...Or Ireland at least. Blazing rows erupted and staff members had to be pried apart, but the votes are in and the 50 best Irish gigs since Hot Press's inception have been settled on.
We knew, of course, that it was an impossible task. But we weren’t going to be put off by anything as trivial as that!
This issue of Hot Press is dedicated to naming the 50 Greatest Irish Gigs Ever – well, since the inception of the magazine in 1977, for a start. When the idea was originally mooted at an editorial meeting, the debate around the table began immediately. Would we include festivals? How could you do a special issue on the greatest gigs and not include The Beatles in the Adelphi Cinema in 1963? How indeed? Can you really compare Abba in the RDS with Radiohead in the Rock Garden? A tough one! And what about the great residencies, where a band or a performer goes out and delivers their best, week after week, over a sustained period? Where would they fit into this grand edifice?
The caveats didn’t matter. Whatever way we came at it, we knew that it was something that we had to do. In fact the more furiously people argued, the clearer it became that this was, and is, the stuff of journalism. The Smiths in 1984 was the best ever gig in the SFX. Discuss!
At first, I hadn’t thought we’d go the whole hog and actually put the gigs in order, from 1 to 50. No one else around the editorial table was in any doubt, however. “That’s the whole point of something like this,” one of the gentler of the crew said firmly. Others were far more vociferous, gesticulating wildly and generally acting as if I had a few screws loose. “You have to fucking put them in order,” a member of the design team opined. “Otherwise what’s the fucking point?” That he was suddenly so unusually eloquent was impressive. I was beginning to be persuaded.
Of course there were great gigs before Hot Press was there to report on them. I was at more than a few. But it is fair to say that, collectively, the Hot Press crew have been at the vast majority of the thousands of shows since, at which reputations have been made – and on occasion perhaps destroyed. And so we began a process of consultation with the multitude of writers, reporters, musicians, journalists and sages who went out into the field for us at different times. We dug through the files and located the original reviews of hundreds of shows, big and small. We consulted the runes.
The more we delved, the bigger the task seemed to get. But what did become clear, when we paused for a moment of prayer and reflection, was that there are gigs that can be thought of as seminal, and which had a profound effect, not just on the people that were there to witness first-hand what was going on, but also on the wider culture of music in Ireland, and – on occasion indeed – on Irish society as a whole.
Hot Press was launched at the time of the punk explosion. Up to that point Ireland had been seen by far too many rock ’n’ roll bands as a place to be studiously avoided. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, among others, had travelled here to play what truly were ground-breaking gigs in the 1960s, but once the troubles in Northern Ireland erupted, the agents and the managers ran scared. For most of the 1970s, with the odd honourable exception – notably country artists like Johnny Cash, pop stars like Gilbert O’Sullivan and The Bay City Rollers, and (encouraged by Rory Gallagher’s brother and manager Dónal) the biggest rock act of the 1970s, Led Zeppelin – Ireland was largely untroubled by outfits of real international stature.
Punk changed all of that. The anti-establishment attitude of the bands and the rambunctious nature of the music meant that they were far less likely to be put off by any insidious paranoia about potential paramilitary violence – which was, in any event, only the remotest of remote possibilities. Besides, with Stiff Little Fingers emerging in Belfast and The Undertones in Derry, as well as The Outcasts, Rudi, The Moondogs and more, the North itself was now seen as an essential part of the greater punk and new wave scene. For some, it was a badge of honour to play Belfast at least.
It is probably fair to say that the first golden era of Irish music began in 1977. Rory Gallagher, who had blazed a trail through the 1970s, playing astonishing gigs in the National Stadium, Dublin, the Ulster Hall, Belfast and City Hall, Cork, headlined Ireland’s first ever proper outdoor rock festival in Macroom in June of that year. Thin Lizzy followed hard on that crucial show with the Dalymount Festval, which had the benefit of a bill that included the glorious noise of Graham Parker and the Rumour in their pomp, The Boomtown Rats in electrifying ascendant mode, and The Radiators From Space, among others.
It helped that the Rats were on the cusp of something. Already racking up the hit singles, they had one of the most compulsive front- men of the moment in Bob Geldof. Suddenly, young Irish musicians and fans alike became aware that the door was open if you knew how to push it. The Rats duly decamped to London, but all of the rising UK punk acts of the time came to Ireland and played brilliantly frenzied shows in places like Trinity College, the Top Hat in Dun Laoghaire, the State Cinema in Phibsboro, what had been the Fiesta Club in Talbot Street (and the name of which, as a punk venue, escapes me now), as well as Downtown Campus in Cork.
Jim Aiken had pioneered the promotion of international gigs in Ireland. Pat Egan went after a more explicitly rock audience, bringing country rock acts in from the States, as well as punk and new wave bands like The Stranglers and The Jam from the UK. Denis Desmond’s MCD joined the fray at the end of the 1970s. It became a hugely competitive scene – and music fans all over Ireland were the winners, as this country was gradually established as a place where every self- respecting international act simply had to play.
That is, in a sense, the background to the debate as to what was the greatest gig ever in Ireland; and indeed to the competing claims that various shows can make to a place in the Top 50. For a start, then, we had to establish a few ground rules. It would be best, we felt, if we limited any artist to one nomination. To take the obvious example, for fans of the band, U2 might be entitled to consideration for anything up to 10 key appearances There were the Dandelion Market gigs; the Jingle Balls series in McGonagles nightclub; the National Stadium show in 1980, following which they were signed by Island Records; the blistering Phoenix Park festival bill in 1983, with Eurythmics, Simple Minds, and Big Country in support; their first Croke Park gig in 1985; the surprise appearance at the Lark By The Lee in Cork the same year; the Joshua Tree tour at Croke Park in 1987; the PopMart tour in 1997 at Lansdowne Road or, better still, in the Botanic Gardens, Belfast; the Slane homecoming in 2001; or the Vertigo or 360° tours, again in Croke Park. Of these, we decided, only one could be admitted.
We also ruled that festivals were, and are, a law unto themselves. Looking back at the bill for the 1995 Féile, which took place in Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork, you have to acknowledge that it was positively fucking astonishing, all the more so in the light of subsequent developments: Moby, Blur, Massive Attack, The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Kylie Minogue, The Stone Roses, Underworld, Paul Weller, Tricky, Orbital, Ash, Nick Cave, The Beautiful South, The Orb, Elastica, Reef, David Holmes – and that was just for starters. But at a festival, every act is to one degree or another at the mercy of forces that are outside their control. To compare Blur at Féile with their RHK show in 2013 just wouldn’t make sense. Or so we reasoned.
Festivals, of course, are events that can and often do live forever in the imagination of people who attend. They are, in many instances, essential coming-of-age rituals. And at the best ones, there is a beautiful madness afoot, up into which people can be swept, so that they do and see and experience things that otherwise might forever be denied them.
Rory Gallagher’s Macroom Festival in 1977 was a case in point. Hot Press went down just after the launch of the magazine and we engaged with the Irish rock citizenry directly for the first time. It was a defining moment for many. Edge was in the audience that day, as were numerous other aspiring young musicians; the U2 guitarist picked up a copy of Hot Press for the first time there too. It was a day on which people began to get the measure of what music might make possible here in Ireland – and what Irish music could ultimately achieve.
That was followed into the annals by the Lisdoonvarna Festival, a magnificently bacchanalian romp in the wilds of Co. Clare that ran for six remarkable years and was immortalised by Christy Moore in his brilliant, eponymous paean, entitled of course ‘Lisdoonvarna'. Lisdoon ended in tears for reasons that are too painful and complicated to go into here, but the emergence in 1981 of Slane Castle as a one-day ‘festival' location had, in any event, suggested a different – and it has to be said – somewhat more civilised set of opportunities.
But there always has been an appetite for the kind of event that offers a rite of passage for young audiences finding their adult feet for the first time. It is something that MCD identified first with Féile, then with Witnness and subsequently Oxegen.
Sometimes, the extraordinary scale of the success of these events is underestimated by Irish people. In the UK, Glastonbury is the mother of all festivals. A huge cultural event, it attracts 175,000 people. But that is on an island with a population of 60 million. On a per capita basis, the equivalent attendance at an Irish festival would be 17,500. Oxegen, at the height of its popularity, saw an astonishing 80,000 fans descend on Punchestown.
Which was the best Féile? What was the ultimate Oxegen bill? Has there been a stand-out Electric Picnic, the event pioneered in Stradbally by John Reynolds of PoD, that was head and shoulders above the rest? How do the Tennent’s Live gigs in the North compare? What about the Fleadhs in Tramore?
Well, having taken up the challenge we have had to adjudicate, dammit. We would pick the Top 10 festivals and list them separately to the 50 Greatest Gigs. That was the decision. There seemed to be no other logical approach.
And yet the arguments raged. Was the Fleetwood Mac gig in the National Stadium in 1969 really better that any of the post-Rumours extravaganzas, as seen most recently in the magnificently salubrious environs of 3Arena? We decided it was. It is deeply sad that the band that wrote and recorded music as profoundly brilliant and beautiful as ‘Man of the World’, ‘Albatross’, ‘Oh Well’, ‘Black Magic Woman’ and the gloriously incendiary ’The Green Manalishi’ imploded so spectacularly. But the gig was itself cathartic in a way that the latter-day Fleetwood Mac never could be. Or that is the Hot Press verdict, much as we love the incarnation that emerged in 1975 with the Fleetwood Mac album, released the demonically addictive Rumours in 1977 – and returned to the fray together in their original five-piece glory this very year.
A lot, of course, is about perspective. We happened to have two people at the Rock Garden, a tiny venue in Temple Bar, for the appearance there of Radiohead. And we hunted down others. There is something utterly special about seeing a band that has what it takes in spades, before the rest of the world has caught up with them – as a result conjuring the sense of a shared secret being revealed among initiates. Some of those legendary ‘small' gigs had to be included.
Inevitably, we have, in any event, our own personal mythology to think about. From the early days of Hot Press, I rate Ry Cooder in the National Stadium in 1977 among the best gigs I have ever seen. But I am a guitar player and Cooder was then – and probably is now still – the doyen of six string mastery. There was Ian Dury in the Olympic Ballroom: no English band could ever groove quite like the Blockheads. And Elvis Costello, on a mad, amphetamine-fuelled night in the Stella Cinema, Rathmines. None of these gigs made the top 50. Neither did the gigs Hot Press promoted with XTC in the Chariot in Ranelagh (stupendous) or De Danann in the Project Arts Centre (ditto). And nor did the inestimably brilliant Ani di Franco in the Olympia, Lucinda Williams in Tripod, Guy Clark in the Button Factory or Michael Franti in Whelan's. I could have got cranky about it, but what’d be the point? There have been hundreds of thousands of gigs. We have tried to identify the ones without which Ireland might have been a different – and I should say, crucially, a lesser – place.
And so, the list is done.
Now it is over to you. Maybe there are ones that we have omitted which really should be – which have to be – included in the 50 Greatest Gigs Ever in Ireland, or in the additional Top 10s we have created for Best Festivals, Best Residencies and Best Pre-Hot Press gigs. Our job now is to listen and absorb. And in a fortnight’s time, we will publish the results of what the Irish public have to tell us, on hotpress.com. I, for one, can’t wait to see the results of your deliberations.
But for now, to be going on with, let us take this opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary culture of live music which has been created in this country, as reflected in what is the magnificent gallery of musical memories published in this issue of Hot Press. It is true that it wouldn’t, and couldn’t, have happened without the Irish audiences, who are – rightly – regarded as up there among the very best in the world by visiting artists and bands of every stripe and hue. But this extraordinary culture also, definitively, wouldn’t have been fashioned without the promoters and the bookers, the visionaries and the venue builders, along with the men and the women who soldier in the trenches – the roadies, the sound engineers, the lighting crews, the guitar techs, the humpers, the haulers, the people behind the bars, and the owners who have a special grá for music, song and dance...
I want to salute in particular the thousands upon thousands of unsung operatives who have put their hands to the wheel when it was needed to get the show on the road and the artists onstage. To all of you: a huge thanks from Hot Press, and from the audiences that came, that clapped, that shouted, that whistled and roared and raised their lighters – and later their mobiles – aloft in enthralled homage. And who stamped and called out: "Encore! Encore! Encore"! You have given us so many of the memories that shape and define who we are, and what we believe in, as well as how we have lived our lives and, hopefully, as the song says, loved the ones we are with.
Let’s hear it, then, one more time with feeling... Encore! Encore! Encore!
Click here to read through our list of the '50 Greatest Irish Gigs' and submit your own picks.
It was a tough and gruelling encounter - but Ireland deserved to win the crunch World Cup tie against Wales, and to progress to the play-off stage.Read More
Over the past fortnight, a Facebook post by long-time Hot Press contributor Adrienne Murphy highlighted in the most heart-rending way the difficulties of living with a young man with severe autism...Read More
The Ireland and Leinster rugby star tells Hot Press that it is time for change.Read More
As the controversy about the Newstalk presenter refuses to die, the question needs to be asked: where does this poisonous stuff come from?Read More
When you are told that you need a Public Services Card to avail of social welfare or to renew a driving licence, it is mere semantics to claim that the cards are not compulsory…Read More
When you are told that you need a Public Services Card to avail of social welfare or to renew a driving licence, it is mere semantics to claim that the cards are not compulsory…Read More
Ireland’s World Cup hopes hinge on tonight’s do-or-die encounter with Serbia in Dublin. But as Niall Stokes writes, the paucity of tactical ideas on Saturday against Georgia – a recurring theme of O’Neill’s tenure – suggests the omens aren’t good. And if the result doesn’t go our way, it might just signal the end of his time in charge…Read More
Already one of the songs of the new century, Brendan Graham’s ‘You Raise Me Up’ has been selected as the end title track in a 30-episode epic on the man who is credited – along with his daughters – as a founding figure, in the People’s Republic of ChinaRead More
The time for hiding from the lights was over. In so many respects modern Ireland was born in 1987. And central to that was the huge artistic and commercial success of The Joshua Tree...Read More
Niall Stokes draws on his best-selling book Into The Heart: The Stories Behind The Songs Of U2 to offer a unique insight into the way in which some of the greatest songs in the history of popular music came into being.Read More
From Hot Press' 2002 Annual, Bono spoke to Niall Stokes about all matters personal and political.Read More
20 years ago, U2 came out with one of their most highly-anticipated albums, Pop. Niall Stokes met the band following its release for an in-depth interview.Read More
With the damaging impact of Brexit on the UK becoming clearer by the week, the threat of a hard border in Northern Ireland is likely to be used as a bargaining chip in Britain’s increasingly threadbare negotiating strategy.Read More
The Irish Music Rights Organisation has confirmed the appointment of the multi-award winning Irish songwriter, singer and composer Eleanor McEvoy as its new Chairperson, in succession to Keith DonaldRead More
There was what might have seemed like a dramatic development in the controversy surrounding the proposed new ownership of the National Maternity Hospital. But if all that is involved is shifting ownership from one religious interest group to another, then the issue remains as fraught as ever. By Niall StokesRead More
Once upon a time, there was a vision of a digital utopia. Instead, we now have global tech monopolies, surveillance capitalism and extraordinary levels of political manipulation. Welcome to the modern world...Read More
With the decision of Enda Kenny to step down – finally! – as leader of the party with the highest number of TDs in Leinster House, a new Taoiseach is on the way. Here’s an opportunity to check back over our Hot Press interviews with the leading candidates, to see what can be gleaned...Read More
The recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly may not be as far ahead of the public as politicians are claiming. But we also need legislation to prevent the covert use, and abuse, of personal data in the context of a referendum.Read More
The controversy about the ownership of the National Maternity Hospital has invited a new focus on the charitable status of Church institutions – and the extraordinary and unwarranted financial privileges which they have enjoyed since the foundation of the State.Read More
And no, this is not another Hot Press article encouraging mass promiscuity. It is about Brexit, and the push from the far right to completely undermine democratic politics.Read More
The cover of Hot Press is a national institution, coveted by emerging musicians and established stars alike. Now, the historic covers of the magazine – signed by the cover stars, and beautifully printed on specially chosen art paper – have been gathered together for a free exhibition, in the National Photographic Archive, Dublin. Introduction by Niall Stokes…Read More
Confirmation of the fact that the remains of hundreds of babies were buried in a so called ‘Mother and Baby’ home in Tuam, Co. Galway is testament to just how sick the attitude to sexuality promulgated by the dominant Church in Ireland really was. In special edition of The Message, on International Women’s Day, Hot Press editor, Niall Stokes reflects on an issue that has provoked outrage and anger.Read More
On March 9, it will be 30 years since the release of The Joshua Tree, a record that transformed U2 into the biggest rock band in the world. In this issue of Hot Press, we look back to the genesis of the album, how it was put together and and what made it work. And ask: has it stood the test of time?Read More
Over the past week, astonishing revelations have emerged about Garda collusion in a campaign of vilification which painted the whistleblower, Sergeant Maurice McCabe, as a sex offender. With the ‘Child and Family Agency’ Tusla being dragged into it, this has become a real horror story...Read More
With Steve Bannon directing operations, and aided and abetted by a bunch of power-crazed loonies, the answer is probably very far indeed. Things could get extremely nasty...Read More
There's a rocky road ahead. And we’re not talking about the one from Galway to Dublin. The good news is that Irish musicians have become far more politically involved than ever before. The bad news is that we are all facing into a particularly difficult and uncertain future. So how can we all – citizens, musicians and the media alike – deal with the political challenges ahead, from the Referendum to Repeal the 8th to the effects of Donald Trump’s presidency, knowing that we have entered the post-truth world – and that this is the backdrop against which fascism has been gaining momentum?Read More
It took the combined force of Hot Press' Editor Niall Stokes and U2 journalist extraordinaire Bill Graham to thrash it out with the four members of U2 back in 1987 to uncover the method and the magic behind their seminal album THe Joshua Tree.Read More
Speculation has been mounting about a special U2 tour that would celebrate the release of their global smash hit album The Joshua Tree, 30 years on. Well, the announcement will be made this morning...Read More
The funeral took place yesterday of Frank Murray – the man who began his career as tour manager with Thin Lizzy, and worked with Elton John and The Specials, before managing The Pogues, as well as The Frames, The Lost Brothers and more, in what was a highly distinguished career.Read More
Christmas may be coming - but in the wake of the most astonishing US Presidential election in living memory, the fear that a cadre of white supremacists may get their hands on the levers of power is growing. And it feels like uncharted territory...Read More
One of the leading lights of Irish music for the past 25 years, Glen Hansard has been chosen as the recipient of the Oscar Wilde Award for 2017 – which will be presented during Oscar week in the Los Angeles. No one is more deserving...Read More
This is 2016 and very strange and deeply disquieting things have been happening in the US and here in Ireland. It might help if we stopped singing the praises of people guilty of butchering their families, Niall Stokes said in The Message, written in that pregnant pause between the opening of the polling booths and the calculation of the result in the US election. Clearly an afterword is required…Read More
There was an Irish winner tonight, as the novel Solar Bones found favour with the judges, in an award which aims to reward genuine innovation...Read More
The decision of the Nobel Committee to award the Nobel Prize for Literature to Bob Dylan had some culture snobs frothing at the mouth. Even Bob doesn’t seem to know what to make of it all.Read More
It was an emotional occasion when the home-spun Irish epic was unvelied in Dublin’s Savoy Cinema last night.Read More
The World’s Greatest Rock Journalist has broken a decade-long silence to discuss his potential role in the Presidential stakes…Read More
Considerable controversy has surrounded the trail-blazing Galway restaurant – but the Michelin judges say that it’s still right up there, at the top of the game.Read More
It is just over 40 years, since Larry Mullen put the note on the noticeboard in Mount Temple Comprehensive, which led to the formation of U2. As various contributions to this special issue of Hot Press confirm, that gesture changed the world for millions of people all over the globe. But that they are still together is perhaps the band’s greatest achievement...Read More
The Hot Press Collective sends a message to the people of IrelandRead More
Hot Press alumni are among the leading attractions at the upcoming Write By The Sea festival in Kilmore QuayRead More
The Minister for Skills, Training and Innovation, John Halligan put his head above the parapet in relation to the laws on prostitution in Ireland. As it happens, he was right.Read More
Irish people have moved on in a way that is genuinely impressive. Dr. Lara Kelly’s testimony on abortion is one example. But there is a new honesty among Irish politicians too that gives cause for optimism.Read More
The family of the Mayo woman, who disappeared in December 2000, have called for an inquest into her death...Read More
Anyone who has experienced the manifest beauty and wonderful joie-de-vivre of Nice at its best will have been deeply moved at the shocking mass murder on the Promenade des Anglais July 18. But Europe must look into its own heart too, to find answers..Read More
Reports that HMV are to close down their four Irish stores have been confirmed – but news reports that the company’s new online platform will go head to head with streaming giant, Netflix, are not accurate.Read More
Details are emerging of the deal, concluded yesterday, which saw Virgin Media – owners of TV3 – buy UTV IrelandRead More
The UK referendum was won by the Leave side on the promise that Britain would take back control of its borders. Their victory will stoke far right, anti-immigrant sentiment across the continent.Read More
For a wonderful 60 minutes, it seemed that Ireland might just oust the hosts France from Euro 2016. That dream may have died as a result of errors in Lyons yesterday – but the sense that Irish football is on the rise once more is a wonderfully encouraging one. By Niall Stokes.Read More
It was an enthralling day of football at Euro 2016, with Ireland getting off to a solid start in Group E – only to be trumped by a brilliant Italian win over Belgium.Read More
Irish Water and Repealing the 8th can take a back-seat as the Euros kick-off in France. Now all we need are a few Shane Long hat-tricks to seal the deal...Read More
A year on from our historic and momentous 'Yes' vote on Ireland's same-sex marriage referendum, we look back at Niall Stokes' pre-vote message urging the citizens of Ireland to vote for freedom, equality and mutual respectRead More
Religious control of schools promotes inequality, prejudice, division – and worse. It is also against the founding spirit of the Republic. It must be challenged now.Read More
Guy Clark was one of the greatest songwriters of the modern era – and in Old No.1, he made one of the most extraordinary and enduring albums of all time. By Hot Press editor, Niall StokesRead More
Prince was the latest in a long line of black artists - from Sam Cooke and Otis Redding to Jimi Hendrix and Marvin Gaye - to push the envelope, both musically and culturally...Read More
Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil need to end the posturing and hammer out a deal, which will provide the country with a sustainable government.Read More
The Proclamation of 1916 was a powerful document. In recalling the momentous events of a hundred years ago, it is important not just to honour those who took part in the Rising, but- even more so- to see what we can learn in order to best shape our future...Read More
Where now for the Labour Party, after an electoral annihilation the scale of which outstripped all their worst fears?Read More
As the nation heads to the polls, it’s vital to consider not just the candidates vying for our votes, but the type of country in which we want to liveRead More
When Enya released Watermark in 1988, it WAS the beginning of one of the most remarkable chapters in the story of Irish music. With Nicky Ryan and Roma Ryan ever-present as collaborators, 80 million album sales and dozens of awards followed. Now, after a seven year hiatus, she is back with a new record, Dark Sky Island, and a determination to take the collective’s music to the world in a different way.Read More
Darkness seemed to be everywhere in 2015. It is hard to maintain any sense of hope, when barbarism is so militantly on the rise. But if we don't, we surely will be lost...Read More
The orchestrated jihadist attacks on Paris were an abomination. And the worst of the atrocities took place at a rock gig in the Bataclan, where 89 people died. So where do we go from here?Read More
As the iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE tour finally approaches Irish shores, it's time to once again celebrate U2 - not just the best of Irish, but the greatest rock band in the world.Read More
As recently highlighted by Roopesh Panicker, it is outrageous that, in 2015, educational discrimination on the basis of religion is still the norm in Ireland.Read More
After the high of beating the World Champions, neanderthal tactics and selections by Martin O'Neill ensured that The Boys In Green could not match the Sunday heroics of our rugby team...Read More
We've come a long way since the '60s, with music, literature, movies, TV and journalism all playing their part to reduce the stigma of mental illness. But reason must still prevail if we are to continue to make strides.Read More
With Europe's response to the refugee crisis lacking in effectiveness and empathy, the threat of ISIS suggests WB Yeats' most chilling words are now perfectly fitting for these times...Read More
Amidst the shock and grief of Johnny Lyons' premature passing, we pause to give thanks to a truly unique character for the countless laughs and many golden memories he gave us. Shine on, sir...Read More
As rental prices of houses and apartments skyrocket, especially in Dublin, thousands of Irish men, women and – unforgivably – children find themselves at grave risk of homelessness. Between them, local politicians and the Government must find a solution – and fast...Read More
It is easy to vilify those who take banned substances in the pursuit of sporting glory, but some of those who would be named and shamed are far more sympathetic figures than we would like to admit...Read More
The response to the tragedy in Berkeley was powerful and moving. But it is hard to listen to celebrities claiming a special relationship with God, when there are so many victims of tragedy – and of oppression– to think about...Read More
Sunday June 14 marks the 20th anniversary of the legendary Rory Gallagher's tragic death. While the world has changed in many ways, the trail-blazing guitarist's impact is still keenly felt...Read More
It was a joy to be alive in Dublin on the day the result of the referendum was announced. But there is still some way to go in the campaign for the separation of Church and State...Read More
"We're uncompromising. We're uncompromising to a fault I think. Because sometimes we're wrong. Sometimes we wind-up up blind alleys. You know. Maybe Radio Ethiopia sucks. I Don't know. Me and Patti are the only ones that like it in the world. But I don't care 'cos when we put that on we feel great." - Lenny Kaye [First Published in Hot Press Volume 2 No 7, September 1978]Read More
The referendum on same sex marriage is an opportunity for the citizens of Ireland to vote for freedom, equality and mutual respect – and in doing so to show the rest of the world what these words can really mean...Read More
With Hozier, HamsandwicH, Paul Brady, Le Galaxie and Kodaline all doing well, we are witnessing a small boom in Irish music. So how can we ensure that it lifts an even greater number of Ireland’s finest into the charts?Read More
Irish people who genuinely believe in free speech need to support the scrapping of our blasphemy laws.Read More
These are turbulent times, as Sinn Fein and socialist Independents find themselves in the unprecedented situation of topping the opinion polls. However you view this, pause to be thankful that there is no hard-Right movement of significance in Ireland, and no apparent appetite for one...Read More
It was one of those special Dublin nights. The occasion was a fund-raiser for a new short film, entitled Descend, directed by Hedi Rose, and written by Irish-based Texan screenwriter Margaret Miller. The location was upstairs in The 51 Bar on Haddington Road.Read More
Like paying to have your rubbish collected, Irish Water is another stealth charge, the genesis of which goes back to the decision to abolish household rates...Read More
Check out her take on 'Dreaming'...Read More
When U2 released their latest album Songs of Innocence, it was the subject of heated controversy. While the arguments aren't over yet, the attention is gradually turning to the music...Read More
The hacking of Jennifer Lawrence's phone, and the leaking of her private photos, was a criminal action – and much of the subsequent reaction was downright nasty.Read More
If we want to end the stigma associated with suicide, we first have to acknowledge the right to die. Far from being a threat, it is empowering to know that our future is in our own hands.Read More
Well known Dublin band are back with a crash, bang and wallop...Read More
Ours is an increasingly multi-cultural society. However, our vast State bureaucracy has refused to move with the times. Fundamental changes are needed if asylum seekers coming to Ireland are to receive justice.Read More
Your student years are a wonderful prospect, offering the possibilities of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll – but there is far more to them than that...Read More
The bare facts of a new case which surfaced last week are utterly shocking. Will this be the final straw that shames Ireland’s legislators into adopting a sensible abortion policy?Read More
Israel’s indiscriminate massacring of Palestinian men, women and children is an outrage, and they appear to have total impunity to carry on doing it. So how do we go about putting a stop to the slaughter?Read More
When Garth Brooks decided to launch his return to the live arena with a series of shows here, it was a huge statement of faith in Ireland and in his Irish fans.Read More
On the 20th anniversary of Riverdance, composer Bill Whelan looks back at the phenomenon he gave birth to, recalls the fateful decision to sack Michael Flatley, discusses the Limerick City Of Culture controversy and shares his thoughts on the future of music in an era when fewer and fewer people pay for records.Read More
The terrible truth is that there is nothing surprising about the revelations emerging about the treatment of young women and their children in mother and baby homes.Read More
The results of the local and European elections suggest that Labour is in deep trouble. With Sinn Féin beginning to leave the legacy of violence in the North behind, anything, it seems, can happen...Read More