Check out a rockin’ St Patrick’s weekend in Cork

Ronan Leonard brings you through a schedule of events taking place in Cork City over St Patrick’s Festival weekend
Check out a rockin’ St Patrick’s weekend in Cork

The Kates perform at The Crane Lane. Picture: IAMACOSMONAUT

THE Saint Patrick’s Weekend is the first big weekend of the year on the Cork entertainment calendar, and this year the event schedule throughout the city and county is jam-packed.

As you’d expect Traditional Music sessions come to the fore over the next few days with the stalwarts of the scene under the banner of The Lee Sessions, to run through some of them briefly you can find music at The Cornerhouse (Thursday & Saturday 6pm), Sin É (Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday, 6.30 & 8.30pm) and An Spailpin Fanach (Thursday, Friday & Saturday 9.30pm).

Starting this rundown on Thursday, March 16, for those who want a different tack, you can check out the comedy at the CoCo Club in The Roundy with the Thursday showcase, usually with three or four separate acts with an MC but since it’s St Patrick’s weekend they are working on a special surprise lineup to get the long weekend off with a bang. (They also host Mike Morgan with MC Cornelius Patrick O’Sullivan and resident comedians Daniel Lukas and Aaron Mac on Saturday from 8pm)

At 9pm, in The Crane Lane, you can catch The Kates, made up of Eve Clague, Mide Houlihan, Roisin Kilgannon, Paula K O’Brien and Liz Clark (who debuted a new music project with Lisa Hannigan, Gemma Hayes and Tessa Perry last week) are all musicians/songwriters in their own right but banded together to shine a spotlight on what contributions women make in a male-dominated industry. They only play songs performed or written by women from Patti Smith and Courtney Love to Sharon Van Etten and Lizzo, celebrating their contribution and whipping up a great performance at the same time.

Following them at 11pm The Black Apple Bastards, will be dragging people past the midnight mark with their rocking beats and dancefloor-friendly live set. They promise to serve up a sermon of rock tunes and ‘banging jams’, you should watch out for their outfits too.

The next day is of course Saint Patrick’s Day, so there’s music throughout the city for over 12 hours. As usual, the parade itself has plenty of live music on the floats [and listen in to yours truly as the commentator of the live stream over at].

We are back to The Crane Lane for 2pm when Two Time Polka take to the stage with their fiery mixture of cajun, bluegrass and rock ’n roll music. They are not unknown to spice up their live performances with flavours such as tangos, east European tunes and a handful of politically insightful original songs. Around the corner in the Imperial from 3pm, there will be a trio performance by the Savage Cabbages made up of Eileen Healy, Paudy Harrington and Emily Donoghue. This ensemble covers a lot of ground musically, with every set an adventure through songs and tunes from both sides of the Atlantic and beyond.

Over at the Vicarstown there is a 12 hour DJ event, ‘Lost In Time’ — from the people behind the ‘Cook Out’ series of all-dayer DJ session. All genres of music will feature throughout ‘Lost In Time’ with great tunes being the main rule of the day.

Nail Drivers will deliver a high-energy ska set at The Crane Lane at 4.30 pm.
Nail Drivers will deliver a high-energy ska set at The Crane Lane at 4.30 pm.

At 4pm, The Poor Relation will have Jeremy Nagle and his band The Bluez Crew, their live gigs are always absolute rocking events with harmonica, bass and drums helping drive Jeremy’s guitar work to the very edge! There will be an equally energetic afternoon kicking off at 4.30pm in The Crane Lane with The Naildrivers delivering yet another high energy ska set, their debut album Kick The Megaphone was released less than a year ago and has brought them to a whole new level. There is a second ska option in the form of Skazz who will be in The Pavilion at the same time (they also play Cantys at 9pm). Coughlans will have The Ceili Allstars playing at 6pm, their St Patrick’s Day Sliabh Lucre set is an annual event at this stage and it is advised to get there early to avoid disappointment.

The Cork Music legend that is Ricky Lynch will be playing with his trio in Cantys at 7pm, the energy and vitality of his live performances can’t be understated; blending his perceptive interpretations of Dylan, Beatles and other classics with his own much loved, self-penned songs (he also plays The Poor Relation on Saturday at 10pm).

Legend Ricky Lynch will play Cantys with his trio.
Legend Ricky Lynch will play Cantys with his trio.

At 8pm, Fred Zeppelins, Cork’s definitive rock bar, has Little Known playing from 8pm, their most recent single Slow Daze brought them to new audiences with their rousing, atmospheric rock sound. They are followed at 10pm by DJ Philby, who will be playing Irish Rock Classics for the rest of the night. Over in Cask, there is a similar theme with DJ JL Razza, dipping into his broad record collection to play just music from Ireland.

Deep house DJKrerri Chandler will be holding court at Cyprus Avenue.
Deep house DJKrerri Chandler will be holding court at Cyprus Avenue.

One of the world’s most legendary and innovative deep house DJs Kerri Chandler will be holding court in Cyprus Avenue from 9pm with Mucca also on the decks there during the night. Kerri’s virtually peerless DJ career has a long connection with Cork’s discerning house music fans and the atmosphere there on the night will be electric.

For those who might like a broader range of live music, other options include The Buachaills in Brick Lane at 9pm, The Essentials at 10pm in Soho, and in Dwyers at the same time you can enjoy the music of Celtic Knights, all of those bands will bring St Patrick’s Day to an excellent finish.

On Saturday, March 18, there might be some delicate heads but there will also be people looking for more live music; Richie St John and Anth Kaley — one of the best duos in Cork music — will be playing in The Belle Vue bar (opposite Collins Barracks on the Old Youghal Road), they play a wide array of songs made famous by acclaimed songwriters such as John Prine.

There is another comedy option in City Limits at 8pm with a ‘Best of Cork Special’ featuring Paul Crowley, Micheal Roche, Chris McShane and Lesly Martinez. The opposite of stand-up comedy must be silence, and conveniently in Coughlans at 10pm, they are hosting another of their legendary Silent Discos, with three different DJs playing across the channels, while everyone dances the night away and enjoys sweets and treats throughout!

To wind down the weekend on Sunday, March 19, there is a swing jazz session at 6.30pm in Franciscan Well, reminiscent of Django Reinhart and Stephanie Grapelli, watch out for the swing dancing community of Cork taking to the floor to show you how it’s done.

The Welcome Inn has Jack Ahern at 8pm, his solo guitar nights there is always a memorable affair, with his one-man version of Bohemian Rhapsody always a crowd favourite. Please check on each pub and venue’s social media in case of schedule changes.

The Lee Sessions comprehensive lineup can be found at

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