Portarlington Showbiz Star
Joseph (Joe) Bracken from Avondale Estate is son of Liz & the late Milo Bracken. Joe went to St. John’s VEC Bracklone St when he finished Primary school & this is where his passion for Cooking started in Home Economics under the direction of June Gallagher. June saw his potential for working with his hands rather than drumming the old Irish into him (Joe’s words). Joe worked in the Deli department in Supervalu after leaving school & from there he went on to study in Athlone in Culinary Arts. After college he headed to Limerick to work as a Chef & from there he worked his way up through the ranks under some wonderful Head Chef’s.
Acting, Music & Singing was always a huge part of Joe’s life. Thanks to the support of his Mam & Dad he went & studied piano with the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Joe was in many Musical Societies. Locally he sang with Killenard musical Society & for many years with the Portarlington Folk Choir.
Over the years after working as a Chef, Joe decided to open his own Restaurant in Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare with the help of his partner Conor. This was very successful for a number of years until the Celtic Tiger came & Joe had to sadly close his wonderful Restaurant.
Never to be one to sit around for long Joe went on to work part-time with Centra in Sixmilebridge & Bunratty Castle. It was while working in Bunratty that Joe started itching to be out there singing & entertaining. With a push from Allison Bowyer (sister of Brendan Bowyer) who is head of entertainment at Knappogue Castle, which is a sister Castle to Bunratty, where Joe also worked as a Chef, he went on for an audition with the famous Bunratty Singers. Allison had seen Joe star in shows with the Shannon Musical Society & also with the Shannon Gospel Choir & knew he had talent. Joe has worked & gained experience with such well known performers as Paddy Casey, Declan O’Rourke & Mark De Lisser (vocal coach with the UK show the Voice).
The audition took place & the rest is History as you can see from the wonderful photo attached. Joe works in Bunratty under the direction of Deirdre Stephenson, Colette Davis & Jackie McGee. Rehearsals started in January & Joe now performs 5 nights a week with 2 shows a night. So folks, if you are ever thinking of wanting to do something different, take a trip to Bunratty Castle & book into the Banquet & hear the wonderful Bunratty Folk Group & see & hear Port’s own Joe Bracken. The Bracken family are so proud of Joe’s success as is his partner Conor. As a tribute to his late father Milo, the Shannon Gospel Choir sang at the months mind Mass for Milo last year. This would have brought such a big smile to Milo’s face.
Joe’s motto in life is … “Taking a risk might not always work in your favour but you will never know unless you take that first step”. Having your family & friends behind you is all the more reason to reach for the Stars.
Appreciation written by Ann (Bourke) Dunne.