Cornelscourt Parish Hall

Cornelscourt Parish Hall
The Location of Foxrock Folk Club


As Luke Kelly remarked when he played the club in December 1972, a folk club in the suburb of Foxrock was a somewhat unlikely combination. Probably even more unlikely was the fact it was organised and run by teenagers and managed to attract to Foxrock some of the biggest names on the Irish music scene (see Folk Club History & "Local and Visiting Artists").

The aim of the Foxrock Folk Club Project is to (1) research the history of the club (2) develop a club archive and (3) create a space in which people who played at the club or attended some of the sessions can share their memories of what was an unique musical and cultural experience.


Sunday, 28 June 2009

"Who're your influences?"

Reading about the memorial service and gig on 21st June for Dave McHale, a musician who sometimes played saxophone with the Boomtown Rats (and was apparently known as the '7th Rat'), who died in Germany in May, reminded me of his interesting, indirect influence on the Folk Club.
In an article he wrote for a compilation by writers. poets and artists of memories of the music that influenced them in their youth*, Lar Cassidy talks about getting interested in Blues music at the age of 12. One of his school mates at Blackrock College at the time was Dave McHale and he credits him with 'stretching (my) taste' and introducing him to Oscar Peterson and Art Blakey, and then letting him hear 'Cannonball' Adderley, Ornette Coleman and Archie Shepp. He writes that Dave McHale's mother was a fine classical pianist who could also play traditional solo jazz piano and as a result her son had advanced musical tastes at an early age.
Those of us who spent late nights in Cassidys 'playroom' will know that this interest in all kinds of jazz and blues was passed on by Lar to many others. It also shone through in the many blues and jazz artists Lar invited to play the Folk Club and his openness to all kinds of experimental and progressive music.

*"My Generation - Rock 'n' Roll Remembered: An imperfect history" edited by Antony Farrell, Vivienne Guinness & Julian Lloyd, The Lilliput Press, 1996.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009


The Pavilion Theatre was jammed with teenage (+40) music and arts fans for the 40th Anniversary concert of the Folk Club on Sunday night. There wasn't an empty seat in the house but there were, sadly, many disappointed punters who could not get in.
The show was packed full of goodies with all the artists putting in great performances and the event itself was a fantastic gatherings of old friends. Some of the highlights were the premiere of two new compositions - 'Eggpencil Blues' by Ed Deane and 'Carpark Blues' by Louis Stewart, a great explanation by Chas Meredith about why he decided to take his stage name from Foxrock, rather than Cornelscourt, village and a virtuouso display of piano-playing by Myles Drennan as played three different styles of jazz with three different groups in the space of an hour.
Also it was great to see that poetry still sits well, and is very well received, amongst all kinds of music.

So many thanks to all the performers and artists, the Pavilion Theatre for their making it all happen, all those involved in the production of the show and particularly, the audience for being 'into it' from the very beginning.

Unfortunately, because of various backstage duties, I had to dip in and out of the performances so I would love to hear people's reviews of the concert and to know what were the highlights for you.
So let's make this Post the place for reviews.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

The Pavilion Concert - 14th June 2009

For those far-sighted enough and lucky enough to have tickets for the FFC 40th Anniversary concert tomorrow night, bear in mind that the show will start at 7.30pm sharp as there is a packed and exciting programme. So arrive early as there is also a great exhibition of pictures and other memorabilia in the gallery of the Pavilion (upstairs - for one night only) which should not be missed.

Look forward to seeing you all there.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

"Foxrock Folk Club Sells Out the Pavilion!"

The FFC 40th Anniversary Concert at the Pavilion Theatre on Sunday is now completely sold out and there is a waiting list for any returns. So hope you all have your tickets for the music and arts event of the year. Many thanks to blog readers and others who have supported the idea and the show.
For those who haven't got tickets - sorry! But, as 'two to a seat' and hanging out of windows is no longer allowed, nothing can be done. However, it looks as if RTE Radio will be recording the show for broadcast in July, so there should be a chance to listen in later.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Another Folk Club Event

The Foxrock Local History Club is presenting a talk entitled:

"Foxrock Folk Club - 1969 to 1973
The story of a unique musical and social phenomenon"
Jeremy Kearney & Una Balfe
Monday 15th June at 8.00pm

Venue: Kill o' the Grange, Parish Community Hall, Deansgrange

See the web site for more details:

Latest News on Ticket Sales

The tickets for the 40th anniversary concert on 14th June are nearly sold out, so book now if you want to see one of the musical events of the year!

Monday, 1 June 2009

We were so much older then......part 2

Born in Dublin, Alison O'Donnell made her first record for Simon Napier Bell and David Hemmings at the age of 15 with the cult folk-rock band, Mellow Candle. The band played concerts with Genesis, Thin Lizzy, Donovan, The Chieftains and Steeleye Span amongst others. They signed to Decca's Deram label in the early 1970s and gigged in Ireland and the U.K. Their only album, 'Swaddling Songs, has since been acclaimed as a progressive folk rock masterpiece.
Alison then moved to Johannesburg and together with the guitarist from Mellow Candle they formed traditional group Flibbertigibbet. In the mid 80s Alison joined a contemporary jazz group called Earthlings, co-writing the band's repertoire. During 1998 she set up the traditional-style band Éishtlinn with guitarist Philip Masure, incorporating some of her own compositions.
Alison moved back to Dublin in 2001. She sings and plays occasional bodhrán in sessions, festivals, gigs and charity events, mostly collaborating with other artistes. She is a member of the traditional singers' clubs, The Goilín and The Howth Singing Circle. Together with Isabel Ní Chuireáin, she released an album of original songs and tunes in 2006 entitled 'Mise agus Ise'.

2007/8 brought collaborations with Dave Colohan of Agitated Radio Pilot ('World Winding Down' double album) and Steven Collins of The Owl Service (EP entitled 'The Fabric of Folk' on the Static Caravan label). An album of songs is written and being arranged by Greg Weeks of Espers for recording sometime ‘09 in Philadelphia. Collaborations for her forthcoming solo album include Michael Tyack of Circulus, Kevin Scott of the Canadian band, Mr Pine, Graeme Lockett of Head South By Weaving, Gavin Prior of United Bible Studies and others.


"A bubbling crucible of its times, larger than the norm with room enough for all – it provided a stage for the young, the upcoming, the established and the old hands and many, many magic moments of music, poetry and stand-up before stand-up came into its own.

It was there I saw my first Ovation Guitar, played by. Brian Fry - his tour-de-force "Cocaine" commanded standing ovations.
Roger McGough had us in stitches and in the palm of his Liverpudlian hand for a solid two hours with wickedly humorous poetic tales of amongst others, P.C. Plod and the Hippie. I recall him being evil to a heckler and then apologizing for losing his rag - a lesson in professionalism.
Another evening, a beautiful, elfin Sheila Roche of the wild raven hair enthralled with a powerful and clear-voiced rendition of Joni Mitchell’s open-tuned “Both Sides Now”.
I recall Peter Fallon reading a poem about an old couple sharing silence".

Ray Magee, a mate of mine, who lived in Foxrock and knew Lar, called and asked if Diarmaid and I would like to play at the club. It was our first gig together.

Most of our material was written by me ‘though as you so rightly recall, Diarmaid had a penchant for James Taylor songs, notably “Fire And Rain” and James Taylor’s version of Carole King’s “You’ve Got A Friend”. Diarmaid began writing at this time. One of his originals was “Hey, Mister Sunshine”.
We called ourselves “McWreck” and the ultimate line-up was Diarmaid and yours truly, (6-string, clarinet and vocals and 12-string & vocals respectively) with Diarmaid's Danish fiancée, Anja Dybris on vocals and recorder and Maurice Czerniak on Bass and vocals. We left Dublin, bound for London in May 1972 – busked, played at The Troubadour and in the crypt of St. Martin-in-the-fields. Visited Denmark in August 1972 where we dissolved the band. I returned to London alone and moved to Denmark in January 1973, when Ireland and Denmark became members of the European Union.
The following songs : “Dancing With Yourself”, “This Is Your Life!”, “Looking For A Child” and “Lines From London”, were all inspired by those Dublin days.
They may be heard at:
(Thanks to John Buckley McQuaid for the photo and these memories, sadly Diarmaid died in 1987).

We were so much older then.........

One of Europe's finest jazz guitarists for over 40 years, Louis played the folk club regularly and anyone who was there will remember the storming sessions that he played with his band.
Louis Stewart began his musical career in the sixties as a member of the Dublin jazz scene. In 1968 he received an invitation to the Montreux Jazz Festival, together with the Jim Doherty Quartet, and came away with the press award for Outstanding European Soloist of the Festival. The following year in Montreux he won the Grand Prix de la Radio Suisse Romande. He declined the offer of a scholarship from the Berklee School of Music, Boston, as at the time he was with Tubby Hayes' Quartet and Big Band and had been engaged by Benny Goodman for three European tours. In the ‘70s Louis Stewart was a member of the Ronnie Scott Quartet in London. During this period he also cut albums with Sam Jones and Billy Higgins as well as other musicians from the London scene. His excellent guitar playing with Scott’s quartet, on his solo and duo albums in the 1970s and 1980s, and on recordings with George Shearing, Clark Terry, Martin Taylor, Heiner Franz and others in recent years has earned him a well-deserved reputation and widespread consideration as “one of the instruments’ world class players" (Downbeat Magazine). In July 1998 Louis Stewart became the second musician to be conferred with a doctorate in music from Trinity College Dublin. In May 2009, he was elected as a member of Aosdana.

Tir na nOg, the duo formed by Leo O'Kelly and Sonny Condell in 1970, are recognized as one of the most influential songwriting and performing groups to have emerged from Ireland. They started their recording career with three highly acclaimed albums on the Chrysalis label. The legendary John Peel was one of their early champions, and recently an album has been released which includes some of their many performances on John Peel and Bob Harris BBC radio shows.
Tir na nOg toured the world in the '70s with Jethro Tull, Procol Harum and Roxy Music, among other major bands, as well as headlining their own magical concerts. With the recent upsurge of interest in psychedelic or acid folk, as their music is often categorised, they have once again become the mentors of many young bands and fans worldwide, as can be witnessed on their thriving MySpace site,