“… both hairy & Interesting times…” – a view from Mike Lyons

Got an email from Mike Lyons [some might remember him from Treehouse, Hooky, Box Camera] – he certainly triggered a lot of memories for me. Hopefully reading this post, from the email, will do the same for you. Thanks Mike
My name is Mike Lyons. I learned of the upcoming Sir Henry’s Exhibition at UCC on Twitter recently. When I saw the call for submissions I immediately regretted not having been more of an archivist or a magpie during my time there. I realise that it might be a bit late to contribute now but for what it’s worth like many of my contemporaries from 1988-89 on I regularly frequented Henry’s to see bands like The Power of Dreams, Toasted Heretic (I think), Whipping Boy, Something Happens, The Stunning, A House, Sonic Youth, Super Furry Animals, The Wedding Present and Therapy. The Indie Discos on Friday nights in the late 80s and early 90s were a welcome release from the school/colege week and guaranteeing getting in was a well planned and carefully executed exercise. 
Subsequent to that, between 1991 and 1994 I worked for freelance promoter Shane Fitzsimons at the Village and Sir Henry’s as well as for occasional gigs he ran at the City Hall and other locations around town. I did flyers and posters for Shane while in the second  and third years of my degree  and after often taking tickets/cash  for Shane at the doors of both venues and others to make some dosh while studying at UCC. 
During that time, I also played in a band called Treehouse that regularly played at the Village and Sir Henry’s supporting bands like Mercury Rev, Daisy Chainsaw and participating in showcases such as 2FM Cork Rocks. I also worked on lots of gigs at the Village and Sir Henry’s for bands like Rollerskate Skinny, Leatherface, Babes In Toyland, AC Temple. Manhole, The Mary Janes, Pet Lamb, The Shanks, No Means No, Sebadoh, Jawbreaker, Dub War, Alice Donut, Brawl, Jam Jar Jail, Pitch Shifter, In Motion, Pavement, Mexican Pets, The Sultans of Ping, The Frank & Walters and others. 
Later on, I worked for the Simpson Brothers who owned the hotel after Jerry Lucey. Admittedly, those were both hairy and interesting times. I managed entertainment at the venue behind Sir Henry’s, The Forum for a while. On one occasion, we had The Manic Street Preachers + Nicky Wire playing at The Forum. They had us facilitate the decking out of the tiny back-stage dressing room in camouflage netting  on arrival and James Dean Bradfield was the only one who said hello. I remember that the tour manager on the night, whose name was Rory Lyons, refused to allow the band to go on stage with drinks served in glass from behind the bar . We were sold out and doors were opening. In a blind panic, I eventually got plastic pint glasses from the Metropole Hotel on loan so the gig went ahead to a full house. Phew. I have fonder memories of bands like Shed Seven though who felt sorry for me and bought me drinks instead of telling me what to serve them in.
Later in 1999, I played there in support of Mercury Rev with a subsequent band Hooky. I attach the poster in case you’re interested. I also found a battered VIP Pass from Sir Henry’s (1999) and a faded Frank& Walters AAA pass for a gig there with Hubble in support in 1997 (See attached). These are the only items that remain in my possession besides vague memories of meeting bands like Pavement in my role as promoter’s go-for/lacky. They were really nice guys. They played with Grandaddy that night I think.
Given what was going on around me it is incredible that I wasn’t more prescient but perhaps I was too wrapped up in the moments as they happened.  Anyway like I say, I don’t have much from my time at the venues in the Grand Parade Hotel but I spent a lot of time there and I hope this small and insignificant contribution is of some mild interest.
On another note and in a wider context, if there is to be an ongoing social/cultural history project taking in other music, memorabilia and photographs from Cork I have lots of material from my time with Hooky and Box Camera, the last two bands I played in. I have a wide ranging digital archive of music an photographs of a total of three albums (two studio and one live) made with both bands. I have copious photographs and other relevant material such as demos/posters/setlists etc. If you, your colleagues or any other party engaged in collecting such material have any interest please don’t hesitate to pass on my e-mail address to them. 
Again, for what it’s worth…thanks and best regards,
Mike Lyons

Call for material for Sir Henrys Nightclub – Exhibition & Archive

Sir Henrys Nightclub: A Cork Institution – Reflections on popular music & culture in Cork

Sir Henrys bar and nightclub, located on South Main Street, Cork (1978 – 2003) was renowned locally, nationally and internationally for its vibrant music scene.

This summer UCC Library is mounting an exhibition to document the distinctive history of this legendary and iconic Cork city music venue.  It is the intention of this exhibition to begin the process of establishing an archive relating to Sir Henrys and the related popular music scene in Cork.

The Exhibition opens on July 9 and runs until September 27.

For more information please contact Martin O Connor at or 021 490 2111.

Details of Exhibition & Archive on Sir Henrys Bar & Nightclub, Cork

Sir Henrys bar and nightclub, located on South Main Street, Cork (1978 – 2003) was renowned locally, nationally and internationally for its vibrant music scene. What are your memories of the time and the club?

This summer UCC Library is mounting an exhibition to document the distinctive history of this legendary and iconic Cork city music venue. It is the intention of this exhibition to establish an archive relating to Sir Henrys and the related popular music scene in Cork.

This exhibition is opening at UCC Library Wednesday July 9 and will run until Saturday September 27. It will be held in the exhibition space in the foyer of UCC Library and will be open to the general public.

The objective of the exhibition, curated by Martin O Connor, (UCC Library) Stevie Grainger (Radio Presenter & DJ at Sir Henrys) and Eileen Hogan (School of Applied Social Studies, UCC), is to begin the process of creating a permanent archive of popular music in UCC Library starting with Sir Henrys and branching out into Cork’s wider popular music scene.

The aim is to systematically collect artefacts relating to Sir Henrys. This is very much a hidden history and our aim is to collect it and preserve it for future interested parties.

Oral histories will also be collected as part of archive – these stories will provide a rare insight into the lived experience of Sir Henrys from the perspective of key actors in the scene. The inclusion of oral histories will document these memories for posterity. The exhibition will illuminate in a fun and accessible way a sense of what Sir Henrys was like and why it was significant to the people of Cork and beyond – in short, its emotional, aesthetic, musical, cultural and historical value and legacy.

The Sir Henrys Archive and exhibition will contain donations from the family of the founder of the club, employees from the very beginning of the club, when it was a restaurant and bar and various other staff from over the years as well as bands and DJs who played there. And of course from people who attended the club over the years.

A series of exciting public seminars and talks and other events will be held throughout the duration of the exhibition, details of which will be announced in due course.

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Twitter: @sirhenrys2014


Contact Details:

To donate material or for more information on donating please contact Martin O Connor at

021 490 2111

For further information on UCC Library Special Collections & Archives or PR queries related to the exhibition or Archive contact Crónán Ó Doibhlin at or

086 319 9417