Shane Johnson

… we all wanted that feeling that Henrys gave us to last forever…

This latest post is courtesy of Edele Nolan – thanks Edele…


My beautiful friend Eileen Hogan suggested I write a blog for the exhibition 2 months ago. I was very flattered, and also baffled because, as I reminded her , lots of it is a bit of a blur! But I suppose my biggest dilemma was how do you put into words the feeling you got from a night in that dark, dingy but amazing place. How could I really put into words that feeling of absolute euphoria that a night in Henrys gave you. For all the dark dingy corners it was such a friendly place. You never knew who you were going to meet and everyone was a friend!  Everyone fitted in. It didn’t matter where you were from, or what you did, you just knew you belonged.  Even now just thinking about that place gives me a feeling of a happy, fun filled time in my life.

I first starting going to Freakscene as a first year college student and I remember that feeling of awe the first night I went there. Seeing people dance and dress just how they wanted was a feeling of liberation and excitement for a shy, young 19 year old from a small town.  I was hooked, I soon starting going on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and loved every minute of it. I was exposed to music I never would have listened to and I couldn’t get enough. Every week was a countdown to the weekend so you could once again experience the magic that was Henrys.

Saturday nights were always the biggest. You would spend the day deciding what you were gonna wear, not that it mattered much by the end of the night! I went in on a Saturday night and slowly worked my way through club. I would start off in the back bar to the soulful and very funky tunes of Mr Stevie G, who is definitely one of the best DJs in the country. Id start off rocking out to everyone from Stevie Wonder, the Supremes, Snoop Dog, and the list goes on.  For someone who never been exposed to any of this music before it was such an education. Id work my way into the main room where Greg and Shane always took the crowd on an amazing deep house journey. Id get lost in the music and every once in a while look around to catch someone eye, smile, throw a few shapes,( big fish little fish cardboard box)!! and then just carry on dancing! My last hour of the night was often spent going nuts to the amazing Mark Walsh in the back room. He lifted the roof off the place and always had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand with uplifting progressive house classics.

Everything was about the music and everyone was there just for that. Even then, at 19 years of age I knew I was part of something really special. It didn’t matter what you were wearing, who you were with, or who you knew, everyone was the same once you got on that dancefloor. We were all there to experience the magic and just dance.

Most of the worlds best Djs played there to a captive crowd who loved every single minute of it. We were spoiled in Cork, Karl Cox, Laurent Garnier, Justin Roberson, Joe Clausell, Danny Howells, to name but a tiny few and you could see it was such a special experience for them too. Myself and a few friends would often try to blag our way to the DJ box or to the hotel bar afterwards and the rare times we got lucky and managed to get “backstage” I remember all the DJs I met saying the same thing, “they loved playing in Henrys”. But for all these famous DJs it was the regulars Marq, Greg and Shane and Stevie who made the club what it was. You felt their passion and their love of the place, the people and most of all for the music. It really was somewhere where people came together to experience something truly special.

I remember so many nights after the last tune had played, the lights came on and just watching all hands in the air, everyone singing “everybody, move your body” and “one more tune”!  No one was going anywhere, we wanted more, we all wanted that feeling that Henrys gave us to last forever.

Henry was such a special place for me, it opened up a whole new world of music, great experiences but most of all of all it gave me wonderful friendships with people, many of whom I am still friends with today. I don’t know if I would have had the same experiences had it not been for that club. So all to all those who experienced that golden era of Henrys I was lucky enough to be a part of,  I say “Nice one!”


Sweat – the people of Cork were in their own way what made it magic

A nice email arrived in from Alan Collins… now our latest post. Thanks Alan…

Hi my name is Alan Collins. I served my time in Sir Henrys from 93 to 03 hardly ever missing a Sat or Thurs night. I know Stevie. I was blood sober for every one of those nights. Sad I know ha! That place was and is very special to me.  It’s still a big part of my life. It inspired me at the time to visit the infamous Shelter, and Body and Soul clubs in New York and The End up in San Francisco , the Rex in Paris but Sweat was really better ,the seemless mixing of Greg and Shane , the sound system I think came from New York was flawless and the people of Cork were in their own way what made it magic. I used to sit on a railing on the stage at the back of the main room when I was all danced out and look around at a mass of bodies jacking grooving doing their own thing ,it didn’t matter to the music , I never took it for granted I savoured every second and I will never forget! Strong words I know but it and the music were my life. I was very lucky to be part of it. I wish you well with your project drop me a line if you want my stuff or If I can help in any way Alan

…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

Irish Times article: A conversation with Fish Go Deep

Irish Times article: A conversation with Fish Go Deep

Jim Carroll, Irish Times, Thurs, 3 October 2013

Fish Go Deep’s Greg Dowling and Shane Johnson are celebrating 25 years in the house music business this year. That’s 25 years all the way from Sweat in Sir Henry’s to a plethora of quality releases and their currently monthly run at Cork’s Pavilion.

Irish Examiner article: Marking 25 years since ‘Sweat’ night in Sir Henrys

Irish Examiner article: Marking 25 years since ‘Sweat’ night in Sir Henrys

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The story of Sir Henrys and its famous Sweat night has been well told in the past. How a weekly dance night in the Cork venue grew into one of the best house events in Europe in the 1990s, attaining quite a reputation for its amazing atmosphere and the quality of music on offer.