By Rose Barrett
Music man Mikey Smyth has been spotted entertaining homeless people with his ‘Homeless Rock’ – not only bringing good cheer through his songs but also delivering hot soup and treats.
Along with his wife Victoria and often their children Mick, Tommy and Poppy aged from 8-12 years, the family brought nutritious soup donated by FOAM Coffee House in Terenure.
Mikey told Dublin Gazette: “I brought the soup in flasks, and then poured them into drinks containers and handed them out before I launched into my music repertoire.
“There are homeless everywhere. I’ve been out to Rathmines, to Marion Road in Rathfarnham and out to Tallaght, where sadly, there is a huge number of homeless people”.
At first, some of those Mikey serenaded were a little sceptical but as they recognised the song, they joined in, enjoying both the diversion and the entertainment.
He said: “Before I got into this, I was singing in pubs and venues, and at nursing homes. I used to perform at the Belmont, the Marley, TLC but the Covid restrictions put paid to that.”
Mikey was touched by the generosity of FOAM donating beverages, and grateful to Kevin Flynn of BDS Vending Solutions who donated a large stock of minerals, crisps and chocolate treats.
“The last two weekends, the weather was horrendous, so I went out earlier this week and distributed the treats,” he explained. “Victoria records many of my videos when I’m out and Linton Walsh of Golf Digest Ireland gave us two weather proof jackets to withstand the rain and cold.”
When the pandemic shut down Mikey’s music business, he initially went into the gardens and car parks of nursing homes and sang through the windows to the residents who so appreciated it.
Then he bought a trailer and decorated it.
He said: “I put my musical equipment on it, added a generator to run the sound system so basically, I had a mobile stage with a sound effect system.”
He began touring the neighbourhoods, and hence, ‘Neighbourhood Rock’ commenced.
“Eventually word got out and people started I got bookings for street parties/community events (in between restriction levels).
“Everybody would have been outside in their front garden when I performed. It was such a buzz, some of them hadn’t seen each other for weeks. I entertained at Fortfield Drive, Terenure and Dargle Wood Green in Knocklyon to mention but a couple.
“I also went to Bloomfield Health Services in Stocking Lane, Rathfarnham and drove to all the different sections of the hospital where I sang at each.”
Mikey felt he’d like to give a little back and Neighbourhood Rock became ‘Homeless Rock’.
He revealed: “If everybody showed a little kindness to the homeless especially in the winter – and this will be the longest winter ever – it would really help. I don’t know how they cope on the streets, it’s so cold, I can feel the damp rising even when I’m playing.”
Housing charity Focus Ireland lauded Mikey’s efforts. A spokesperson said: “This is a kind act from Mikey and we are always delighted to see people’s generosity especially in the lead up to Christmas.
“People can find out more ways to help our crucial homeless services by logging onto focusireland.ie.”
Mikey was recently employed by Dublin City Council, who liaise with Applewood Homecare. The company provide carers attending individuals living at home and the council hired Mikey to entertain some elderly people living in isolation.
He revealed: “On Friday 13 November I went to a lady in Gurteen Avenue, Ballyfermot, where I was asked to give a Johnny Cash performance! She loved it.
“For another one, I had to dress as Elvis for an elderly citizen in Terenure. “
So, having given so much, the music maker has been given a little back in terms of work.
Check out Mikey Smyth on Facebook and Instagram. Contact 083 406 0505 or email firstname.lastname@example.org