Nicky Ryan

Nicholas Dominick "Nicky" Ryan (born 1949 in Dublin, Ireland) is an Irish music producer, recording engineer and manager for the musician Enya. Ryan was also manager of Clannad, a group of Enya's family and the band she first performed with. Ryan is credited with first introducing the layering of Enya's voice, creating her distinctive style.

In the 70s and 80s, Ryan was highly regarded as a live sound engineer working with artists such as Gary Moore, Planxty and Christy Moore. He also worked as a teacher at St. Mary's School For Deaf Girls, where he experimented with sound engineering, to allow the pupils to feel the bass in the music more.

He worked with the Irish group Clannad as sound engineer from 1975 and then manager from 1976, inviting Eithne (Enya) to join in 1979. Ryan and Eithne left Clannad in 1982, shortly after the completion of the album Fuaim.

Enya and Ryan now have their own studio, Aigle Music, in Dún Laoghaire, Ireland. Ryan is married to Enya's lyricist Roma Ryan.


Nicholas Dominick Ryan was born 1949 in Dublin, Ireland.

In his essay for the Collector's Edition of The Very Best of Enya, Ryan mentions having entered a song contest in his youth for which the prize was a visit to meet the Beatles (one of his favourite groups). He won, with a rendition of Glenn Miller's 'In The Mood', but never claimed his prize, since he could not afford the fare to England to see them.

Shortly after finishing school, Ryan worked as a teacher at St. Mary's School For Deaf Girls, near Dublin. He began experimenting with sound engineering, attempting to create a way for the deaf children to 'hear' music. From Hi-Fi sound, 1990:

‘I designed a speaker while I was there, to try and introduce as much bass as I could into the sprung floor of the girls’ dancing room,’ Ryan explained. ‘In order to dance, the children needed to feel as much bass in the floor and in their chests as possible – particularly in their chests because as soon as they can feel that, they know what the rhythm is doing. What I came up with was a speaker design based on the lower end of a pipe organ. It was an upright speaker consisting of a 14in square box, about six feet tall, and about six inches from the floor – with a 12in speaker facing upwards, and a three inch port below that. And it worked very well,’ he said. ‘The floor shook – and the kids danced away, as they were entitled to.’[1]

Clannad band and Enya from 1975

Ryan was introduced to then folk group Clannad (the band Enya first performed with), by their then-manager Fachtna O'Kelly. Ryan joined them as a sound engineer in 1975. When O'Kelly left Clannad in 1976 to manage the Boomtown Rats, Ryan became Clannad's manager. Clannad was a family band and included Enya's siblings and relatives. Ryan invited Eithne Ní Bhraonáin (later known as Enya Brennan, or just Enya) to join in 1979, shortly after she finished school. Ryan and Eithne left Clannad in 1982, following the completion of their album Fuaim.

Ryan and his wife reside in Killiney, Ireland, and have two daughters, Ebony and Persia. Enya lived with them briefly in the north-side suburb of Artane when she first departed Clannad; she now lives in Manderley Castle in Killiney.


See also


  1. "Hi-Fi sound interview with Nicky Ryan". Enya Book of Days. Retrieved 2010-12-19.
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