Tom Acton

Singer Songwriter Storyteller

Glad you're here!

The only thing you need to do is scroll down to meet me in my Music,  Poetry & Words 

“Tom Acton writes songs as if they’ve been around hundreds of years. Really great songwriting”

Johnny Coppin – BBC. UK

Let’s start with my  


The Essence

Tom Acton comes from Dublin, he is a singer songwriter / published poet / produced playwright. Whereas his inspiration is rooted in The Irish Tradition and Culture, his musical influences are many and varied, believing that the present and tradition in music add to each other. His songs draw on/contemporary Folk/Alt Country style and Pop Folk Rock, all reaching back to traditional folk music, which is always embedded in his music. 

Tom is still very active in his music and poetry and invites you to contact him at his email address :
tombardic[@]  (please skip the brackets…)

Tom has been playing his music for over twenty years, sometimes solo, in a duo,or with a full band. After a short stint playing around folk Clubs in Dublin and London, he became a rambling Irishman moving around Europe, playing mainly Irish traditional music and contemporary folk. Together with a friend, he set up a music club in Holland, booking many International top acts including , Martin Carty UK, Paul Brady, Ireland, and country singer/songwriter Derroll Adams, from Portland USA, then living in Antwerp, Belgium.


Unable to stay put for long Tom accepted an offer to share a small tour with the late banjo player Derroll Adams. Gigging with Derroll brought Tom in contact with the great country music culture of America. Derroll has recorded and gigged with Rambling Jack Ellott and is featured in the Bob Dylan Doc, ‘Don’t look back’ 

2004 saw the release of his debut album: ‘Dark River Tumbling’ containing 12 original contemporary folk songs, accompanied by 8 top musicians. This album is distributed by Claddagh Records Ireland/ and tracks available online:

In 2009 Tom put out a new CD: ‘Down The Irish Gravel Road’ 14 original songs accompanied by top musicians.
Down The Irish Gravel Road pays homage to the rich culture of Ireland, finding inspiration in its writers and musicians, from the 17th century Dublin playwright/poet/ Richard Brinsley Sheridan to the travelling pipe player Johnny Doran. (1907-1950) and beyond.
This album is released and distributed by New Folk Records USA and tracks available online:

In 2010 ‘The Hill Of Women’ was recorded. A new surprising CD of Irish instrumentals & spoken word / poetry based on the Celtic World. Poetry accompanied by music, in partnership with flute player Jules Bitter ( The Hill Of Women tracks are available online:


to listen to

Over the years I’ve had some wonderful assistance from friends.
they also helped determine the colour and atmosphere of the CD.

Down The Irish Gravel Road

Tom’s most recent album picked up nicely in the USA and got great response.
A wonderful collection of uplifting and poetic tracks, best of Tom Acton so far!
We’ve also recently refreshed the design of the sleeve.

Down The Irish Gravel Road –  Sligo Fair

Down The Irish Gravel Road –  The Water Song

Down The Irish Gravel Road  –  Here’s To

Down The Irish Gravel Road –  Lissadell

The Hill of Women

Born out of a fruitful cooperation between Tom and Jules Bitter – a Dutch flute & whistle player.

The CD features music, song & poetry in a wonderful mix of Celticness…

The Hill of Women – The Song of Wandering Aengus

The Hill of Women –Bucks of Oranmore

The Hill of Women – Bog of Ceide / Logh Gowna

The Hill of Women – The Healing / Women of Ireland

The Hill of Women – Logh Mask

The Hill of Women – Swallows Tail / Farewell To Erin

Dark River Tumblin'

Tom’s first album is still enjoyed by many! It features powerful songs and melodies – check it out below…

Dark river Tumbling – Four Gypsies

Dark river Tumbling – The Donegal Rambler

Dark river Tumbling – Love Is No Permanent State

Dark river Tumbling – Spell Sender

Dark river Tumbling – Dancing In The Summer Rain

Dark river Tumbling – Who’s Gonna Love You?



T H E   H E A L I N G

Today we crossed a river
The soft plains of west Mayo spread out to the left
All you tell me, is weighted in meaning
Your rushed words spilling into my pool
Till over the edges of memory they pass

As I take in each one, but I can’t promise I’ll remember
For there is no order to memory
Unlike, the large river stones/ that glisten/ And are smooth from age
We sew the jagged edges of healing together, as best we can

Now with the shore beneath our feet
And pulling towards the damp grass
I feel your feminine mind seeking assurance, a continuation
Yet all I possess is, your hand in mine
The sketched out-line of these hills
The moving towards..feeling..
Your company

There is nothing we can take away from this landscape
Nothing to give back
We are what we have become, for the change has already occurred
Passing through the quietness
The gift is in noticing, all that is given
The holding of each second in each second

T H E   H I L L   O F   W O M E N 

There are no answers  here, only history
 Distance, clefted stone/
moss on a green bed of ritual

A priest in earthly attire
Places two bones respectfully
Side by side
No one moves in the faint light
All watch quietly
The flat stone hacked from the mountain
Will serve as an alter

The man bending over it
Reaches for grass, animal fat, straw,
Far off in a forest a hunted creature calls
Another echo’s in return
The priest beckons
And the crowd make way
A figure is carried forward on two heavy wet branches. 

Later, she will be buried in the hill of women
A journey over water to Omey Island
It is said, should a man be placed in the ground
The earth would reject his body
But her place will be the damp earth
A cold lover to fold its arms around her life

T H E   B O G   O F   C E I D E

 Here the nights are truly clear
And the stars alive and burning
Above the black  water
And the ice  real, crackling
Beneath my boots

In this wide open land,
Cold and silent
Folded in the hands of winter

I move  as a thief must,
Over the red brown skin of the bog

The freezing  air coats the ground 
And a white mist hangs suspended
Like a wet cloth hung out to dry

Low flying Geese skirt noisily over the bog
As they have for centuries
Followed by hunters, taking them down one by one..
I imagine a dwelling close by
The bleating of animals,
The slaughtered hanging over a pail.
Children shivering, huddled around a fire.
Their smoke-filled eyes alert to every sound

A horde rampages through the hills
Then sits down to gorge on fresh meat
Huts burn, and the last remaining people
Are herded  into the bog.
Till quietness returns with the dark 

This bog was once a holy place, both functional and burial ground
An underworld deity, that swallowed up the living
And dead alike
Here, I will pass with respect, knowing,
That strenght lies, not only with endurance
But in the ability to keep faith with the unseen


April came and with it the promise of things to come
Children playing in the park/ an over-heated city
The crush of the shopping crowds/ and yet the first
crop of spring brought a restless season in
Of relentless waves breaking/ and then rebreaking
The shreding of solitude/the old familiar gestures
A glimse of a passing face. ..

As we walked out towards the coast
The sea before us, the city behind
edging towards each other silently.
I saw you smile, in your knowing way
A soft rain blew across the strand
As we passed in the days of April


Winter has set in
And the swallows have long gone south
There is a quietness about the house
We feel it in our bones
The air is thick with it
Our conversation suffers from it
Logs burn in the hearth
Smoke hisses down
Outside it is raining
Wind roughens up the trees
Silver stiffened leaves
Hurry about the garden
And brush against the glass
It is night
Night breathes on the house
Like winter
We turn our eyes to each other
Then towards the fire and stare

T H E   C H A S E

As a woman/ on the run
After love
You refused to give ground on regained freedom
So I took you among the briars and placed oak leaves in your hair
Leaned warm breath on your face
Cleared a bed with Alder branches
And pulled you towards the cold earth
But you were unresponsive
As a stone.
As a soul during transmigration
You hissed hollow voiced at me
Your vow upset the trees that listened
And caused thrushes to find the air
We stayed awake both night and day
Waiting for the other to drop guard and sleep
You bound your ankle to a root and said:
it’s growing will keep me awake
My pulse is beating with it’s pulse
So keep away, least its tongue should strike you 

All texts (c) 2012-2023 – Tom Acton

Interested and want to contact me?
I could enhance your event considerably with my presence as BARD-STORYTELLER and/or MUSICIAN, adding an original touch of Ireland!

Please write me at:

All content (pictures / text / audio) – (c) Tom Acton 2023

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