At Swim

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At Swim
Studio album by
Released19 August 2016
RecordedHudson, New York
Dublin, Ireland
GenreIndie folk
LabelHoop Recordings (Ireland)
Pias (Worldwide)
ProducerAaron Dessner, Lisa Hannigan
Lisa Hannigan chronology
At Swim
Singles from At Swim
  1. "Prayer for the Dying"
    Released: 9 June 2016
  2. "Fall"
    Released: 9 July 2016
  3. "Ora"
    Released: 16 August 2016

At Swim is the third studio album by Irish singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan. The album was released worldwide on 19 August 2016, through Hoop Recordings and Play It Again Sam.[1][2]


Hannigan had been touring for more than two years with her 2011 album Passenger. The words, she says, just dried up.[3] Lisa Hannigan decided to leave Dublin and travelled to Paris where she resided for a number of months[4] and then travelled onwards to London in an effort to overcome a period of writer's block and hoping her new adventure would inspire her to begin songwriting again.[3] However, Hannigan failed to write any new material before returning to Dublin. Hannigan decided to leave Dublin and move to London more permanently. Here she began writing new material and began putting down demos, but struggled with songwriting.

Her songwriting was finally encouraged by an unsolicited e-mail from Aaron Dessner of The National.[5] Dessner requested Hannigan and himself should work on her new material, both artists met in Copenhagen over a weekend in an effort to come up with some ideas for the new album with particular focus on the album's theme and sound.[6] They would both later meet up again at Lismore Castle and Cork City to tie down the album's identity.[3]

Dessner soon became the producer of the album, sending her music and lyrics by email. Hannigan finally went to Hudson in upstate New York to begin recording.

The work of Irish poet Seamus Heaney inspired her songwriting,[3] to the point that one of his poems Anahorish appears on the album. Themes of friendship, bereavement, homesickness and a new life in a vast city such as London have all inspired the album songs.[3]

During the recording of the album Hannigan found herself split between Dublin and London, before some of the recording moved onto New York City.[4]


Both "Prayer for the Dying"[7] and "Ora" have been used in promos. NPR Music debuted "Prayer for the Dying" on 8 June.[8] The single was made available on iTunes and Spotify on 9 June 2016.

"Fall" is the first commercial single release revealed on 9 July 2016.[9][10] A video for the single also appeared online the same day.[11]

"Ora" was released on 16 August 2016 as a download. A music video for the song premiered online a day earlier. The video was directed by Jamie Hannigan and Lisa Hannigan.


The album was released as a download on iTunes, with pre-orders beginning on 9 June 2016. "Prayer for the Dying" became an instant download upon pre-ordering.[12] It was also released on CD and vinyl.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
Consequence of SoundB[15]
The Daily Telegraph[16]
The Guardian[18]

Writing for Exclaim!, Laura Stanley praised the album, calling it "a dream you won't want to wake up from".[17]


In the lead up to the album's release Lisa Hannigan confirmed a summer 2016 tour of Ireland.[19]

A European tour was confirmed for autumn 2016 with dates in Ireland, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, France and the Netherlands.[20] She also confirmed a date for US festival Eaux Claires on 12 August.[20]

Track listing[edit]

At Swim track listing
1."Fall"Lisa Hannigan, Joe Henry3:00
2."Prayer for the Dying"Hannigan4:35
4."Lo"Aaron Dessner, Hannigan3:54
5."Undertow"Iain Archer, Hannigan3:24
6."Ora"Dessner, Hannigan2:50
7."We, the Drowned"Hannigan4:00
8."Anahorish"Hannigan, Seamus Heaney1:51
10."Funeral Suit"Hannigan4:01
11."Barton"Dessner, Hannigan4:27


Chart performance for At Swim
Chart (2016) Peak
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[21] 50
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[22] 71
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[23] 31
Irish Albums (IRMA)[24] 1
New Zealand Heatseekers Albums (RMNZ)[25] 7
Scottish Albums (OCC)[26] 23
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[27] 72
UK Albums (OCC)[28] 24
US Folk Albums (Billboard)[29] 12
US Heatseekers Albums (Billboard)[30] 8
US Independent Albums (Billboard)[31] 29
US Top Rock Albums (Billboard)[32] 38


  1. ^ "irish music feed – .Music News: Lisa Hannigan Reveals New Song +..." Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  2. ^ "MusicNews | Lisa Hannigan announces new album 'At Swim' – hear lead track 'Prayer for the Dying' now". Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Lisa Hannigan: 'I started to really lose sight of what the point of me was'". Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Lisa Hannigan: 'I had to do something different, to feel unnerved'". 12 August 2016. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  5. ^ Bialas, Michael (2 August 2016). "Stroke of Luck? How Lisa Hannigan Got Back in the Swim of Things". HuffPost. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  6. ^ Lisa Hannigan MUSIC MONTH, retrieved 19 August 2016
  7. ^ "Play It Again Sam :: News :: Lisa Hannigan Is Back With New Track 'prayer for the Dying' And A New Album Out This Year". Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  8. ^ "Song Premiere, Lisa Hannigan, 'Prayer for the Dying' : All Songs Considered : NPR". NPR. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  9. ^ "Watch | Lisa Hannigan releases video for 'Fall'". The Last Mixed Tape. 6 July 2016. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  10. ^ Ayers, Mike. "Lisa Hannigan Dances Solo in Her New 'Fall' Video (Exclusive)". Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  11. ^ LisaHanniganVEVO (6 July 2016), Lisa Hannigan – Fall (Official Video), retrieved 19 August 2016
  12. ^ "At Swim by Lisa Hannigan on iTunes". iTunes Store. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  13. ^ "Critic Reviews for at Swim". Metacritic. 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  14. ^ Monger, James. "At Swim – Lisa Hannigan – AllMusic". Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  15. ^ Schaults, Janine (18 August 2016). "Lisa Hannigan – At Swim". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  16. ^ Neil McCormick. "Lisa Hannigan's beautiful at Swim is an album to drown in – review". Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  17. ^ a b Stanley, Laura (17 August 2016). "Lisa Hannigan – At Swim". Exclaim!. Retrieved 17 August 2016.
  18. ^ Simpson, Dave (26 August 2016). "Lisa Hannigan: At Swim review – come on in, the water's lovely". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  19. ^ "Lisa Hannigan Tickets, Tour Dates 2016 & Concerts". Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  20. ^ a b "Lisa Hannigan | TOUR". Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  21. ^ " – Lisa Hannigan – At Swim" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  22. ^ " – Lisa Hannigan – At Swim" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  23. ^ " – Lisa Hannigan – At Swim" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  24. ^ "GFK Chart-Track Albums: Week 34, 2016". Chart-Track. IRMA. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
  25. ^ "NZ Heatseekers Albums Chart". Recorded Music NZ. 29 August 2016. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  26. ^ August 2016/40/ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
  27. ^ " – Lisa Hannigan – At Swim". Hung Medien. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  28. ^ August 2016/7502/ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
  29. ^ "Lisa Hannigan Chart History (Top Americana/Folk Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved November 27, 2020.
  30. ^ "Lisa Hannigan Chart History (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved November 27, 2020.
  31. ^ "Lisa Hannigan Chart History (Independent Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved November 27, 2020.
  32. ^ "Lisa Hannigan Chart History (Top Rock Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved November 27, 2020.