- 01 Apr 10
It is with great sadness that Hot Press marks the death of Paddy McNicholl – the man behind the legendary Connolly's of Leap venue. His funeral took place today.
The venue is in West Cork – and so it was always a stretch to put it on the map, but Paddy McNicholl succeeded in doing that. A former musician himself, he loved music and was deeply committed to it – and this was evident to the bands and musicians who graced the very special place he created, effectively as one musician put it, "in the middle of nowhere."
Things had not been easy in recent years, as a result of the smoking ban and the aggressive anti-drink driving campaigns that made it difficult to run bars in places that you had to drive to. But Paddy had soldiered on, doing his utmost to keep the music alive in West Cork, before finally pulling down the shutters on regular gigs a couple of years ago.
“Connolly’s is a way of life for me," he had told Hot Press in 1994. "And even if at the moment we’re actually working for the bank, to be permanently surrounded by great music in one of the loveliest places in all of Ireland, with great people, a healthy environment and a really humane pace of life to bring kids up in, sure where else would you get it?”
Paddy was a decent man, and a genuine character. He will be greatly missed by everyone involved in music in Ireland.
"Whenever The Pale are confronted with a gruelling up-and-down the map of Ireland sort of tour," the band told us also in 1994, "you get the usual groans and mutterings you can expect from musicians who prefer to be permanently welded to their matresses. But all you have to do is mention Connolly’s of Leap and watch the exchange of knowing grins. It’s the Pale’s equivalent to getting a sly rasher sandwich on a Lough Derg pilgrimage. It’s the hospitality, you see."
The hospitality when Paddy was around was always wonderful. May he rest in peace.
To read the Hot Press Interview with Paddy McNicholl and more, click here