Lucy MacNeil – At Home Here in Nova Scotia

Occupation: (Mother) Singer, step dancer and multi-instrumentalist with The Barra MacNeils.

Place of Birth: North Sydney, N.S.

Currently Resides: Sydney Mines, N.S.

Where’s your favourite place in Nova Scotia to grab a coffee?

When I am home I don’t tend to move too far so, when I don’t brew some Kicking Horse coffee at home, I may meet up with a friend at the Ugly Mug in Sydney River.  A really great cup of coffee can also be found at Soundpark studio in Coxheath for anyone looking to record AND have great java 😉

Where’s your favourite place in Nova Scotia to grab a pint?

I’m more of an occasional red wine kinda gal, but I’ve been known to have a pint at Governor’s Pub and Eatery (in Sydney). You can have a pint, have a tasty bite and listen to some music. Wednesday is their session night - I’ve taken part before and have had some great fun!

Where’s your favourite place to shop in Nova Scotia?

I like shopping anywhere when I get the chance, but downtown Sydney has lots to offer for clothes, gifts, musical instruments, and music and artwork from many of our talented local musicians and artisans.

I remember shopping for Christmas with my mother as a child in downtown Sydney... it was a magical time. As you would leave a store, fresh air and snowflakes would greet you and wafts of seasonal music followed you on your trek to the next store. Nowadays it's malls and large stores... when I need a 'good memories boost' I go and do some Christmas shopping in downtown Sydney... it works during the year as well!

Where in Nova Scotia would we stand to see your favourite view?

I would stand at the top of the hill at the Highland Village Museum, located at Hector’s Point in Iona, NS. You look out onto the Barra Strait and the Bras d’Or lakes. You can also see all four counties of Cape Breton - Cape Breton, Victoria, Richmond and Inverness. It's a 'take your breath away' moment as the scenery surrounds you with its majestic view.

Name 3 things we’ve gotta do when we visit Nova Scotia:

1) Visit The Highland Village Museum - It takes you back in time and shows how our ancestors lived, worked and entertained themselves when they emigrated from Scotland to Nova Scotia. In certain seasons you will find live animators that will make your experience all the better with samples of fresh baking from local recipes, while you hear them speaking or singing in Gaelic... along with fiddling and step dancing.

2) Take a trip along the Cabot Trail and do some hiking, kayaking or spend the day at the beach.

3) If you want to go back in time a little further, take the family and visit the Fossil Centre in Sydney Mines. The Fossil Interpretive Centre offers visitors a unique hands on learning experience. Featuring a large collection of fossils from Cape Breton and elsewhere. Sydney Mines is one of eight important fossil sites in Nova Scotia and is know internationally for excellent examples of Plant Fossils. The centre is set up with activities for children and you can take a fossil home with you from your visit!!

What makes Nova Scotia a special place on earth for you?

Besides all the beautiful scenery and the luscious local seafood and the amazing abundance of music…. if you make a friend with a Nova Scotian... you have a Friend for Life!!


The-Barra-MacNeils-by-Katheryn-GordonKeep up with the Lucy's band The Barra MacNeils


Twitter: @BarraMacNeils

Facebook: The Barra MacNeils


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  1. This was a great interview, Lucy. Cape Bretoners who promote our home so positively are wonderful ambassadors in spreading the word and inviting visitors. Of course, the music of the Barra MacNeils is a huge draw in itself. Viva Cape Breton! And your life in it.

    Comment by Sharon MacDonald — November 15, 2013 @ 11:20 am

  2. Great wee profile. Bought my first Barra MacNeil CD in 1992 on my first visit to Cape Breton. Hooked from the start.

    Had a chance meeting with Lucy at the Gaelic College this past summer when we presented our annual Alex Currie Memorial Piping Scholarship check.

    Must have gushed a bit too much on her lovely vocals for "My Heart's in the Highlands" but there you have it. It had to be said.

    Keep making beautiful music - we need to get you back in NYC soon for a gig. Perhaps during Tartan Week?

    Moran taing.

    Comment by Bob Currie — November 15, 2013 @ 1:50 pm

  3. Loved this interview, Lucy. I gotta make that trip to Highland Village. You know, as with many places in Cape Breton and around Nova Scotia, they're right there, not far away. But we really need to go there and experience them. It's a whole different feeling that pictures can't really convey.

    Comment by Kelly Devoe — May 22, 2015 @ 9:54 am

  4. Thanks for doing the interview, Lucy. I learned some things there. Most importantly, about the Fossil Center. It'll be a must-visit place the next time we're in Cape Breton.

    Comment by Anne Tenaglia — May 22, 2015 @ 10:54 am

  5. Just love ❤️ your Christmas Specials here in BC wondering if you are coming to BC anytime soon

    Comment by Mel Chartrand — August 12, 2018 @ 11:43 pm

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