What is your relationship like with your sister Enya? : “Absolutely great. We don’t talk about it much, so people just kind of speculate, but we agreed from long time ago not to bother. When things are said about us, we don’t bother answering. We sing together at home. We get up with our father and do things. She has adopted a kind of a way in her life that she delivers her music. A lot of people don’t think she has a family even, because she doesn’t bring family into her interviews. She’s built borders around herself and her music – and we respect that. That’s the way she’s given her image, and that’s fine. We just respect that, and we’re just different in doing that.”

“Enya really has done amazing for herself, she’s a superstar. And despite reports otherwise, we five sisters are the best of friends. We have good times when the girls get together.”

“We’re really thrilled about her success. She’s worked hard at it. I like being where I am. Being in the superstar bracket is great for her; I like being able to do everyday things myself, going out with the kids and taking a train or a bus. ”

“Enya wanted to take what she learned from us [Clannad] and move on with her own music. What’s wrong with that? There isn’t any rivalry as such. She’s a wonderful aunt to my kids. She’s been wonderful to my parents. And that makes me very happy. We share lots. We’re still a very close family. ”

“We have great fun in that castle! It’s a proper castle, it’s fabulous and she’s done on it. Enya has taken the road of creating this kind of vibe around her and we respect that. Brídín is taking one road with her kind of music, while Enya has taken the road of how she wants to present herself. She’s very much contained herself into a separate identity, she’s worked really really hard on it and truly we respect that.”

“Enya went after a certain image, and that’s the way she wanted her life to be. She preserves her life so that she can record the kind of music that she likes to make. We’re all really proud of her, of course. When she is home with us, she is such a family girl. She is so good to my children, she is a wonderful auntie to them. The family means an awful lot to her, and our get togethers enable her to relax and let her hair down. She’s a happy person. She does live like that, but she does see the family all the time when she’s not off doing some promotional tour. She’s absolutely wonderful to our parents. She’s very generous and kind. She is quiet, and I suppose that’s the road she wants to take. To us, she hasn’t changed. She’s just Enya to us, but she does take a different approach to the public all right. ”

“Enya left school in 1979, and we [Clannad] had already been a nucleus, so it was probably difficult for her. She wanted to go off and do her own thing. Tensions were created because we never answered any of the questions. If you’re going to answer questions, people aren’t going to believe you anyway. The proof of the pudding is that Enya is my sister, and I love her dearly, and we get on really, really well. There’s no way you’d get away with it in our family, anyway. She’s a wonderful aunt to my kids. We all go through troubled times, on and off, but you get on with life, don’t you?”

“There aren’t an awful lot of similarities. It’s the same influences, the same family, the same mum and dad, the same geographical area. When people say Clannad or my solo work sounds like Enya, well, this kind of music didn’t exist before Clannad and Enya. Harry’s Game was done before Enya did the layering of voices, and created what they call ‘ethereal’ and ‘haunting’.”

Máire’s biography “The Other Side of the Rainbow”

“Then there were music lessons. Mummy by that time was teaching music herself but it’s never a good idea to try to teach your own, so she sent us off for piano lessons with Sister DeSales at the convent in Falcarragh. … There was only one rooom, so if weren’t being taught at the piano we’d play dominoes on the floor. We tried to keep as quiet as posssible so she might forget we were there, but of course children trying to keep quiet is always a recipe for disaster. Eithne was a terrible giggler. I would get cross and tell her to ‘shush’. Then Deirdre would start and before long we’d all be rolling on our tummies, stuffing our hands in our mouths to try to stifle our snorts and giggles.” [34-35]

“It was 1979 and our younger sister, Eithne, was finishing school. She had become a very accomplished pianist and was keen to pursue a music career so it seemed a very natural progression that she should join the band. We had the keyboard player we needed and, being a member of the family, her voice blended very well with our sound. We also had a string of summer festivals arranged and it was lovely for me to have another girl on the road.” [114]

“Playing in a family band has many advantages, but it can often mean that when the going gets tough you take it out on each other with a liberty that only family can tolerate. I suppose it had always been difficult for Eithne. We loved what she brought to the band, but I know it was hard for her to infiltrate our years as a tightly knit nucleus. Musically, Ciaran and Pol had always been the creative force, and Noel, Padraig and myself had then worked our own expression around them. It was a good formula that worked well. Inevitably, when Eithne joined us full time, she found it hard. She hadn’t been part of the original song-collecting days and consequently didn’t share our enthusiasm for the old songs. I suppose she always felt little more than a ‘guest musician’. As sisters we had always been close and talked about everything together, so I was sorry when band business caused a strain between us. One day, just after the tour, Eithne announced that she had decided to leave Clannad. She was going to pursue a solo career with Nicky Ryan as her manager. In the long term it turned out to be a good decision. I missed her, but I’m sure the apprenticeship with Clannad helped Eithne develop her own sound and afforded her strong contacts in the music business. She is talented and ambitious and, in the years that followed, the family was delighted to watch the success that came her way.” [121]

“Over the years I have learnt to be on my guard but, as any artist will testify, you are completely poerless if a writer has a certain agenda. There have been many damaging articles that have hurt my family deeply stories about our relationships, particularly between myself and Enya. We resolved in the early days not to talk about our private lives but, especially in Enya’s case, this has often led to more intrigue and false speculation. For an artist, it is the unfortunate consequence of being in the public eye, but what makes me really angry is the way the family inevitably bears the suffering.” [151]

“As autumn approached, the record company suggested we should do a compilation album of favourite tracks, plus a couple of new songs. … Meanwhile, Eithne had been working on her album and the single, ‘Orinoco Flow’, was released while we were in the studio. We were so excited for her. It was already at number eleven in the charts and we felt sure it was going to go up. We’d watched her on Top of the Pops the week before, so come Sunday evening we expectantly gathered in the house near the studio to listen to the Top Forty. Our youngest brother, Bartley, was working in London and he came over to be with us to hear the news. Number one! We were all shouting and screaming and hugging each other and you couldn’t have heard the record playing above the din in the room. First we spoke to Eithne on the phone. More squealing. She was so happy and we knew that sharing the moment with us, even over the telephone, was very special. Then we rang our brother Leon who was over in Donegal. He’d been driving Mammy to church and they’d been frantically trying to get the radio station on the car radio so they could hear the result. The whole family were over the moon. That evening at dinner we had a bottle of champagne and toasted Eithne’s success.” [194-195]

“Christmas that year was everything that a family Cristmas should be. All the sisters were at home and, being a couple of weeks before I was to get married, it was more ‘girly’ than ever. On Christmas Eve I went down to help my sister Olive who was running the bar at the time. Deirdre, Eithne and Bridin went with Mammy to Midnight Mass and joined the rest of the family later on. … On Christmas Day the traditional Brennan Christmas continued in full swing. It was wonderful that we could all be at home together. The girls set about preparing the meal while the boys rearranged the furniture so we could all sit around the table together. Eithne had just got a video camera and was skulking from room to room trying to catch everyone at their most embarrassing. It didn’t take much to get us to act accordingly and the house was full of laughter and song.” [214-215]

“Over at the church, our own guests had started to murmur. I heard the stories afterwards from poor Eithne who sat alone on the left-hand side of the church, cringing and willing the family to arrive. She had been there for what must have seemed like ages, having rehearsed the song she was to sing, and was now enduring the intensity of the wait as all Tim’s family and our friends had arrived and taken their places. … After our vows Eithne sang a psalm. … Towards the end of the service all four of my sisters took their place in front of us and sang ‘Close to You, Lord’. … I’m sure some of the congregation thought the girls were giggling, but the truth was that they were so overcome with emotion that they all but sobbed their way through the final chorus.” [228-229]