Celebrating 10 years of The Kabin in Cork's northside

TIMOTHY O’MAHONY continues his series on the Volunteers of Cork with a visit to The Kabin, on Harbour View Road, on Cork’s northside
Celebrating 10 years of The Kabin in Cork's northside

Garry McCarthy - Founder and Tutor at the Kabin Roisin Cullinane - Aaron Hennessy Luke Martin Darren Stewart Sean Downey - Tutor.

THE Kabin Studio is based on Harbour View Road between Hollyhill and Knocknaheeny. It was founded in 2013 by Garry McCarthy, from GMCBeats Workshops, who re-purposed an idle MasterKabin in partnership with Cork ETB and Music Generation Cork City to run workshops and recording projects for local young people.

In the decade since the Kabin’s inception, it has grown as a community resource, become a hive of creativity, a place to nurture young talent, and more importantly it has become a space where young people can be themselves and build lasting friendships.

The Kabin has developed many youngsters with musical talent and the tutors there have created a safe, friendly environment that allows the youngsters to be open, to think, talk and to ultimately thrive.

They write music, play instruments, form groups, write lyrics, rap, sing, and so much more. 

The Kabin has had multiple people take part in the Late Late Toy Show over the last number of years. They have a girl group called Misneach, have been making podcasts and short films, have rap artists, singers, podcasters, poets, and have even started learning about and actively taking part in horticulture.

The outcome of much of the work that happens there is a recorded piece of music of some kind. But the truth is that what’s happening at the Kabin goes far beyond music.

Garry and his fellow tutors are educating these youngsters about community, inclusivity, acceptance, communication and ownership. These youngsters, that range in age from eight or nine year’s old right up to 18, are being prepared for the future in such a positive way, for a world in which they will be the stars, the leaders and future of Ireland and beyond. I was blown away by what has been created in the space.

I spent a few hours at the Kabin with a group of four wonderful teenagers who are actively participating and volunteering at The Kabin - here Roisin Cullinane, Luke Martin, Darren Stewart and Aaron Hennessy shared their thoughts, and reflect on their work at The Kabin and the hopes for the future.

Róisín Cullinane and Chloe Murphy from Misneach at The Kabin Studio at Music Generation Cork City’s 10th Birthday Celebration at the Everyman Theatre. Picture Clare Keogh
Róisín Cullinane and Chloe Murphy from Misneach at The Kabin Studio at Music Generation Cork City’s 10th Birthday Celebration at the Everyman Theatre. Picture Clare Keogh


How do people support each other at the Kabin?

People in the Kabin are always there for us, no matter what. They help you in every way possible to get the most out of the experience and they also help with many more things.

For me, I’m grateful for all the workers and when I started I was very nervous, but they helped me become more confident with music and writing. The Kabin is the most accepting place there is.

What are your goals at the Kabin over the next year?

For me, some things I would like to do in the Kabin over coming year would be to work more on my own music, record tracks and get them out there.

Tell me about the girl group you are part of?

Misneach is a girl group of six teen singer/ songwriters who have released three songs that speak on female empowerment and things females face on a day-to-day basis, especially in terms of social media.

The Kabin makes it feel like anything is possible for young people who want to try something different - what would your advice be to any young person who has a dream but maybe thinks it’s impossible?

I think no matter what it is, you should just give it a try, because growing up I always had a love for music but I never imagined that I would be able to say I have three released songs so everything is possible. 

If you want it, you have to go out and get it. It won’t be handed to you, but if you put in the effort you will get the outcome you want.

Tell me about the Kabin Youth Council?

We set up the Kabin Youth Council so young people can have a space where they will be able to bring up points and connect with younger groups so, if they have an issue, they can share it with us and then we can bring it to the youth council meeting and try to solve the problem and find a solution.

Aaron Hennessy at The Kabin.
Aaron Hennessy at The Kabin.


You were on The Late Late Toy Show in recent years, tell me what kind of experience was that for you?

The Toy Show was brilliant, it was a very good experience for me. It took a while to audition and get through it but when I found out I was on it, it was the best thing ever. I loved being on it. I literally can’t remember anything from when I was rapping. I can’t remember that part at all. Before I went on, I was OK, I wasn’t that nervous but I was a small bit nervous. During the show, it was the best thing ever and after I felt very excited that I had done it. 

I was happy that I had done it and it was just the best thing.

What would you say to any young people who want to try out something new, based off your experience?

To young people that want to do anything, I think ye should do it, any opportunity that you don’t take, you miss. Lots of things have happened since I was in the Kabin, lots of opportunities came up and helped me get on the Toy Show and do different performances and basically helped me pursue music.

How do your mentors help you developer your music making and rapping skills?

They’re the best, they help you with rapping, writing, learning how to make music. If you need help with anything, they’ll help you straight away. They are all very supportive.

When I write, I usually pick a topic and write about that. I don’t really write about personal stuff.

Luke Martin on drums at The Kabin.
Luke Martin on drums at The Kabin.


What have you learned that you can take away and use in your everyday life?

The Kabin Studio has helped with my personal life a lot. It’s allowed me to be more creative, given me exponential amounts of stage confidence, and an escape in case I’m having a rough day.

I’ve learned to be patient with others, be patient with myself and look out for those who you are working with.

My favourite part about being at the Kabin is that I’m able to express and be myself without the pressure from other people around my age. Everyone’s so welcoming and understanding of each other and it’s so comforting. I can do the things I’m comfortable doing without having to worry about what I look like to others.

I believe the Kabin provides a varied creative outlet for the local community. Even if you’re not interested in performing or making music, you can program, 3D model, create art, write poetry, do drama or make podcasts.

The mentors’ constant support is one of the best qualities of the Kabin. Whether I’m writing a song or rehearsing for a gig, it’s a stream of positivity and you feel invincible when you’re performing or showcasing work.

Garry McCarthy - founder and tutor - at the Kabin with Roisin Cullinane, Aaron Hennessy, Luke Martin, Darren Stewart and Sean Downey - tutor.
Garry McCarthy - founder and tutor - at the Kabin with Roisin Cullinane, Aaron Hennessy, Luke Martin, Darren Stewart and Sean Downey - tutor.


What has the Kabin given you on an

individual level?

I wouldn’t be who I am without it, I wouldn’t have got all the opportunities in my life that I have so far. Through the Kabin, all of us have become like one big family.

There is one main rule in the Kabin, and that’s if you are up here, you have to be creative. It doesn’t matter what art form it takes.

Tell me about your writing process?

It depends on how I’m feeling. If I’m feeling a beat I just roll with what’s on my mind. If I’m bopping my head to the beat and I came up with one line like ‘I’m sitting here staring at the mic’ and I’ll just continue along and along or if I had a topic I’d roll with that.

I don’t think about anything unless I’m actively doing something. That might sound strange but If I’m not engaged in doing something my mind is clear. I think it’s because I’m a really peaceful person I am peace a lot and very laidback. It allows me to be fully engage when I am writing or rapping.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Echo 130Echo 130

Have you downloaded your FREE ie logo  App?

People holding phone with App

It's all about Cork!

Have you downloaded your FREE ie logo  App?

It's all about Cork!

App Store LogoGoogle Play Logo

Podcast: 1000 Cork songs 
Singer/songwriter Jimmy Crowley talks to John Dolan

Listen Here

Contact Us Cookie Policy Privacy Policy Terms and Conditions

© Evening Echo Ltd, Linn Dubh, Assumption Road, Blackpool, Cork. Registered in Ireland: 523713

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more