The worst band to ever play Sir Henrys.

Came across this latest post, courtesy of John McCarthy on his blog Smile and be a villain. Thought it fitted in perfect with our other posts. He had titled it  But this eternal blazon must not be To ears of flesh and blood. We prefer his subheading  – The worst band ever to play Sir Henrys. Thanks John…


It might have been the darkness that added to the mystique of Sir Henry’s. It might have been that the floor was un-seeable but could very much be felt. It might have been the posters strewn across the corridor in with bands’ names that seemed to be made up on the flick of a coin. (Flick of a coin could be a good name for a band). It might have been the flagon of cider that we got somebody to buy for us in Galvin’s on the Bandon Road on the way into town. It might have been the neo-punks with hair to the ceiling and the Jesus and Mary Chain scrawled across the back of a parka.

I’d meet my cousins there. Damien and Raymond Mullally. The Mullally’s were music royalty in Cork. Their friend Morty McCarthy was the coolest person I knew. We went to watch bands. My friends, first Gary Gibbons, later Derek Coffey and Ian Flanagan and later still I dragged my girlfriend, now my wife, Fiona to watch bands.the smaller the better. The more obscure the better.

I loved the Cork bands. 3355409s with their little guitarist with a bumblebee jumper, Idol Joy, Porcelain Tears, Cypress, Mine! who should have been huge, Belsonic Sound and so many that came and went with not even a Fanning Session to their name. My childhood friend Kieran Cotter worked as a roadie for Cypress, Mine! and later the brilliant Blue in Heaven. He also got to play with Cork Super group The Mad Dancing Bastards From Hell. Another friend Patrick Healy played with his band there. (The name of the band is gone). The How and Why Insects went to my school. Everything was close, immediate but still so far away. The barrier from audience to stage was enormous. I needed to hurdle it. i needed to be in a band.

Gary Gibbons and I formed a band. Gary could play. His father Paul played in a Jazz band. Gary had some gorgeous guitars. At 17, I could hold a note no better than I could hold my beer. Gary sang. I wrote horrendous agitprop lyrics.I learned how to play the Bass guitar. I bought a Bass and an Amp from Small Paul in Crowley’s on MacCurtain street. I got lessons from Sinead Lohan’s dad in Greenwood out the road in Togher. He told me I had no rhythm. I didn’t care. I had the Bass. I had the trenchcoat. I had a glittery shirt. We found a drummer, Ivan Murray. we found a rehearsal room in Togher Boy’s School. We called ourselves The 5 O’ Clock Heroes after the Jam song. We were ready to go. We played a couple of talent shows. Sean O’ Neill in Henry’s was allowing bands play on Tuesday nights when Henry’s would otherwise be empty. We were in.

My brother arranged for Don Creedon to do sound for us. We were booked. We made some posters. We had twelve songs ready. Forty of our friends, all underage came to watch us and we played Henry’s. Don Creedon said we were the worst band he ever heard. We didn’t care. We played Henry’s. Then we broke up. I haven’t touched a Bass Guitar since. Gary and Ivan are still paying together with Gary’s brother Ivan. They are good. I wasn’t.

But I played Sir Henry’s.




  1. Really enjoyed this piece that my sister in law recommended. It brought me back to the good ol days in Henrys and many great gigs. Still searching to this day for a venue like it. Thanks for the mention of Our band IDOL JOY who are still clinging on to the shread of fame that lasted only two years but you can listen to our mega hit paradise days on you tube that reached no 2 in Botswana in 1987. I will say the book CORK ROCK by Mark Mcavoy is great read for all of that era. Best of luck and Im selling a bass if you ever take it up again Ha!! John McGuire ( IDOL JOY) Bass Man.

  2. A bumblebee jumper? What the blue fuck were you smoking? I may have had an eclectic mix of a wardrobe but a bumble bee jumper??

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