Caitriona Walsh joined the New Seekers in 1979 as Kathy Ann Rae's replacement. Prior to joining the group, Caitriona had studied music for two years at University College, Dublin, qualifying in 1978 with a teaching diploma.
On 4th February 1979 Caitriona took part in the competition to find Ireland's entry for Eurovision Song Contest. The final was held at the RTE television studios in Dublin and was hosted by Mike Murphy. Although her song, Superstar, finished only sixth out of eight entries, Caitriona was soon to be rewarded with solo success from another quarter.
Eurovision Song Contest 1979
Irish National Final
|Artist / Song
Too Much Is Going On
The Main Attraction
|Red Hurley & Tina
Hiding Behind Our Smile
Later in 1979, whilst she was with the New Seekers, Caitriona recorded a solo single, Viva Il Papa, to celebrate the Pope's visit to Ireland. The single made it to number 1 in the Irish charts, although Caitriona was axed from the welcome given to the Pope at Dublin airport when allegations emerged that the sales figures for the record had been fiddled. Recalling that time, after the Pope's death in 2005, Caitriona said:
"I was devastated because I am a very religious person who went to Mass every day ... It wasn't just a gig for me, it was a very spiritual experience. For my mother it was the ultimate honour, that my voice would be the first thing the Pope heard when he landed in Ireland."
"It ended up with the Pope coming down and no song being sung for him. I don't dwell on it now - ups and downs are part and parcel of this business - but I'll never forget it."
(Sunday Times, 3rd April 2005, page 11)
Viva Il Papa ended the year at number 11 on the Irish best sellers chart, one place ahead of the Boomtown Rats and higher than many of the top chart acts of the day - Blondie, Queen, the Village People and Abba.
In 1980 Caitriona sang with Eurovision star Johnny Logan, recording backing vocals for him on a song called Hollywood.
Nicola Kerr and Caitriona Walsh.
Caitriona and Nicola Kerr (pictured above) left the New Seekers in August 1980 amid newspaper headlines of a "cash row". Caitriona was quoted in The Sun as saying: "The act was built round us but the boys in the group kept most of the money for themselves." (The Sun)
In 1982 Caitriona starred in Noel Pearson's production of the Pirates of Penzance in Dublin. Originally due for a four-month run, the production was extended for another four months and kept Caitriona busy for most of the year.
In 1983 Caitriona moved back to London where she began work as Music Supervisor / Contractor for UK Orchestras - a film and television music production company. In 1987 she took up a new job as General Administrator of the London Chamber Orchestra. Five years later, in 1992, Caitriona secured the post of Music Supervisor with Irish Film Orchestras in Dublin and in 1995 was appointed Chief Executive. The job would on occasion involve rubbing shoulders with the stars. On 15th February 1997 the Irish Times reported that Caitriona had shared a table with Patrick Bergin at the International Orphan Aid's Valentine's Ball at Dublin Castle:
"Sharing his table was organiser Catriona Walsh, once of the New Seekers, who now runs the Irish Film Orchestra which provided the music for The Mask, In The Name Of The Father and Some Mother's Son, among others." (Irish Times, 15th February 1997)