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31 Aug 2020

Birthday present for Van the Man

~ Tourism Ireland highlights musical tribute to Van Morrison by Hot Press magazine around the world ~

Today (31 August) is the 75th birthday of Van Morrison. To mark the occasion, Hot Press magazine has curated a musical extravaganza called Rave On, Van Morrison – a tribute by 75 leading and emerging singers and musicians from Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland, which is being broadcast via YouTube throughout August and into September. 

Van Morrison is widely recognised as one of our finest and most important singers and songwriters. His work regularly references places he frequented as a child – with Cyprus Avenue, Orangefield, Hyndford Street and The Hollow in east Belfast, as well as Coney Island in Co Down, all immortalised in his songs. 

The Hot Press showcase has been building up to Morrison’s birthday today – with performances by Hozier, Sinéad O’Connor, Imelda May, Bob Geldof, Gary Lightbody, Andrea Corr, Glen Hansard, Paul Brady, Damien Dempsey, Una Healy of The Saturdays, Damien Rice, Gavin James, The Academic, Moya Ní Bhraonáin of Clannad, rising young Dublin rapper Malaki and many more. Also, drummer and composer David Lyttle has recorded ‘On Hyndford Street’, featuring the voice of acclaimed actor Liam Neeson. 

The highlight of the tribute, to be broadcast today (31 August), will be the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins’ recording of ‘Rave On, John Donne’, the spoken word track from the album ‘Inarticulate Speech of the Heart’, from which the birthday celebration derives its name. Joining him on the recording is Bill Whelan, composer of Riverdance. 

Tourism Ireland is sharing the unique birthday tribute around the world with its millions of fans and followers on social media – including Facebook (almost 4.6 million fans worldwide), Instagram (804,000 followers) and Twitter (530,000 followers). Tourism Ireland is also sharing the musical extravaganza via email marketing, as well as with influential international journalists, including specialist music publications. 

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Van Morrison is widely recognised as one of our finest and most important singers and songwriters, so Tourism Ireland is delighted to highlight this wonderful and unique tribute to him around the world. Even though international travel to the island of Ireland is not possible right now, Tourism Ireland is taking every opportunity to maintain our presence overseas. Our aim is to bring inspirational and compelling content – such as this fantastic musical tribute – to prospective travellers around the world, to keep Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland ‘front of mind’ until such time as they can visit again.”

Notes To Editors

  • Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
  • In 2019, we welcomed around 2.26 million overseas visitors to Northern Ireland, delivering revenue of approximately £570 million.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted around 23+ million visitors in 2019.