Life With No Limits Champion - Cillian McSweeney | Enable Ireland

Personal Stories

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Life With No Limits Champion - Cillian McSweeney

Young man in a wheelchair with music equipment in the background

This year’s Life with No Limits champion is Cillian McSweeney. Cillian is a talented songwriter and a music lover. He plays and writes music using assistive technology on his computer. Cillian attends Enable Ireland services in Little Island, Cork.

“Hi I am Cillian McSweeney. I am 30 years old. I have Cerebral Palsy. I am living in Cork city. I have been going to Enable Ireland all my life. As a child I went to the School of the Divine Child Lavanagh in Cork. As an adult I went to Enable Ireland adult services in Little Island in Cork. I am the eldest of 4 sons. I live at home with my mum. I love music. I love writing music and performing. I also love going to concerts. I am also a Man United fan.  

I have been writing music lyrics since I was about 16. My music teacher, Grainne McHale, used to come to my school every week and she introduced me to play music through technology. I looked forward to this every week. From then on I learned how to play music using switches attached to my headrest. This allowed me to play music chords and melodies from a laptop that I choose using software called E_Scape. 

Then I started to play alongside other musicians in a band. We would write our own music and songs, I really enjoyed playing with a band and to perform on stage. My new band is called Athru Collective. It means change, as other musicians join us from time to time. My band members are Ben Janning, Rory McGovern and guest vocalist Musician Kate O Connor.

Technology is a huge part of my life. It allows me to be independent as I also use a power wheelchair using head switches and I use eyegaze technology to write and communicate. It helps a lot with my songwriting and for talking to my friends and band members. 

I was hoping to perform my new song with the band, but due to covid19 we cannot perform so we are going to keep writing for now. For the next few months, I will continue to write lyrics and have zoom sessions with my band. I have been isolating since March but I have started to go out for a few hours a week now. 

My message for others is not to give up hope. I have always had a dream - I always wanted to perform with a band, and to write music. My disability has never bothered me, I have always believed in myself. I believe you can make your own dreams come true. I have a lot of hope and that gives me strength.”

Cillian McSweeney Enable Ireland Life with No Limits Champion