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.


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).


  1. Hi All,

    Great memories one and all and the three radio shows are fantastic. We, the Heelan clan, lived just down the street from Lar on Kill Lane and we played football in the church car-park opposite with Jim Wall among others. All three males (Michael, Peter and I) went to the FFC (thank God they didn’t call it the Foxrock Folk Society !) on Sunday nights and I have fond memories of the converted schoolhouse.

    The main thing I remember about the stage is that it faced the entrance to the club. As a result, we were playing to the latecomers and the ‘audience’ was getting a good view of our profiles. Thanks for noting the other ‘band’ members as I had forgotten who they were.

    Ed Deane was in my older brother’s class in Belvedere and my friends and I were great ‘Blueshouse’ fans. We joined the impressively named Irish Blues Appreciation Society and were treated to see Arthur Crudup, Johnny Shines, Muddy Waters and BBKing (and others) live in Dublin around this period. Blues was really my interest, whereas my brother Peter was more into Celtic music. He has since moved to San Francisco (hiking across the US with a five-string banjo – how Woody Guthrie was that ?) and is a prominent member of the Irish Pipers Club on the West Coast.

    I was just leaving school in 1969 to head to UCD for some higher (sic) education. I also remember Ann O’ Farrell’s collection of 78s, mostly boogie-woogie piano if I recall, and the disaster of hearing that someone had accidentally sat on a pile of them and fractured them. What a tragedy ! Lar himself also used to be a pretty good man for the boogie woogie.

    I have retained a great interest in music in general since those days and was fortunate to meet up with another Lar Cassidy here in Toronto, whose name was Wayne Bradstock. His knowledge of early fifties – mid sixties music was nothing if not inspirational. He didn’t have internet access and all his knowledge was built on reading books, buying music and reading sleeve notes etc. etc. A great person to be around and, unfortunately, like Lar, gone before his time. Based on my friendship with Wayne, I dug further into R ‘n’ B, country, rock ‘n’ roll and all the exciting times for music back then. I am now currently going back further into the 40s and 30s and am astounded at the fantastic artists of this period.

    Anyway, in the words of old Blue Eyes, Thanks for the Memories.

    Niall Heelan – Toronto – 2nd June 2009

  2. I lived in Stillorgan and we used to venture as far as Cornelscourt Hall for these sessions. I remember the guy who sang 'Fire and Rain' many times - he used to get lost in the lyrics and seemed to be on another planet. He was good looking though (the term is hot nowadays I believe) A gang of us would walk back to Stillorgan after a great night (was it 2.6pence in at the door ? correct me if I am wrong)

  3. Sylvie Courballée-Thévenin9 October 2009 at 10:37

    I met Diarmaid in Paris, when I was around 17, we were very close friends, and at that time he played with his band Nobody, Sebastian, Richard, and Aymerick. he had some difficult times. I remember when he showed me pictures of his daughter telling me that she looks just like me. he was one of the best person I know, remembering always, with his fur coat, and his long hair, singing in the tube, take it easy... all my family loved him so much. I left Paris to live in Madrid, and after being here more than 25 years, looking for Diarmaid, I heard that he left. it has been an horrible notice, but I do think more than often of him, and the way he was. sylvie

  4. Wayne Bradstock is a name I recognize. He is quite an authority and a fine guitarist as well. Good man I wish I'd never lost contact with. Geography is a bitch. I'm not surprised in the slightest he hasn't embraced communication technology. lol ... not in the slightest. I have fond memories of gatherings at Wayne's. I hope he is well and happy.