Review: Spirit of Folk Festival 2014

spirit of folk 2014 (2)

This is all maybe, going to sound just a bit freaking odd, maybe…. And either, says my funny head, you are going to empathise with me on this one entirely or, you will consider drawing a very tiny square to mark your disapproval of my ramblings solely because it also doubles up as your upcoming anti Pythagoras’ theorem protest logo. And that is a little of how I’m afraid some who maybe just weren’t there [man] may read this appraisal/ review/ look back/ analysis of sorts of what is, Ireland’s loveliest little festival. Because when, you love something so much – as we [plural] do of Spirit of Folk, it becomes very difficult to wonder if you or I in this case can see any flaws at all; and that maybe just maybe even if the possible wrongs were pointed out to you or me, that one would pay no … There’s more

New Music: Tod Doyle and the Troubled. Bad day

Troubled Tod-Andy

This in from Tod of Tod Doyle fame who of note, will be playing this years Spirit of Folk Festival 2014. When you ask…. day, date, time ? Any use ? The Tod is a flippin’ genius and the remaining’s saw him play there last year. And they too agree. On that note he sez: You will indeed see me at Spirit of folk, cant wait. Should be a crackin’ weekend!! Were on saturday at 2-3 ish as far as I know. Absolutely, love to have a chat. Re this new material live track , Tod notes: With this recording we wanted to capture the atmosphere in the room. Obviously we really enjoy playing together and when we gig or practice we never tie ourselves down too much other than a general structure. We just try and feed off each other” “Bad day is the first of two videos … There’s more

Don’t miss this Gig: Summer in Dublin with the SitKoD choir


The Songs in the Key of D (SitKoD) choir have been busy rehearsing their new show ‘Summer in Dublin’ for the National Concert Hall on Wednesday, 2nd of July. Anto, Darren and 60-odd other Dub residents will be singing an expanded repertoire of songs from their previous sold out gigs at Fringe Festival and the NCH John Field Room earlier this year. They’ll also be joined by Trillogy, a three part male harmony group, for a few tunes. This concert will feature covers of classic Dublin songs like Raglan Road, The Ferryman and Grace along with contemporary tunes like Damien Dempsey’s Seize the Day, Imelda May’s Mayhem and they’re even going to take on Handel’s Messiah (first performed in Dublin in 1742). The young, inspired musical directors, Chris O’Sullivan and Killian Grumley Traynor, will lead the choir on the night. Tickets are €18-20 from the National Concert Hall web site, … There’s more

Get your gardening on at Dublin Garden Festival 2014

dublin garden festival

Granted, this isn’t your standard Culch post but there’s one of us involved and it’s the first ever Dublin Garden Festival, so listen up! ‘Bringing the outside inside’ takes place this weekend from Friday 13 – Sunday 15 June 2014 at Christ Church Cathedral Dublin. It features the best of Irish Gardening talent including Diarmuid Gavin, Dermot O’Neill, Helen Dillon, Gerry Daly and our very own Peter Donegan. Peter is speaking on Friday afternoon at 2pm and there’s lots on the entire weekend. Times: Open Fri 13 and Sat 14th from 9am – 9pm and Sunday 15th 12.30pm – 7pm. Tickets: Admission – €12 / €10 conc. 2 Day Pass – €20/€16 conc. 3 Day Pass – 30/€25 conc. Groups of 10 or more: €8.50. Children u12 free. Tickets available on the door or by visit We’re reliably informed that this is the equivalent of Electric Picnic for anyone … There’s more

New Irish Music: Martin Byrne, A Long Long Way From Ireland

Martin Byrne, a long long way from ireland, promo

It’s no big secret that I love my Irish music and more that I’ve a wee soft spot for the trad Irish. And when a promo copy of the new Martin Byrne single, A Long Long Way From Ireland came in my post this morning I was literally over the moon. This isn’t my first time to review Martin’s music. But, then again, I’ve also done that for great new Irish acts like Wicker Bones and The Hot Sprockets. On a mild side note ? I still hold dear cracking memories of The Galtymore dance hall in Cricklewwod. Sad to say however the place were Declan Nearney and so many of the greats once played has since moved on. What is genuinely amazing is when that era is given a reprieve or a rebirth of sorts. And Martin Byrne’s music just does that. By the truck load. Seriously ? Try … There’s more

Theatre Review: A Tender Thing in


Siren Productions has brought Ben Power’s reimagining of the world’s most infamous teenage lovers to the Project Arts Centre. We meet Romeo and his fair Juliet in the twilight of their years having somehow escaped death to live a long life together. We do not get all the details of their love story. We do not learn if the Montagues and Capulets buried the age old hatchet to celebrate the union of their two young off spring. We don’t discover if the wedding was a forbidden elopement or a regal affair to challenge the likes of Kate and William. We do discover Juliet had a daughter but that the Lord saw fit to call this girl child back to heaven before she reached adulthood. The bleakness of this revelation is in keeping with the tone of the 90 minute piece. Juliet is dying; she is in pain for most of … There’s more

Free Tickets: You Couldn’t Make It Up on Newstalk

sez Pat O’Mahony: Jaze, how did we get here so quickly?  This Fri, January 24th, is our second-last You Couldn’t Make It Up recording for Newstalk.  It seems like only…oh alright, just over eight weeks since we did our first show in The Helix in DCU on November 29th.  How time flies when you’re busy as feck. Looking back on the last two months, it’s been a steep learning curve for all involved.  Even though the format’s been a long time in the preparation – my co-producer, Mark Warren of Firebrand Productions, first approached me with an idea he had for a comedy news panel show in early 2011 – it’s only when you actually go into production that you really see what does and doesn’t work. It took a lot of effort to get it as far as the starting block.  Long evenings were spent over tea and biscuits … There’s more

Damian Corless: 9000 Years of Irish Weather

9000 years of irish weather

Never heard of Damian Corless ? Say Collins Press, Damian Corless, [is] a journalist and a former editor of Magill and In Dublin, currently contributes to the Irish Independent. He has written comedy sketches for BBC TV’s classic Big Train and RTE’s award-winning Stew. His acclaimed books include The Greatest Bleeding Hearts Racket In The World…. As he says himself, I have no idea what an isobar is…. But he will happily tell you how the Irish won a war by doing nothing, how Cork had it’s revenge on and [sort of] killed Cromwell and the wonderful story of the Mayo postmaster who delayed the D-Day landings by 24 hours and changed what is now world history, to name but a few. And though the book has flip all to do with Irish weather technically speaking or with gardening, I angled it onto The Sodshow, in part because the weather … There’s more

Theatre Review: Macbeth in @SmockAlley Theatre


Despite being a bit of a Shakespeare fanatic, I’ve probably only seen Macbeth twice on stage and I haven’t read it since my youth (and that’s some time ago now). So, I was very excited about catching Fast Intent’s production in Smock Alley Theatre this week. The Scottish Play opens as three witches, the “weird sisters”, plan a meeting with the Scottish nobleman Macbeth, who at that moment is fighting in a great battle and kicking some ass. Post-battle, Macbeth and his friend Banquo come across the witches who offer them three predictions: that Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor and then King of Scotland, and that Banquo’s descendants will become kings. Banquo laughs at the prophecies but Macbeth is excited, particularly so when he is swiftly made Thane of Cawdor by King Duncan, in return for kicking so much ass in the battle. Macky-B writes to his wife, Lady … There’s more

Gig: Songs in the Key of D at the NCH

Photo credit: Tommy Walker heads singing in a choir? Yep and not just any choir, it’s Songs in the Key of D. Following on from sell out shows at the Dublin Fringe Festival, the SitKoD choir bring you their expanded look at the songs of Dublin City. A musical journey from Handel to Hansard, Lynott to Drew. Performed by a choir of real Dubliners, rehearsals have been under way for the past fortnight with the gig taking place on the evening of February 3rd at 8pm in the John Field room at the National Concert Hall. Tickets are €18 (€16 concession) and can be purchased directly from the NCH box office or online at this link (use promo code ‘KeyofD10′ to get 10% off if booking this week). The idea of the choir came from producer, Mr Eoin Kilkenny and our musical directors are Chris O’Sullivan and Killian Grumley Traynor. There’s a lot … There’s more

The Upbeat Podcasts: Mental Health Matters

Mental Health

Upbeat Radio aired over the new year 2014 on 103.2 Dublin City FM. Presented by Brian Greene of The Sodshow Upbeat Radio brings Mental Health & Mental Wellbeing to the airwaves and extends the discussion on topics such as advocacy, reform, access to services, stigma & getting help. Over the course of the four themed shows Upbeat Radio interviewed OCD Ireland, Mental Health Reform, Bodywhys, Aware, First Fortnight & St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services. The broadcast heavily promoted Ireland’s Mental Health Arts Festival First Fortnight (Jan 02-11) with 10 specially created event promos for the 39 events in their calendar. Speaking at the conclusion of the broadcasts Brian Greene said it was great to chat to some of the main players in the Mental Health sector. The issues relating to our mind and its wellness are too often not discussed. Radio with less distractions is a perfect medium to explore … There’s more

Luke Kelly 30th Anniversary Tribute Night

luke kelly tribute night

This in from musician Ronnie Delaney who sez: The Fingal Folk makes a special return for 2014 with the first concert on Fri 31st Jan being dedicated to the memory of Luke Kelly of the Dubliners on his 30th Anniversary. The night will feature songs from the Dubliners repertoire to include Luke Kelly classics. Now starting its fourth season the Fingal Folk Club encourages musicians singers to perform in an all-acoustic setting incorporating participation form the audiences. The folk club takes place on the first and last Friday of each month throughout the year full schedule below and incorporates many theme nights through the year.  Next Folk Club Dates: Friday 31st Jan: Luke Kelly Tribute Night Friday 7th Feb: Love Songs Night Friday 28th Feb: Around the house session. Details: Where: St Patrick’s Hall, Ballyboughal, Fingal, Nth. Co. Dublin Time: 8pm – 10pm Sub: Adults €5, Musicians donation, Children Free … There’s more

St Tiernans Dundrum, Dublin. Evening Classes 2014

st tiernans, dundrum

With everything from chinese cookery to Zumba and not thinking you have a note in your head to but wanting to join a choir to computer skills… the list is absolutely endless should you wish to get yourself away from watching the tele box one evening per week and taking on something new years resolution for the year 2014. Disclaimer [if that's even necessary] I teach the evening horticulture class at St Tiernans. Either or it is highly recommended, something a bit different and a grand bit of craic to break the Spring blues. I was at the open day Saturday just gone. The spring rolls tasted superb and the choir [Corus - who as a by the way of recent played The Helix, The Late Late to name but a few - don't be scared off they do a beginners class] were absolutely genius. Go on. Go on. G’wan. … There’s more

Morning Dew. Sundays at The Carnegie Court Hotel

morning dew band

At the Carnegie Court Hotel, Swords every Sunday from around 8pm play a band called Morning Dew. And last Sunday I had the honour to watch and listen to them play. If you have never heard of them before, they are a highly entertaining mix of trad Irish, country, folk and upbeat songs that could only make you wan’t to tap your feet and sing along and be merry and God knows when it comes to January and floods and new years resolutioned mice pie-less diets that life needs happy people like the father and son team that are Ronnie and V Delaney. listen to ‘The Auld Triangle – Morning Dew’ on Audioboo Higher than highly recommended. And pure genius good old fashioned Irish Sunday evening guitar and a bodhrán entertainment. Every Sunday. listen to ‘Morning Dew – Ring of Fire’ on Audioboo

Rapunzel The Panto in the Solstice Arts Center in Navan


The Gaiety is what it is: safe and reliable. The Olympia has Jedward, which should say it all. The Helix is getting better every year and as for the Tivoli? Well, the less said the better. So if you don’t want the big prices of the Dublin (or other cities) shows, but don’t want to be in a chilly school hall or community centre and still feel like you at least got some money’s worth, what to do? You could do a lot worse than heading to the Solstice Arts Centre in Navan, that’s what. This year they’re staging Rapunzel the Panto, the first time I’ve heard of this fairytale being staged. Brought to you by St Mary’s Musical Society, their pantos (and musicals) have only been getting bigger and better over the years. Yes, they’re an amateur group, run and managed by volunteers who do it for the love … There’s more