My Weekend: Whoever invented Friday nights deserves our gratitude

Mick Hannigan is co-director of IndieCork Film Festival which gets underway on October 2. Here he tells us how he spends his down-time
My Weekend: Whoever invented Friday nights deserves our gratitude

Mick Hannigan, co-director IndieCork film festival, pictured in Cork City Picture: Darragh Kane

Tell us about yourself?

My name is Mick Hannigan. For years I’ve been organising film festivals in the city: Cork Film Festival, Cork French Film Festival and especially the IndieCork Film Festival which, with friends, I helped to found ten years ago. It’s going strong and occupies a useful niche in the Irish film ecosystem: giving a platform to indie filmmakers, to young and emerging filmmakers, and also to the growing community of Cork filmmakers. Despite all the streaming services available, live screenings in the Gate Cinema, with the filmmaker present, are still an important social and cultural fix for people. I’m proud of what we’ve achieved and grateful to those who enable us to continue, such as our sponsors Blacknight Solutions for example, whose CEO, Michele Neylon, originates from Cork.

What is your ideal way to spend a Friday night?

Weekends are important – down time, unwinding, recharging batteries, catching up with friends, whatever. Whoever invented Friday nights deserves our gratitude. Even if you’ve nothing on you know that you’ve permission to relax!

Lie ins or up with the lark.. which is it for you?

I’m a night owl – there’s reading to be done, there’s tomorrow morning’s papers to read, and now there’s Wordle. The new Wordle kicks in at midnight and I won’t sleep ‘till I’ve completed that! The lark won’t have me for company!

Does work creep into your weekend at all?

Alas it does. It’s a bad habit but what can you do? The pervasiveness of social media, being constantly ‘available’ and all that. And at this time of the year, leading up to IndieCork, it’s nose to the grindstone; viewing films, preparing text for the brochure and so on. I’m in awe of people who can produce a newspaper every day. Doing one publication a year, for me, is a head-wreck.

If money was no object where would you head to on a weekend city break? And who would you bring with you?

That’s easy - Lisbon. I love Portugal and all things Portuguese. I’d bring my daughter Tessa who was born in Portugal and find a simple family restaurant serving bacalhau, and then find a bar where there’s Fado singing. And I know a place, the Brasiliera, where you can get coffee and a pastel de nata at two in the morning!

A winter sunset on Muckross Lake, Killarney National Park, where Mick likes to visit. Picture: Valerie O'Sullivan
A winter sunset on Muckross Lake, Killarney National Park, where Mick likes to visit. Picture: Valerie O'Sullivan

Closer to home, is there some place you like to head to recharge the batteries?

Killarney is a recent enthusiasm. Seamus O’Connell’s Malarkey restaurant is a delight and then there’s the National Park to explore. I’ve, discreetly, camped there, on the shore of Muckross Lake!

Do you like to catch up with family/friends at the weekend?

Totally! I’m a regular at the Farmers Market which, as well as doing my ‘big shop,’ allows me to bump into friends and acquaintances, and my IndieCork colleagues, Úna Feely and husband Tony Langlois, often invite me round for dinner and I get to eh, ‘socialise’ with their new rescue dog Roscoe.

Do you get to indulge any hobbies? Even as a spectator?

Are hobbies still a thing? I dunno! Does drinking wine count? I do collect succulent plants but they tend to do fine on their own.

Entertain or be entertained? If it’s the latter do you have a signature dish?

I’m not a great host I’m afraid. But I like to think I provide entertainment - inadvertently perhaps - to those I visit.

We have so many places to eat out in Cork - where are your go to spots for coffee/ lunch/ special meal?

Yes, so many great places. I go out for a coffee most days. In Myo (or rather outside Myo, overlooking the river!), Cork Coffee Roasters, the wonderful Cocoa in the Winthrop Arcade, the friendly Coffee Stop in the English Market, and others. For a special meal, it has to be Cafe Paradiso. It’s got what I need.

Sunday night comes around too fast.. how do you normally spend it?

Cork Singer’s Club, when it kicks off again in October, will be my regular Sunday night activity. I don’t sing but I appreciate those who do. The Singer’s Club is at once a Cork institution and a fascinating ‘underground’ scene.

What time does your alarm clock go off on Monday morning?

I’ve recently taken to leaving the curtains open and trusting the sunlight to waken me, which, so far, it’s done without fail.

Anything else you are up to right now…

I’ve quite enough to be getting on with. I’m frazzled by IndieCork preparations. It’s the same every year but it being our tenth anniversary and the programme being bigger with more guests coming, etc., it’s especially pressurised. But sure we’ll be grand!

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