My first real job was working and living upstairs in the pub O’Donoghue’s in Merrion Row in Dublin. Which made it fierce convenient regarding punk rock concerts.
Most of the gigs were at the Dandelion, McGonangles, the Baggot Inn, The Magnet, and the odd time the Project Arts Centre. Toners was okay for Rockabilly, rest of the stuff was Southside hippies playing Bob Seeger badly.
The record shop Advice Records was a great place to waste time during my afternoon break from the 12 hours days I worked as a bartender. At Advice records I bought the first U2 single, a 12 inch single, one of only a thousand that were made.
The Punk Rock scene in Ireland was mostly centred in the dark, dingy, and sometimes dangerous Dandelion Market. On the site of the Steven’s Green Shopping centre the Dandelion Market was a decrepit old warehouse, already condemned to be demolished by the city of Dublin. Considered by the powers that be to be an eyesore, the Dandelion market was home to useless second hand shops and stalls run by con men, hippies and alternative layabouts, the concerts that were held there, in it’s brief lifespan as a venue, were undoubtedly some of the most significant in Irish history. By day it was a flea market; a collection of stalls, shops, boutiques, a jazz record shop and one of Ireland’s first Taco stands.
But on weekends this dreary, run down warehouse was the site where many of Ireland’s greatest musicians got their first break. It was a melting pot for Punk, New Wave, Electronic and R&B, home to Mods, Punks, Rockers, Hippies and even the odd culchie exposed to a world very different to that of ‘the official Ireland’.
You paid your 50p entrance fee, went through a hole in the wall and entered a world populated by electric guitars and struggling musicians. It was a time and a group of people who thought they could change the world. And, in a rare twist, they did. The Dandelion Market has been compared to other infamous venues like The Caravan in Liverpool. It seems a particularly poignant, and very rock and roll, scenario that a country’s most significant venue would be in a building already condemned for destruction. The Shopping Mall that now stands on its ashes serves as a reminder of what was lost: a home to imagination, a beacon of rebellion and fun.
In September 1979 the media focused on a visit by a man from Rome, a social revolution was happening in an abandoned warehouse in an underdeveloped part of Dublin city centre. Ireland in 1979 was at a crossroads. One well travelled road had over a million people flocking to see the historical visit of Pope John Paul II. Another road (sadly well signposted) lead to the continuation of what seemed to be “The Troubles” that seemed to be without end in Ulster. Then there was a third road, a new road, a hidden bohern that led to the emerging sub cultures of Rock and Roll and Punk which were making clumsy attempts to create a foothold in Ireland. The Dandelion Market “concert hall” was a dingy venue, where bits of the ceiling would fall on punters’ heads and the entrance was literally a hole in the wall of the building. It was damp, dark and dingy. Concerts were on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. It was somewhere truly special. Of course, it was not the only alternative scene of the period, but it is perhaps the most fondly remembered.
The idea that the alternative scene was so small and genuinely counter cultural is something that is difficult for people who have only known the contemporary scene to grasp. Yet, the lessons learned in that dingy little warehouse are important ones, and revisiting it may help inspire a new audience. I had the pleasure to see U2, The Atrix, DC Nein etc playing gigs in the early days. Being the lone punk rocker in Lisdoonvarna (pop 600) moving to Dublin to work, I went savage going to gigs.
What’s rarely mentioned was the amount of agro at many of the gigs, particularly U2’s. One Monday night at the Baggot Inn U2 played, with the Blades supporting, there were about 7 people in the audience, 3 who threw pint classes at U2 as they played. The Dandelion Market turned into a battleground on weekends.
What sticks in my memory was how U2 handled it. No jumping in, no retaliation, no revenge after the lights were down. They maintain their pose, the crowds in the Dandelion got bigger.
The last Saturday afternoon they played there was particularly emotional. Packed with teenagers paying 50p, Bono announced they were about to go to London to tour. Going to London for a record company was a might Big deal in the late 70’s. For most rock groups it was the ticket out of the greyness of Ireland to the bright lights and temptations of the outside world, most bands intended never to return. What he then said showed class beyond what I had ever witnessed. Simply he said, ”We are no different than anyone here. All of you can form a band, rehearse, write songs, and play gigs. The only difference is we formed a band. All of you can do the same and more than likely better”
No finger to the crowd, no dissing the Messers, only encouragement, the rarest of commodity’s in 1979. It’s a simple message, almost saccharine, but it stands. This was a time when a brave and bold few were able to mould reality in their image.
It is a timely message.
Sad news yet very understandable.
Our hope is to perform ‘The Only Punk Rocker in the Village’ play at the Brighton Fringe which is intended to happen in either September or October instead this year.
Mega news @Holy Moses
On Sunday January 26th, 8pm at the Barn in Hotel Doolin the World Tour of ‘The Only Punk Rocker in the Village’ will begin.
Please come by to give a middle finger to the MAN, to help local artists and most importantly to laugh cry and enjoy yerselfs!
Thanks to the Doolin Writers Weekend for inviting us to be part of their brilliant festival.
Tom Dunne of Newstalk radio does an interview with Dermott Petty the writer & performer of the One Person play ‘The Only Punk Rocker in the Village’ Tom did the radio interview on Thursday October 24th 2 days before the Irish premiere of ‘The Only Punk Rocker in the Village’ in the Royal Spa hotel in Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare, Ireland. The play was directed by Joan O’Hanrahan
Tom Dunne’s Radio show https://www.newstalk.com/shows/tom-du…
‘The Only Punk Rocker in the Village’ Irish Premier
Last weekend we had an extraordinary Irish premier of the play ‘The Only Punk Rocker in the Village‘ at the Royal Spa Hotel in Lisdoonvarna.
A massive Thanks to everyone who attended, those who supported us, to Ann and John Doherty of the Royal spa. For Mark Douf for his help.
To my family, my mother Teresa Petty & Kathleen Gibbons for front of house.
For the mighty Tech crew of Sinéad Heavey, Barry Dillon & Rúairí Murdiff .
And to the Director..the brilliant Director who fleshed out every possible nuance, story and craft from the play along with the performance. Joan O’ Hanrahan you were patient, strong and visionary.
I am so happy, so grateful so humbled
The Wonderfull team at Morning Focus at Clare FM did a interview on our upcoming performance of ‘The Only Punk Rocker in the Village’ play in Lisdoonvarna.
Our play ‘The Only Punk Rocker in the Village’ is having its Irish premier in Lisdoonvarna when it will be playing in The Royal Spa Hotel in Lisdoonvarna on October 26th & 27th at 8pm
On October 26th at the Royal Spa Hotel in Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare, Co Clare at 8pm, will be the Irish Premiere of the play ‘The Only Punk Rocker in the Village’.
’The Only Punk Rocker in the Village’ is a new play by North Clare native Dermott Petty The play is set in North Clare in the late 1970’s where a teenagers discovery of Punk Rock turns his life upside down and causes consideration, shock and misunderstanding with his parents, his community and his friends. The setting is in the village of Lisdoonvarna, where a tight-nit, conservative, traditional based community is invaded by this new foreign phenomenon Punk Rock. In the village however there is only 1 Punk rockers. The one punk rocker in the village has notions of rebellion, grandeur and turning the world upside down.
The origins of the play began from a poem of Dermott Petty’s tilted ‘When Punk Rock Came to North Clare’ that was published by Revival Press in Limerick. The play will be directed by Joan O’Hanrahan and will be performed by Dermott Petty.
This summer ‘The Only Punk Rocker in the Village’ play had its World Premiere as part of the Barnstable Fringe Theatrefest in Barnstable, North Devon, England.
‘The Only Punk Rocker in the Village’ will have its Irish Premiere on Saturday, October 26th at the Royal Spa Hotel in Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare, at 8pm There will be 2 performances of ‘The Only Punk Rocker in the Village’ at the Royal Spa Hotel, on Saturday October 26th at 8pm, and on Sunday October 27th at 8pm.
The Only Punk Rocker in the Village World Premier
‘The Only Punk Rocker in the Village’ first ever performance and it found a great audience at. The Barnstaple Fringe theaterfest
Poster for The Only Punk Rocker in the Village for the Fringe theatrefest in the lovely town of Barnstable in North Devon.
Very exciting News!
Our play ‘The Only Punk Rocker in the Village’ is to make its World Premier at the Barnstable Fringe Festival in Devon, in England. The play will have 3 performances, the first on June 27th.
We need funds for our journey so please help if you can. Every donation and sharing is greatly appreciated.
‘The Only Punk Rocker in the Village’ is a new play by North Clare native Dermott Petty The play is set in North Clare in the late 1970’s where a teenagers discovery of Punk Rock turns his life upside down and causes consideration, shock and misunderstanding with his parents, his community and his friends.
The setting is in the village of Lisdoonvarna, when a tight-nit, conservative, traditional based community is invaded by this new foreign phenomenon Punk Rock. In the village however there is only 1 & ½ Punk rockers. (The ½ is away at boarding school) The one punk rocker in the village has notions of rebellion, grandeur and turning the world upside down.
The origins of the play began from a poem of Dermott Petty’s tilted ‘When Punk Rock Came to North Clare’ that was published by Revival Press in Limerick. The play will be Directed by Joan O’Hanrahan and will be performed by Dermott Petty.
‘The Only Punk Rocker in the Village’ will have its World Premiere in the lovely town of Barnstable, in Devon in England on June 30th as part of the Barnstable Fringe Theatrefest.
There will be 3 performances of ‘The Only Punk Rocker in the Villiage’. The first will on Thursday June 27th, the second on Saturday June 29 & the 3rd will be on Sunday June 30th.
All performances will be at The Guildhall in Barstable.