Gerry Sloan was born in the hilly green region of Dundalk on the border with Northern Ireland. Even as a child, Gerry was conscious of the political environment of his country. “The borders, especially. Everyone was aware all of the time,” remembers Gerry. The tranquil Dundalk Bay facing the Irish Sea is celebrated for its beauty and history. It was the backdrop to Gerry’s childhood. Gerry’s father was a publican, the second-generation owner of the pub, Century. Often referred to as Sloan’s Pub, Century was family run. Gerry’s mother and father worked the pub, often with the help of Gerry and his brothers and sisters.
Growing up, there were a lot of children to play with. “There were loads of children roaming the streets,” remembers Gerry. The woods were accessible. Gerry was a keen sportsman, enjoying windsurfing, squash, skiing, and Rugby-, which became a great passion of his. He worked for a time as an outdoor pursuits instructor, teaching windsurfing, hill walking, and canoeing in the picturesque Delphi Valley. The Valley was always an adventure seekers destination. Book ended between the Atlantic Coast and Clew Bay, Delphi Valley’s remote beauty could be attributed to the tall Connemara Mountains, and the romantic Mweelrea Mountain range.
Gerry’s natural curiosity led him to Australia, where he enjoyed the culture of friendship, referred as “mate-ship.” Gerry moved back to Dundalk in 1990. Four years later, he would make an even larger move. Gerry carried a Morrison Visa to Green-bay, Wisconsin. With his flare for life and conversation, Gerry made friends easily in the United States. Gerry naturally hooked up with the local Green-bay Celtic rugby team and as player-coach led them to two undefeated seasons and a mid-west championship. “You have to be totally in the moment when you are playing Rugby,” describes Gerry. “The camaraderie is huge.”
It was also in Green-bay that Gerry picked up a guitar and poured a lifetime’s love for music into the instrument. Gerry taught himself the basics and took some lessons to further his knowledge. Of his inspirations, Gerry found a kindred spirit in such acts as Christy Moore, Paul Brady, The Saw Doctors, and the Waterboys, just to name a few. Originally, Gerry hadn’t envisioned himself onstage. Comfortable with the jam feel of the Irish pubs, Gerry had to adjust when he found himself being booked for American gigs. Gerry became a regular in festivals, local bars, and parties.
The future is wide open. The road calls, as Ireland calls. “I miss family and friends. People are more inclined to hang out in bars and meet each other for the craic (Irish slang for good times). There is an innate curiosity about the Irish,” Gerry says with a grin. “The pub is the poor man’s university.” Check out Gerry’s photographs and upcoming shows in your area.