Dara O'Neill | Designer, Director, Producer, Illustrator & Actor. 1982 - Present

A photo of Dara.Dara Drea O’Neill was almost born in the car on the way to the hospital on the 17th of June 1982.
According to modern day astronomers he shares this birth day with Jesus.
As a young boy he grew up faster than anyone he’d ever met.
But not fast enough for his liking.

On his seventh birthday he was allowed to invite six friends to a party.
Thirty children turned up.
His mother had to cut the chocolate bars in half so there was enough to go round.

He met Roy Keane who signed his SHARP sponsored Manchester United jersey.

In 1992 he started experimenting with film.

He won a painting competition.
They hung his painting in the National Art Gallery of Ireland alongside ‘The Meeting on the Turret Stairs’ by Frederic William Burton.

He won the Schoolboy’s under-11 Waterford Gaelic football cup.
His headmaster let him and his class curse for a week.

After an assessment test he received a scholarship to Newtown School in Waterford.
He passed his Junior Certificate.

He wrote and directed a short that won at the Fresh Film Festival in Cork.
He wasn’t satisfied with the film so he didn’t attend the awards ceremony.

At sixteen he left school and moved to Stockholm, Sweden.
Sweden had the fastest internet at the time.
He learned Swedish.
He designed websites for a telecommunications company.

He came home and set-up his own web design company.
He designed websites for his parents companies and their friends companies.
He was a finalist in the personal website category of the national Irish website awards – The Golden Spiders.

He won a national Quake 2 gaming competition.
He was disappointed because his biggest rival had not shown up.
He made free websites for Quake 2 teams.
Someone noticed.

In 1999 he joined Ireland’s first internet service provider Ireland On-line as a Junior Graphic Designer.

His office was one floor above the South African Embassy.
He met Nelson Mandela.

He was again a finalist in the national website awards The Golden Spiders for his new company’s website Ireland On-line in the portal-website category.

Ireland On-line was bought by Oceanfree.
Oceanfree was bought by British Telecom.
He started in a small team with big ideas and now he was part of a big team with small ideas.

He was 18 years old working at a desk on the upper floor of a skyrise-building in Dublin.
He got a phone call.

In 2000 he joined Radio Telefis Éireann, the Irish national broadcaster as an Interactive Designer.
Internet content was such a new concept that the whole RTÉ Interactive team offices were temporary portacabins beside Montrose House.

He designed a new business website for RTÉ.
Ireland’s prime minister Bertie Ahern came and launched it.
Bertie gave him a little medal with the logo he designed engraved on it…
Maybe it was just a fancy key ring.

He was a finalist in the national website awards The Golden Spiders for OnBusiness.ie in the business website category.

He was nominated into the top five of the competition three years in a row but he never won.
Like Peter O’Toole at the Oscars.

In his spare time he was toying with music production.

In 2003 he took voluntary redundancy and used the money to buy music equipment.
He experimented and gradually learned how to produce electronic music.

When money ran out he got a job at AOL answering technical support problems.
He used any extra money to buy more production equipment.
He was later fired from his position for refusing to work on St.Patrick’s day.

In 2004 a track he submitted to Computer Music magazine was added to a compilation and attached to 20,000+ October issues sold.
Another track was chosen for a compilation release of Irish electronic artists.

In 2005 he set-up a record label called King Nail Records.
He produced and released a four-track 12” vinyl and CD.

Using contacts from RTÉ he blagged a press pass to Sonar Festival in Barcelona.
He got backstage and gave his hero David Carretta a demo CD.
He also interviewed Roots Manuva, his favourite artist at the time.

In 2008 Carretta released and remixed his demo as a 12″ on his Marseille based record label.
Carretta also released two more of his tracks on compilations in 2009.

On his four year musical journey he played all over Ireland and around Europe.
Some of his favourite places were Club 103 – Amsterdam, Bar 25 – Berlin, Industria – Porto and Electric Picnic – Stradbally.

He eventually settled in Berlin.

He opened a nightclub called Kleine Reise.
He organised over 300 events and invited all his favourite artists to play.

In 2011 he founded St.Patrick’s Festival Berlin.
That year Berlin had its first parade.
150 people attended.

The city council informed him he had to close Kleine Reise due to noise pollution.

As a replacement he bought a venue built in the 50’s that was running as a canteen.
It was like walking into a time capsule.
It had no neighbors.
He tried to keep as much of the original hand-built interior as possible.
He installed a modern sound and light system and opened the doors.

He named it Loftus Hall after the haunted house in Wexford he grew up telling ghost stories about.

In 2012 the Irish Ambassador Dan Mulhall officially launched St.Patrick’s Festival Berlin.
1500 people attended.

He started Kleine Reise Records and started releasing vinyl and digital music.
He kept the parties going at Loftus Hall for another two years.

In 2013 he sold Loftus Hall.

The third year of St.Patrick’s Festival Berlin attracted a crowd of over 5000 people.
He paraded on the public streets for the first time and had an outdoor concert.

He met the Irish prime minister Taoiseach Enda Kenny who also lent his support to the festival.

N.B. This information is currently being updated as life is lived.