Month: May 2014

Pavement & Sir Henrys – a short comment by Bob Nastanovich

Bob Nastanovich is on record as saying that Pavements favourite / best gig was Sir Henrys. We contacted him to see if he would give us a few words to expand on this. He very kindly did. Short and Sweet but it’s Bob talking about Pavement playing Henrys… Thanks Bob…


Yeah, I remember Sir Henry’s. It’s ancient with an incredibly low ceiling. They put you up in the same building across from where they make Murphy’s Stout. It was cold and damp inside and out. We played with some great punk kids who had a cool girl singer. They were excited to play. Someone had made a crazy cool gig poster with a Joy Division–Unknown Pleasures vibe. Not sure we deserved to be in such lofty company. I mean by just being there. In reaction, I overindulged in stout. We played some songs. The staff made us feel important. I loved Cork..


3am Radio Friendly … after the 10th Birthday Party

This post is from an email from Morgan Stack – Over to you Morgan

So I’d like to submit a setlist… there is a mini back story though..

The night of the 10th birthday Ronan C played a set on Radio Friendly from about 3am to god knows what time… we happened to tape it onto two cassette tapes because, as the lads noted in the radio documentary, it wasn’t easy to get hold of these records at the time even if you had plenty of money.. which, of course, we didn’t. (In 2001 I eventually found a record shop in NY that had three copies of Nayobe – of course I bought all three – but they were the only three copies in the world I could find at that time).

The two tapes became absolutely legendary amongst our circle of friends. To this day I don’t believe I have ever come across a set that remotely approaches it in terms of tune quality and/or IMPECCABLE mixing. The tapes, of course, are long since lost, presumed ‘lent’ (I don’t suppose anybody out there or in Friendly recorded it?). Anyway, we have been emailing back and forth the last couple of days trying to remember as much of the setlist as we can. The following is what we came up with so far. I’ve tried to identify the exact mix used in each case as well. I thought some punters on here might appreciate it…. It’s not in the original order either though…

If anybody here is in touch with Ronan C tell him get in touch with me – would love to get a CD with the set recreated…

(My thanks to Peter Naughton for identifying most of the following list)

p.s. I’m inclined to agree with Stevie G that the 10th birthday was the apex of the Henry’s experience…


Michael Proctor Fall Down

Feel Like Singin’ (Erotica Mix) – Sandy B – Mercury

True Faith Take Me Away (Unknown remix)

Soulsearcher U.N.I.

R-Tyme – R-Theme

Projekt PM – When The Voices Come (Kay Kay Mix)

Mood II Swing – All Night Long

Robert Owens – I’ll Be Your Friend (Def Instrumental)

Nayobe – I Love the Way You Love Me

MBG, Rame, Alkemy & DJ Uovo – Dynamic Seduction – Peter Pan EP.

Nayobe – I Love the Way You Love Me

Cooley’s Hot Box – We Don’t Have to be Alone

Sunscreem Perfect Motion

Wamdue Kids Memory and Forgetting

Lavette – Your Love – Strictly Rhythm (1992)

Ron Trent – Altered States (South Side Terrace Mix)

BOBBY KONDERS feat. Mutabaruka THE POEM ***** (classic house 1990)

Unfinished Sympathy (Oakenfold remix)

Orbital – Belfast

Last Rhythm – Last Rhythm (Original Club Mix)

William Orbit – Water From A Vine Leaf (Xylem Flow Mix)

Sensation Beautiful Morning

The Fog – Been A Long Time (Acapella Remix)

playlist here

Nirvana at Henrys – a view from Caroline Barry

Caroline Barry put out a call a number of years ago on PROC seeking interviewees for an article that she was writing on Nirvana playing Henrys. Here is that article in full. For further blog posts from Caroline you can check out

Twenty five years ago, on August 20th 1991, Cork city played host to an unknown grunge band. Three hundred and fifty people crowded into Sir Henry’s nightclub to hear one of the biggest alternative bands play.

This band was Sonic Youth and while most people had attended hoping to hear the band play tracks from their new album, no one attending the gig could predict that the support act would end up outselling Sonic Youth and becoming the defining acts of the 90s music scene.

That band, was Nirvana.

Growing up in Cork city, I missed the Sir Henry’s era. However being an alternative creative teenager in Cork, we heard the stories, the legends and the myths of the venue. The Nirvana gig tales didn’t seem real to us, as Nirvana in our teenage years of the early noughties, were a massive influence and commemorated on our T-shirts and in our CD collections.

It is difficult for those of us used to today’s gig prices of seventy or eighty euro for one performer to imagine being charged £7.50 to see two of the world’s best grunge acts perform in such a venue. Those in attendance at the gig were some of the first to hear Nirvana’s new single, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit.’ A song which later became an anthem to a new generation of music loving alternative teenagers which keeps appealing to generation after generation, passed down through time as a song that captures the grunge and alternative mood. Which given fashion’s current obsession with capturing the style of the 1990s – is now iconic given the raw power executed on the single. It remains as relevant today as it was then.

Sean O’ Neill, then manager of the nightclub remembers the gig, ‘Nirvana had a huge stage presence and were really powerful, you could see they could go huge. I did meet all members of both bands and Kurt was pretty quiet, shy even. Nice guy, they were all pretty cool.” He adds, “They did play Smells like Teen Spirit, last song if I remember correctly. The reaction of the crowd was great. I did go to ‘Bill and Bobs’, the chipper down the road to get burgers and chips for Nirvana and Sonic youth after the gig.’ Cork was lucky and Sir Henry’s was the perfect venue to play host to such an event as the venue had become legendary in its own right for being one of the best nightclubs in Cork. Less than six months in December 1991, the band released their album, Nevermind. Which went on to knock Michael Jackson’s Dangerous off the US billboard charts No.1 spot by selling 400,000 copies per week and resulting in several weeks at the top of the charts. This wasn’t Nirvana’s first album, but their second as ‘Bleach’ had been released in 1989 debuting at No.33 in the UK charts. In fact, most attending the gig had gone to hear Sonic Youth and not Nirvana, who were still relatively unknown with many choosing to skip the support act.

Nirvana were part of a major new music scene born in America, which originated in Seattle. Grunge had become the rebellious teenagers music of choice as bands like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath had done for their parent’s generation. It gave disillusioned youth a means through which to rebel and provided a soundtrack to their angst. Bands such as the Melvins, Sonic Youth and Bikini Kill had already begun to make an impact on English and Irish charts and with Sonic Youth booked to play a venue in Cork, Kim Gordon, Sonic Youth’s lead singer and friend of Kurt Cobain, suggested the band support them on their tour. Sir Henry’s in 1991 had become legendary as one of Cork’s best known and best loved live music venues. Situated on Grand Parade in the heart of the city, it had been gathering a reputation for some of the biggest names in music since 1978. Providing a generation of Cork’s music lovers with the perfect venue to discover new music. There are websites, forums dedicated to keeping the Sir Henry’s legend alive by sharing photos, stories and DJ remixes. Many of the DJs who played there going on to fame as a result of club nights such as Sweat and Fish Go Deep.

While the building, which was demolished in 2002, is gone – the memories and feelings for the place still run deep in Cork’s nightclub history. While the club is known for its move into the dance scene of the 1990s which earned two ‘club of the month’ awards from MTV. It was also a rock venue originally. While managing the club, Sean O’ Neil remembers the increasing interest in dance music within the club. The dance music that came along in the early ‘90’s was a huge new movement and we happened to be doing a dance night since 1988 and it kind of evolved. There was no great plan but we were ahead of the game. By luck and things just happened. In 1988 it was widely regarded as a dance club.”

The subsequent popularity of Nirvana in Ireland meant that many were shocked when on April 8th 1994, just three years after the legendary gig and deep into the height of their worldwide fame, singer Kurt Cobain took his own life aged just 27. A reluctant poster boy for the grunge and alternative movement, Cobain struggled with his own fame before becoming addicted to heroin. He shot himself in his hotel room. Martin Leahy, a Sir Henry’s regular, who attended the gig remembers his shock at the announcement. . ‘His death was a real shock –I turned on Dave Fanning on the radio in my old red VW Golf Mk2. Fanning played 6 Nirvana tracks in a row so we knew something was up. Fanning came on and spoke about Cobain in the past tense – he didn’t give the details. We were pretty sad and held hands for a few seconds in the car.” He also remembers meeting Cobain at the gig. “I High-fived him after the set. He said “Thanks man, we had a blast”. Jesus Kurt boy, so did we.”

Although it’s been thirty two years since Sir Henry’s first opened its door, the decision to close the bar in 2002 meant that Sir Henry’s has achieved almost cult status amongst my generation in Cork. Fans talk of discovering dance music, the sweat of the dance floor, the legends that took to the stage launching careers. It provides a series of powerful memories of a city that begun to be known for great live music and it has become part of Cork’s social history. Those in my generation, myself included, wished we were of an age where it had still been alive as turning eighteen in 2003 meant that I missed the era of Sir Henry’s.

Sean O Neill comments that “The site is now still derelict. Kind of an apt testament in a twisted way to how things have gone in this country. Yes, it was falling down but Cork has really missed it, you can’t just go out and buy history off the shelf. I remember it as an oasis, different and welcoming the different, putting on shows, taking risks, and the people who went there were just incredible. The reaction to the club closing was a bit muted as it had lost its sheen and it was quite a slow, drawn out death. Over the years more and more are saddened by its demise. ”

“What’s the score Saturday night boys, haaa?’

Another guest blog post – this time taken from an email from James Stout all the way from the deep mines in Australia – news of the exhibition is literally travelling the world.

Hi there just quick email to say well done on bringing back the happy days memories. A few of us here in Oz working far away in the mines are watching closely your page and every few days when the post come up it’s all we talk about for days… Daycent, boiiiiii…
Back in the days of Henrys we moulded our lives around the weekend ‘cause it was time for Henrys and my god if the Sweats were on or a daycent foreign DJ – like Carl Cox or Laurent Garnier – the whole society or as we call it ‘the Henrys family’ would be buzzing. From the Monday morning going into work, still bate from the weekend, and the cassette tapes of recordings from previous Sweats blaring away all we think about was “What’s the score Saturday night boys, haaa?”
So Saturday night comes upon us out with the white jeans, the hi vis vest, or the trendy dungarees and away you go to one of the old haunts to just have your few scoops – not too many ‘cause you need your wits about you to dance. Then time for the big show – Henrys’ doors open and a stream of white-jeaned, baseball-capped, naffe-jacketed herd of Sweat addicts make their way in to escape to that other world of music friends and total ecstasy. Off up the stairs after having the banter with Sean legs and other doormen… Get up the stairs and the smell would get your heart racing… Off into the jacks, strip down into the get up, put all the gear into your little ruck sack, and off out to resume your regular position, shaking hands with everyone you have come to know from there. Pints of water stacked on the bar and BANG the tunes are pumping (Ball and Chain) and the sweat begins and continues through out the night… Sirens, whistles and climax tunes get the whole crowd bouncing to the same beat. UNREAL. Boom boom boom ohhh ohhh the chants continue, hugs, kisses, loads of ‘I love yous’ handed out everywhere and the night is coming to an end so the chatter begins “Boys where’s the gaff tonight?” or “Any parties happenin’ somewhere?”

…again, happy days

This post is from a comment that Olivia (Dineen) Trought posted on one of other blog posts. We felt it needed to be rescued from the margins to enable as many people as to see it. Again, happy memories from happy days.

Over to Olivia…

Nights/Weekends in Sir Henry’s: These really were the most happiest of times. It was the most amazing place to be. The full room(s) were surrounded by everyone you knew (where would that be these days.. no where!) The friends I had in Sir Henry’s are still some of my closest friends today. I started frequenting Henry’s when I was 16 (shock horror). My sister brought me there for my first time and I remember the night like it was yesterday. Still to this day I’m referred to as “Val’s little sister” by many of her friends that I met in those days as a 4 foot something 16 year old.. happy days.

My husband who I met when I was 16 (didn’t meet in Sir Henry’s may I add, as he was only 14) (yes, 22 years ago and still going strong with 2 beautiful daughters) started going with me and my sister at the age of 15 (shock horror)

The music had everyone jumping for hours on end and when the final song came at about 1.55am you could feel the sombre mood in the whole floor(s) and there was always one more played by the legendary Greg and Shane. You could feel your chest pumping from the music when you got to the deep crowds waiting outside afterwards, many that didn’t get in from the sheer volume of people wanting a taste of that special place.

Many a night we had in the DJ box looking down at the hundreds of people underneath. That was THE place to be.

The dirt on the floor combined with the perspiration turned any white pants / jeans to an extremely different colour to what it was at the start of the night …. again, happy days.

There were many nights of fabulous DJ’s, namely, Judge Jules, Carl Cox, Johnny Pleased Women (think that was his name, am i right, its one of the nights that sticks out in my mind) the legendary Greg and Shane, Stevie G, Shay D Shay, Marq Walsh, Colm K.. too many to mention. Shay D Shay is a friend of ours to this day and we had the pleasure of him DJ’ing at our wedding in 2002 and also at my 30th birthday party. Henry’s songs were played on the night of our wedding and still to this day our friends talk about the music that Shay D played that night.

I remember the woman sitting on the chair in the ladies bathroom… The old man on his own dancing on the raised floor near the stage at the back. We all wondered what age he was and why was he there every weekend on his own?

It was great to go and see the amazing play “Deep” last year. I remember sitting in the audience, next to my husband and looking around at everyone and thinking that most of the people in the room looked familiar and I thought, these people definitely frequented Henry’s back in the day.

So to everyone involved in this project, thank you, thank you, thank you and its great to read and see the many old pieces of memorabilia from the flyers, photos etc from what I can really say was a happy happy time and I am so thrilled to have shared this with my husband, siblings and many friends.

I don’t think anyone back then would have anticipated how Sir Henry’s has become such a memorable place in all of our minds and I can say that I had the pleasure in sharing this experience with my husband, not a lot of people can say that (apart from a few of my closest friends, Mandy Prendergast Cooke, Triona Prendergast Dunlea, and Ashleigh Martin O’ Riordan.

To anyone that was not fortunate enough to experience the nights in Sir Henry’s due to them being too young etc. boy, did you all miss out on what is now becoming a huge feature of Cork’s nostalgia and I would recommend you all to go and visit the exhibition once it opens as i know I will be there … Happy Days, for some they were Happy Weekends too 🙂

Olivia (Dineen) Trought

“One more Choon”

Another post from our Inbox – this one courtesy of Alan, City Centre

Hi There,

When I heard from a friend of mine that this was taking place I must say I really had a smile on my face. I worked as a glass collector, and eventually the bar in Sir henrys for a good few years with a friend of mine. £3 an hr, 5 hours a night and got paid and then went to Hill Billy’s for a Breast N Bun, and came back and watched all the goings on from the grand parade hotel front bar and door. I actually met my long term partner on April 1st 1999. It was a teenage disco; I was in the Annex DJ Box with Paul Scanlon on the decks watching him bang out the choonz while looking to the hundreds of younger ravers below!!!

As a teenager aged just 16 at the time, I felt like a King “up there” ,as I was a budding DJ then, and am still djing now!! From that day on, I have been with her and have 3 beautiful daughters also. I absolutely loved working in Sir Henrys. As a music lover I got to listen to music for free, have a dance around the place and meet some big DJ’s and get paid, all be it £3 an hour. But at 16 years old to be in a night club, know the DJs and get free entry to the teenage disco for friends this was a great help in the social ladder of popularity.

While I have many memories such as Beach Ball in the summer and then in winter Snowball, Wednesday Nights Freakscene, the big one of course was Sweat on Saturday. We got to meet people who travelled each week from Limerick, Kerry, Dublin and beyond who slept in their cars or stayed with lads they had met at Sweat since they started coming. I knew this was a legendary place as I had older sisters who all had gone there and were still attending in some cases as their ages were older than me. So each night was special.

The one great memory of Sir Henry’s was big John Mansfield. My god what a legend! He always looked out for everyone in there and always put you in good form coming into work. But not only that, when the lights came on, the night was over. Or Was It! 5 minutes later all you heard was boom, boom, boom, lights back off and Greg& Shane were back for “One More Choon”

Streets, The Village, The Factory were all part of this special complex. Being able to have a pint of Smirnoff ice , yes a pint on tap, while playing a Daytona game of racing really was the highlight of the weekend back then!!

Anyway as another Person who met their life long partner in Sir Henry’s, I really can’t wait to see the exhibition.

Well done to all involved.

Not just a black room at the top of the stairs

We received a wonderful email from Triona Dunlea in response to our request for material and stories from and to do with Sir Henrys. Below is the email in almost its entirety. We believe it beautifully encapsulates what Henrys was and still is for many people. Thanks Triona…

I know that the exhibition is imminent and theres a bit of a buzz around about it! This is great and just shows the power that this club had and the affection that still exists in the City for it.

For me personally it was a huge part of growing up. I probably first went up the stairs in 97-98….. I actually first kissed my husband on a Thursday night BeachBall session and we are always saying that our kids will know that their mammy and daddy were once so cool that they actually first met in Henrys! Come to think of it, my brother also met his wife there….

Anyway, for me I think the reason it was such an important part of my life is that it was a place where you were free to belong. Through music and dance there was a brotherhood and the sense of community that I have never felt anywhere else. Ray Scannell expressed the feelings that I could never put in words in his play “Deep”…..

One of my favourite memories was at the end of every Saturday night, without fail, when the lights had come up and the music had been faded out people would stamp their feet, dance, whistle and keep going!!!!

I saw a beautiful quote from someone when Henrys was finally closed – “Someone once said that Henrys was just a black room at the top of a black stairs…. I realised when it closed down that physically thats all it was…. for those who belonged it was a whole lot more…..”

I hope Ive stirred a bit of nostalgia (I certainly have for me….)

Regards and best of luck, I will certainly be at the exhibition.

Triona Dunlea