…

Personal philosophy?
Enjoy what you do but most of all do what you enjoy….

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