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HAVE YE NO HOMES TO GO TO? The History of the Irish Pub

The History of the Irish Pub by Kevin Martin

Matt Molloy's Yard Bar: Every Thursday from 6PM

The pub has been at the centre of Irish life for centuries – research has even shown that going to the local gives us better life satisfaction than staying at home watching TV or socialising online. In its varied career, the pub has played many roles: funeral home, restaurant, grocery shop, music venue, job centre and meeting place for everyone from poets to revolutionaries. Often plain and unpretentious, it is a neutral ground, a leveller – a home away from home.

But how much do you really know about it? From the first pubs, which hosted the feasts of high kings, through the heady gang-ruled pubs of nineteenth-century New York City and the ‘spirit grocers’ that inspired today’s hipster hangouts, right up to modern-day gay bars, this comprehensive history is an entertaining journey through the evolution of a cultural icon.

The topics engagingly explored include:

  • the first ever pubs and publicans in Ireland and the Brehon Laws they had to follow
  • how the pub came to be regulated from the seventeenth centur
  • the history of the temperance movement in Ireland and its effect on society and the pub
  • ‘special exemptions’ for certain pubs: spirit grocers, bona fides and early houses
  • the role of pubs in the 1916 Rising and the War of Independence
  • the place of women in the pub and the development of their relationship with it
  • the history of music in pubs: the revival of trad sessions in the twentieth century; the growth of live music and the ‘lounge bar’
  • pub bombings and attacks during the Troubles
  • the history and development of the Irish gay bar
  • the cultural attitude of Irish society towards alcohol
  • the social significance of the pub as a ‘third place’removed from both home and work
  • cultural representations of the Irish pub in cinema, television and literature
  • the role the pub played in the lives of the 'bachelor class' of rural Ireland
  • the role of the pub in the lives of Irish emigrants in the US, UK and Australia
  • the commodification and export of the Irish pub
  • the current state of the pub and what the future holds.

The story of the Irish pub is the story of Ireland itself. So pull up a stool and learn all about it.

Kevin Martin taught English, communications and cultural studies for twenty-five years. He is married with two children and lives near Westport, County Mayo. He loves pubs, travel and reading. This is his first book.

9:00 pm21:00


Check out a brand new comedy night on Thursday 4th May at Matt Molloy's Pub, Westport!

Some of the best in Irish up and coming comedians will be performing:

Stephen Ryan
2016 Forbidden Fruit Comedy Competition Winner
2016 Irish Comedian Of The Year Finalist

Sean Sheridan
Shared the stage with the likes of Jim Jefferies and David O'Doherty

Paul David Murphy
Recently toured with Farmer Michael and Kathleen on their 'back passage' tour

Gavin McClure
Best Of Irish at the Galway Fringe 2016

And MC for the evening:

John O'Hare
Vodafone Comedy Carnival, Cork Comedy Festival,
Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Galway Water Comedy Award Winner 2016
Shared the stage with the likes of Phil Jupitus and Terry Alderton

Doors at 9.15 for a 9.30 start. Tickets €8 at the door.

Promises to be a fantastic night's comedy! See ye then!

8:00 pm20:00


John and Maggie Carty agree to Settle out of Court!

Well known musician John Carty and his daughter Maggie have released a duet album with the rather catchy title of Settle Out of Court. John and Maggie Carty will play in Matt Molloy’s, Westport on Thursday 6th April.

Fresh from his recent involvement with the Oscar nominated ‘Brooklyn’ where he arranged the music and appeared, John Carty is one of the finest names in Irish traditional music and is well known world wide. Settle out of Court, however, is all about the next generation of Carty’s, and daughter Maggie confidently steps into the spotlight on both banjo and vocals. Accompaniment on the album is provided by Shane McGowan on guitar, Dónal Lunny on bouzouki, guitar and bodhrán and Paul Gurney on bass. The fourteen tracks feature a mixture of waltzes, reels, jigs and slides, with the inclusion of a number of songs that showcase Maggie’s unique voice. Her rendition of Lough Erne’s Shore was included in UK folk presenter, Mike Harding’s own personal choice of the best folk /roots music of 2016 where Mike compared Maggie’s voice to the late and great Margaret Barry – “It’s because it’s the real deal. Three chords and the truth.”

Born in London, John has been living in the Boyle area for the last 25 years and has become one of the most sought after traditional musicians in the country. In 2003 he was awarded the coveted TG4 Gradam Ceoil - Musician of the Year. Carty is constantly innovative in his playing, the degree of such innovation sees that scarcely a bar goes by where he is not seeking a new perspective yet never wavering from the essence of the given piece. Invention is tirelessly put into practice and a great deal of expression is turned out of the simplest tune. Throughout his live shows, great performances of fiddle and banjo are captured with a sense of unfaltering energy and excitement. There is an uninhibited atmosphere which shows the audience just how much he is enjoying the musical moment and invites the audience to share that spontaneous pleasure.

Joining him on stage for a selection of tunes and songs from the album will be his daughter Maggie who is an accomplished banjo player and fine traditional singer. She has been described as having found her second home on stage and has a natural stage talent. It is a hall mark of traditional music that it is handed down from generation to generation and this father and daughter gig offers the audience an insight into a living and evolving tradition that spans at least four Carty generations. As they duet together the sense of trust, honesty, unspoken understanding and pure devilment in their music will be evident. On stage the duo have a natural ease with each other and their enjoyment and sense of fun is palpable and infectious!

Doors Open: 8PM

Tickets will be available on the door on the night


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Brooksie Wells grew up in the South with parents who fought for Civil Rights and the Equal Rights Amendment. She moved to New York City in the 1970s, where the thriving folk music scene heavily influenced her music.  

Bobby Darin discovered Brooksie at the age of 19, and she wrote for years for Chappell Music, with several of her songs used in recordings and movie soundtracks.

She later recorded with John Lennon's band Elephant's Memory and as a singer with Kid Creole and The Coconuts.  

Join Brooksie in the intimate setting of Matt Molloy's music room from 7PM to 9PM on Wednesday, 5th April. Guaranteed to be an evening of beautiful songs and music. 

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Legendary Tuam songwriter Padraig Stevens will play Matt Molloy's Yard Bar where he will be accompanied by Leo Moran, lead guitarist with The Saw Doctors. 

Padraig is best known for his work with The Saw Doctors with whom he has recorded and toured extensively. Padraig is also co-writer of some of The Saw Doctors hit songs including ‘I Useta Lover’, ‘Still the Only One’ and ‘That’s What She Said Last Night’.

Padraig Stevens has been writing and performing for 50 years and a night of original songs is promised along with a few stories thrown in about Padraig’s early days in the music business, working with bands such as The Problems, The Powerpack, and his stint as manager of the Tuam punk rock band Blaze X.

The talismanic bard of the land and the lake brings us on a trip through his songbook. Catch Padraig and Leo in a rare acoustic performance in the intimate surrounds of Matt Molloy's Yard Bar. Padraig will be singing songs from his fine collection with Leo accompanying him on guitar. Not to be missed! Tickets will be available on the door on the night.

Doors Open: 8PM

Cover charge: €15 

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Dan Brouder is a well-respected exponent of the West Limerick accordion style from Monagae, a parish on the outskirts of Newcastle West. He learned his music in the surrounding parishes of Ardagh, Carrigkerry and Glin on the Sliabbh Luachra boundary from accordion player Donal de Barra, Athea Co.Limerick and from flute players Francis O’Connor and Donal O’Sullivan who learned their music from Peadlin Aherne, fiddle player and Pajo Gleesen flute player from the 1930’s and 40’s and whose styles are strongly bedded in West Limerick roots. Dan plays regularly in sessions and festivals in both West Limerick and around the country. He has performed with various musicians at numerous festivals throughout Europe Asia and America. His debut album The Larks Air released in 2011 was well received in the traditional music circles and through reviewers of traditional music and culture. He has appeared on numerous traditional programmes over the years on Television and Radio at home and abroad including Hup 2015 Geantrai Tg4 94,95,98,08 fleadh cheoil programmes for RTE from listowel 96 cavan 2011,and sligo 2015.He also guested on RTEs nationwide with legendary actor Maureen o Hara in the mid-nineties. He also guested on Pat Shorts comedy production Killinascully in 2006.He recorded for the High part of the road, a music series produced by RTE in the early 90’s with the legendary Johnny O Leary accordion player from co Kerry and flute player Joe Sullivan. He has also guested on numerous recording projects including Diarmuid O’Brien’s recording in 2008 CAIRDE CAIRDIN and Angelina Carberry’s PLUCKING MAD 2014.His influences over the years include Finbarr Dwyer, Johnny O’Leary, Connie O’Connell, Tommy Peoples, Paddy Cronin and Padraig O’Keefe. Dan is a musician held in high regard among his peers for his musical integrity and the enjoyment he passes on through the music he plays and cherishes.

Angelina Carberry was born in Manchester in the late 70’s into a County Longford musical family steeped in traditional music. Starting on the tin whistle she later moved on onto the banjo following in the footsteps of her father Peter and Grandfather Kevin Carberry. Angelina moved to Galway in the late 90’s where she recorded the highly acclaimed album ‘Memories from the Holla’ with her father Peter on Accordion and John Blake on guitar and piano. Of this album Mairtin O Connor said: “Simply a treasure to the ear and food for the soul". Over the years, Angelina has developed a highly personal style with unique rhythmical characteristics. Her unmistakable banjo sound is captured on her solo 2005 CD, An Traidisún Beo, which was awarded among the New York Irish Echo’s Top 10 CD’S of the year. Her recent release ‘Pluckin’ Mad’ in 2014 was described by Daniel Neely New York Irish Echo, as an album filled with enchanting music. In addition to performing, Angelina is also a respected music teacher and popular banjo tutor at many festivals throughout the country and abroad.

Brian McGrath comes from Brookeborough, Co. Fermanagh, an area steeped in traditional music. Brian's first professional work was with Dervish. He then joined Four Men And A Dog and played on the award-winning album Barking Mad. He moved his career on, accompanying Noel Hill, Paul Brock and Frankie Gavin, among others, before joining the Sean Keane Band as pianist. Brian joined De Danann where he stayed till the band broke up in 2003. Brian now plays with At The Racket, and is much sought after as a session musician on piano, banjo and mandolin. He has toured extensively, playing with all the biggest names in Irish traditional music, including Frankie Gavin, Noel Hill, John Carty, Matt Molloy, Paul Brock, Charlie Lennon, Joe Burke, Sean Maguire, Brian Rooney, Cathal Hayden, Joe Derrane, Arty McGlynn, Alec Finn, Alan Kelly, Dolores Keane, Maura O'Connell, Tommy Fleming, Steve Cooney and Eleanor Shanley, as well as doing extensive TV and media work.

7:00 pm19:00

MAKING WAVES A collection of poems and song lyrics by Norman Wylie

Matt Molloy's are delighted to host this book launch by Westport based poet/songwriter and great friend of the pub Norman Wylie. 

Norman will be reading a collection of poems and song lyrics from his book, Making Waves. All are welcome to attend on the night and music will be provided by members of The Wild Geese and guests. We will also be serving light refreshments. 

All proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SVP). Come along with your friends and enjoy an evening of poetry and song, while also supporting a very worthy cause. Matt Molloy's would like to wish Norman all the very best with his new book. 

Starting Time: 7PM

Venue: Matt Molloy's Yard Bar 


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The trio started by David on a suggestion from a very good friend that loved the idea of the three individual styles coming together and playing music that sounded very natural to all three musicians.

David, Joesph and Shane coming from Mayo and Sligo respectively show great reverence to the old recordings and also with a blend some new compositions in to the mix. The coming together of the three might have been over a suggestion but we can say no accident.

David Munnelly (accordion) from Mayo is widely regarded as one of the most influential Irish accordion players of his generation: he has played with legendary Irish bands De Dannan and The Chieftains, and for 15 years fronted The David Munnelly Band. In recent years, his skills as a composer and arranger have come to the fore and David now works on a wide variety of music projects, ranging from the multi-award winning pan-European accordion five-piece Samurai, and duo McGowan Munnelly  through his experimental solo compositions, to the high-energy traditional Irish band Mórga. 

Shane mc Gowan (Guitar) comes from an area in south Sligo known as lavagh. He comes from a musical family and started at an early age, giving his first public performance at the age of 5. His father, Harry is a well-known flute player from the area and was a big influence on him teaching him whistle and flute. Shane started playing guitar in his teens and was very interested in playing Irish music as well as rock, swing and Jazz. He joined Dave and the band in June 2010. Other bands he has guested and toured with are Lunasa, Zakir Hussain, Sean and Dolores Keane, Blas, Slide, Geraldine Mc Gowan, John Carty, At the Racket, among others. 

Joseph McNulty (Fiddle) is an accomplished musician on both fiddle and bodhran. He credits a lot of his success to having spent years in the company of Peter Horan R.I.P. who was regarded as one of Sligo's finest musicians. He was almost 70 years Joseph's senior and to Joseph he was more than a musician, he was also like a mentor. 

Joseph is devoted to Irish culture and when he was 15 left his native home in Mayo to immerse himself in Irish culture living in Inis Oírr, the smallest of the Arann Islands where he continued his education became fluent in the Irish language.

Joseph began to play traditional Irish music at a competitive level at a young age and by the age of 14 had won 5 all-Ireland tittles and 4 world titles. Most recently Joseph Joseph has toured with Ragús in mainland Europe and has spent time working in the National Folk Theatre of Ireland. He also teaches both fiddle and bodhran and spends much of the summer teaching in summer schools passing on his love and understanding of Irish music.


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Martin Hayes is regarded as one of the most extraordinary talents to emerge in the world of Irish traditional music. His unique sound, his mastery of his chosen instrument – the violin – his acknowledgement of the past and his shaping of the future of the music, combine to create an astonishing and formidable artistic intelligence. He is the recipient of major national and international awards, including six All-Ireland fiddle championships and has been cited by the Irish Sunday Tribune as one of the hundred most influential Irish men and women. He is one of the most important musicians to come out of Ireland in the last fifty years. He has recorded two acclaimed solo albums, ‘Martin Hayes’ (1993) and ‘Under the Moon’ (1995) on the Green Linnet label. Martin Hayes is the Artistic Director of the Masters of Tradition Festival held in August each year at Bantry House in West Cork. He is also a founding member of ‘The Gloaming’, which is enjoying considerable world-wide success at the moment.

“Sparsely accompanied fiddle music has rarely sounded so complete and so essential”      Q Magazine

David Power is a stellar musician on the uilleann pipes. He has been a member of groups, including Liam Clancy’s ‘Fairweather Band’, ‘Gorumna’ and more recently, Martin Hayes’ ‘Masters of Tradition’ and ‘Pipers Union’. He performed in the off-Broadway production ‘Love’s Pure Light’, recorded music for the Irish Repertory Theatre’s staging of ‘The Field’ and was a cast member and musician in the Broadway production of Eugene O’Neill’s ‘A Touch of the Poet’, starring Gabriel Byrne. He has three critically acclaimed solo recordings ‘My Love is in America’ (2005) ‘Cuachín Ghleann Neifin’ (2007) and ‘The Eighteen Moloney’ (2014). He has performed with poets Seamus Heaney, Michael Davitt, Ciaran Carson, Kerry Hardie, Dermot Bolger, Maighread Medbh, Grace Wells, Clodagh Beresford-Dunne, Doireann ní Ghríofa, and Robert Pinsky. In addition, he worked with accordionist Tony MacMahon, writer Dermot Bolger and Director John Comisky to develop a show called ‘The Frost is All Over’ which gained significant attention. He recently completed compositional work on a show based on the 6th Century Irish Christian church written by Kerry Hardie and Olivia O’Leary which premiered at the 2015 Kilkenny Arts Festival.

“The opening wail of uilleann pipes, played by David Power, which shifts into swirling music of military glory, beautifully establishes the central opposition of inner pain and public fantasy” (New York Times)

“David Power brings a breathtaking freshness to the set, his fluid, fluent playing as light as a feather” (Irish Times)




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This idea was born out of our listening to people express their sorrow and frustration at the harrowing events ongoing in Syria and the sense of helplessness that surrounded it.

With this series of events we aim to show that we, as a people, are not helpless, 'except for in the moment'. There is something we can do and, together, we shall do it.

Our goal is to host a string of music events simultaneously in various venues in towns all over the country, throughout the week commencing 16th of January. These events, where possible, will have no admission fee, all that we ask is that people show up to support and donate as generously as they can on the night.*

All money raised will go directly to provide aid for the victims suffering in Syria.

Each event will have a unique line-up of musicians that are all generously donating their time to help us raise funds for this worthy cause. We are not helpless, there is something we can do to support those affected by these atrocities.


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THE SPECIAL CONSENSUS is a four person acoustic bluegrass band that began performing in the Midwest in the spring of 1975.

Special Consensus is a superb bluegrass outfit in a classic vein but with more than enough modern sensibilities to attract every ear in this now pleasantly fractionating genre. The vocals are spotless, the playing as shiny as a newly minted penny, and music like this is the reason people come to love bluegrass… Special Consensus approaches this hallowed American musical form with boundless energy and an aesthetic reverence that tickles the ribs, tugs at the heart, and puts a restless two-step in boots and bare feet…


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Eleanor hails from Keshcarrigan in County Leitrim in the North West of Ireland. She still spends much of her time there.  Eleanor grew up listening to music.
Her mothers family were all very musical and childhood was spent learning songs from her extended family. She waslearning all kinds of ballads and had a substantial Irish traditional repertoire long before it was hip!

Having finished school she moved to Dublin to and worked in FAS, the state recruitment agency,  but continued to be involved in music and drama. Eleanor studied drama with Betty Ann Norton and joined the "Leitrim Wild Roses" Tops of the Town group.  She also sang in various sessions, the most common being the sessions in Ned O'Sheas "Merchant" and it was here that Frank Cooney and Ned O'Shea introduced her to De Danann. That changed everything. Dolores Keane had just left the band.  Eleanor met Frankie Gavin and Alec Finn and two weeks later was touring Wales, Finland and Sweden.  The day job was gone and for the next five years she toured the world with De Danann and recorded two albums with them -  "Jacket of Batteries" and "Half Set in Harlem".
Eleanor hasbeen touring with Frankie Lane and Paul Kelly for the past 3 years in Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark and, of course Ireland. 

Don't miss Eleanor when she plays Matt Molloy's Yard Bar on Thursday, 8th December. Doors open at 8 PM and tickets will be available on the door on the night.

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Coda are a Mayo based group of seven singers and musicians who developed their own richly-harmonised approach to vocal performance from diverse vocal and instrumental backgrounds, including folk, trad, blues, rock and pop music, uniquely complemented by their multi-part vocal harmony experience gained from classical choral music. Coda released their first CD ‘mouthmusic’ November 2013

Coda offer 7-part harmonies in an eclectic mix of musical styles including Celtic and North American music, traditional and contemporary folk songs, original compositions and popular songs from sources as diverse as Clannad, Tom Waits, Van Morrison and The Beatles. Their repertoire comprises both a capella arrangements and songs with instrumental accompaniment as well as traditional Irish music. Coda comprises Declan Askin, Alan Drumm, Conall Ó Domhnaill, Brian Lennon, Mike Cannon, Steve Bryant and Leonard Kelly. 


Guitar: Mike Cannon and Declan Askin               Flute and low whistle: Brian Lennon

Mandolin and Banjo: Steve Bryant                       Harmonica: Declan Askin 

CODA will play Matt Molloy's Yard Bar Thursday, 1st December. Doors will open at 8 PM and tickets will be available on the door on the night. A concert, surely not to be missed.

9:15 pm21:15


Mick Lavelle Tribute Night in association with Westport Lions Club.

Mick's legacy is celebrated by a host of musicians and performers who sang, danced, played with and enjoyed Mick's company and spirit over the years. Featured musicians include Connie Cullen, Laoise Ní Chionnaith, Dan Delaney and Johnny Fadgin, Olcan Masterson, The Cobblers Crew, Brian Duffy & Jenny Kilroy, Des Ryan and Frankie, Charlie Keating, Norman Wylie. 

Doors Open 9:15 PM

Admission: €10

All proceeds to Westport Lion's Club

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These two legends of Irish music, Mick Hanly & Dónal Lunny, will perform an intimate show together in Matt Molloy's Yard Bar. This is one you won't want to miss!

It was inevitable that two stalwarts of the Irish music scene, whose careers have intertwined many times over the last 45 years would sooner or later emerge in the guise of a musical duo. The combination of songwriter Mick Hanly and multi-instrumentalist and composer Donal Lunny is a marriage made in musical heaven. Both have honed their musical skills to perfection and play with a freshness and enthusiasm that belies their years on the road.
In the 70’s Lunny produced Hanly’s two folk albums, the much loved Kiss In The Morning Early and As I Went Over Blackwater for Mulligan Records. After his departure from the ground breaking Planxty, he went on to found and fronting the hugely influential Bothy Band. After some years on the Continent with Andy Irvine, Hanly decided to go it alone and explore a more contemporary song writing style. However, their paths crossed again when Hanly took over from Christy Moore as vocalist in Moving Hearts. After 14months with the band he quit to concentrate on song writing. The Hearts went on to record the magnificent instrumental album The Storm, which contained Lunny’s beautiful composition Tribute to Peadair O’Donnell. Lunny also founded Coolfin and continued to produce and play on a variety projects too numerous to mention.
Meanwhile, Hanly clocked a huge success in the US with ‘Past The Point Of Rescue’. Recorded by Hal Ketchum….. it picked up a 3rd BMI award in 2002 for 2 Million plays on American radio. His songs were also recorded by the likes of Dolores Keane, Mary Black, Ronnie Drew, Delbert McClinton, etc. When recording his latest album, Homeland, Hanly again called on Lunny to add his unique sound to 4 of the tracks. The album is a joy. Hanly is joined by many of his old friends as he grapples with bringing a traditional influence to some brand new stories. Lunny, as always adding his unique touches to the mix.
Now the two ‘vets’ are taking to the road for a nine night stint around the country this November. Be sure to catch them when they play November 16th in Matt Molloy's. 

Doors open 8PM. Tickets will be available on the door on the night. 




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Sugar Island chronicles the Murphy brothers’ formative years growing up in Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles. Due for release later this month, the album contains tracks as exciting, catchy and soulful as the band’s debut, Songs For The Tempted, which went straight to Number 1 on its release in 1989, spawning the hits Washington Down, Drag My Bad Name Down and Mary, still one of the most played songs on Irish radio. Since then, the band has notched up over two decades of hits from She Hits Me to Sunlight and six Top 20 charting albums.

Catch Brendan Murphy and brother Declan Murphy for an intimate gig in Matt Molloy's Yard Bar. Coinciding with the launch of their new album this unmissable November gig promises a set-list of classic hit songs and brilliant new tracks from the eagerly-awaited new album.

Doors Open 8PM. Tickets will be available on the door on the night.


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With a refreshingly uncluttered approach to playing, the Raw Bar Collective present a vibrant and excitingly earthy style of Irish Traditional music. The Raw Bar Collective is a rare gathering of Irish musicians, each of them an acknowledged standard bearer within the tradition. 

The band members Conal Ó Gráda (flute), Benny McCarthy (accordion) & Dave Sheridan (fiddle), all long recognised as among the top instrumentalists in Ireland, Nell Ní Chróinín (sean nós singer, commonly acknowledged as the most exciting traditional singing talent of her generation) and Colm Murphy (bodhrán, widely recognised as one of the top Traditional music percussionists of all time). 

The Raw Bar Collective focus on connecting with the listener. Their music is presented with warmth, wit, passion and respect. 

Tickets available on the door on the night.

Doors Open 8PM


8:00 pm20:00


We Banjo 3 hail from Co. Galway and play a blend of traditional Irish, old time, and bluegrass music they call Celt Grass. The band is composed of two sets of brothers, Enda and Fergal Scahill and Martin and David Howley, and frequent substitute Garry O'Meara. Earle Hitchner, music writer for The Wall Street Journal, described their playing as a “freshness and finesse bordering on the magical," and LiveIreland proclaiming them "the hottest group in Irish music..." Their debut album Roots of the Banjo Tree was released in 2012 and was named “Traditional Music Album of the Year” by The Irish Times. This was followed by the release of Gather the Good in 2014. Siobhan Long, music critic for the Irish Times, writes "We Banjo 3 are a musical Betty Ford Clinic, almost singlehandedly rehabilitating the much maligned banjo in 4 short years." In 2016 the band released their fourth album String Theory which debuted at Number One on the Billboard Charts. The current line-up is:

  • Enda Scahill - Banjo, Mandolin, Tenor Guitar
  • Martin Howley - Banjo, Mandolin, Tenor Guitar
  • David Howley - Banjo, Vocals, Guitar
  • Fergal Scahill - Fiddle, Guitar, Bodhrán

This is guaranteed to be an unmissable night's entertainment! It will take place in Matt Molloy's Yard bar and tickets will be available on the door on the night. Doors open 8PM.



Oct 20


Join Elena and Boo for an intimate few hours of music in Matt Molloy's music room. Elena and Boo will play from 7pm - 9pm on both Wednesday 19th and Thursday 20th. The perfect way to while away a few hours on an October evening, guaranteed to be a fantastic gig. No cover charge. 

With a shared passion for country, rock ‘n roll, bluegrass and mountain music, Elena Skye (Chicago, IL) and Boo Reiners (Charlotte, N.C.) blur the lines between these musical styles with their NYC/Hoboken based Demolition String Band. Thrilling audiences for more than a decade now with their original material mixed with traditional and not-so-traditional songs, they’ve released five albums and toured the U.S. and Europe sharing bills with acts like The Avett Brothers, Ryan Adams, Joan Osborne, Ricky Skaggs, Southern Culture On The Skids, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Roger McGuinn, and many others.

As the “Elena & Boo” duo they’ve logged many miles as well. “It started out as a way to deal with rising gas prices and a sagging economy and still be able to hit the road,” says Elena Skye. “But we really enjoy playing and singing harmonies around a single mic, swapping mandolin, banjo and guitars.” Touring all over New England, the southeast, the midwest, up and down the California coast and Ireland has made their show taut, dynamic and entertaining.

Demolition String Band appear on the Sept 2014 release “My Name Is New York: Ramblin’ Around Woody Guthrie’s Town,”  a three disc set which includes a historic walking guide of all the places where Guthrie lived and wrote songs during his 27 year love affair with the city. “Go Coney Island Roll, On The Sand” is the rousing DSB track with lyrics by Woody Guthrie and music by Elena Skye which appears among other new collaborations from Del McCoury Band, Billy Bragg & Wilco, Jackson Browne, Jonatha Brooke and many others. The walking tour is narrated by Nora Guthrie and includes interviews with Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Bob Dylan and others. This release comes just as “21: The Best Of Demolition String Band” hits the streets, a collection of some of the band’s best material from the past five albums, sure to please fans old and new alike.

For the latest release under the DSB name, the duo recently reunited with venerable roots rock producer Eric Ambel and engineer Tim Hatfield (Rolling Stones/Xpensive Winos) to record live in the studioa CD “single” that features Skye’s “Sailor Girl” with The Glimmer Twins’ classic deep cut “Loving Cup” on the flip side.

Elena, who studied with mandolin innovator Jethro Burns as a young teen, has had song placements in films and television, and has provided her vocal and mandolin stylings on various projects.As an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, Boo has moonlighted on tour with world music pioneers The Klezmatics and played on their Grammy winning CD “Wonder Wheel: Lyrics By Woody Guthrie.” He’s also been a not-so-secret weapon for indie rock heroes Dispatch, and has recently joined forces with Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame member Phil Lesh of The Grateful Dead.

Whether raisin’ the roof with Demolition String Band or rockin’ as a duo with banjo, mandolin and guitars, fans old and new are moved by Elena & Boo’s infectious grooves, beautiful harmonies and rustic songwriting.


8:00 pm20:00


Rakish Paddy are a five piece band playing traditional songs and tunes from Ireland, America and occasionally beyond. Based in West Yorkshire they have been performing as a band for over 25 years to enthusiastic audiences in England, Ireland and Holland. They currently comprise Nick Ackroyd on flute whistle and guitar; Dave Connor on vocals, mandolin and bodhran; Martin Webster on vocals and guitar; Andy Stronach on vocals and bass guitar; and last but not least Ian McDonald on fiddle and vocals. Guaranteed to get you drinking, singing, and dancing, and generally having a good time.

2:30 pm14:30


Singer-songwriter Stephen Gormley, originally from Sligo, performed on the Galway circuit for many years before moving to Dublin, where he now lives. His band, MoonLooksOn, are currently recording their debut album and their music encompasses folk, experimental, soul and pop. They performed two gigs at this year’s Electric Picnic.

Along with Stephen , the lead vocalist, who also plays guitar, bodhrán and mandolin, band members include Aisling Bridgeman (violin and vocals), Laura Ryder (piano and vocals) and Jack Bird (drums/percussion). Stephen has a unique voice, which along with his powerful and well-written lyrics, will guarantee to capture the attention of any audience. This is a gig definitely not to be missed!

Doors Open 2:30PM
Admission €5


For more information on this gig visit WWW.WESTPORTARTSFESTIVAL.COM

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The new Roscommon based Traditional group,Gatehouse will be doing an Autumn tour to celebrate the release of their debut CD, Tús Nua. Gatehouse will perform at Matt Molloy’s on Wednesday September 21st.   
Gatehouse are a newly formed band with a line up of experienced and up and coming artistes, who are launching their sound on to the scene in 2016 with the release of their debut CD, Tús Nua. Internationally renowned fiddler Martin Hayes says of the album that “it is beautifully arranged and recorded.  Everything happening here is authentic.  This recording proves that Traditional music can be continually fresh and alive without being flashy or over produced.” The band formed in late 2014 and throughout 2015 they have performed at a number of venues and festivals as well as on live TV. John Wynne and John McEvoy along with Jacinta McEvoy have been performing regularly since the release of McEvoy’s and Wynne’s duet album,Pride Of The West,in 2007. This trio were delighted when talented young Roscommon singer,Rachel Garvey agreed to join them to form Gatehouse.The songs and tunes from Gatehouse are based in the North Connaught traditions,the Sean Nos singing tradition of Connamara,the rich Ulster song tradition along with sprinklings of other influences.  The band’s arrangements are appropriate and musically thoughtful. The band also draws on some newly composed music,including two of John McEvoy’s compositions which are included in Tús Nua.
Members of Gatehouse are John McEvoy(fiddle/viola/piano) Jacinta McEvoy(guitar/concertina/backing vocals) Rachel Garvey(vocals) and John Wynne(flutes/whistles) 
John McEvoy is a renowned fiddler and noteworthy composer. John was particularly drawn to the fiddle playing of the Sligo masters.  John has played with many groups including Flynn’s men Bakerswell and kelp.  He released his long awaited second solo CD entitled Traditional Fiddle Music in 2012. 
Jacinta McEvoy is equally adept on guitar concertina and piano.  Jacinta is a sought after accompanist and arranger, and she has recorded on recent albums by Chris Droney John Wynne and John McEvoy. 
Rachel Garvey is a young singer of great promise and star quality. An All Ireland winner in Irish and English singing,  Rachel sweet singing can be heard on a CD, Alone by the wildwood, featuring songs from Roscommon. 
John Wynne has become established as one of the leading players and tutors of the North Connaught flute style.  John recorded and toured with Providence as well as releasing two acclaimed solo CD’s.  In 2007 John released the celebrated Pride of the West duet flute/fiddle CD with John McEvoy which was voted one of the best releases of that year by esteemed U.S. critic, Earle Hitchner. 
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Due to unforeseen circumstances Dick is not going to be able to undertake his Irish tour. Therefore this gig in Matt Molloy's will not go ahead. We apologise for any inconvenience cause.

DICK GAUGHAN has sung his heart and soul out for four decades and continues to tweak our consciences and exorcise complacency. His explosive and dexterous guitar-playing and tremendous voice express his passionate, often affectionate, and always truthful, songs perfectly.

Whether reaffirming his own Scottish working-class identity, or contemplating a wider world vision, Gaughan has a remarkable gift for drawing his audiences into his personal and poignant commentaries on life, the world and an alternative future.

Gaughan’s is one of the finest and most sublime voices on the planet, capable of capturing the heart with the most tender of traditional ballads in one moment and stirring the fire of the spirit with his uncompromising commentary on social injustice in the next.

This show promises an intimate afternoon in the company of a great singer-songwriter whose live shows are lauded wherever he goes.



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Next gig for The Acoustic Yard will be in Matt Molloy's Tuesday September 13th with Gerry Creen and Special Guests. Gerry will be playing tracks from his latest album 'My Shoes'. Should be a great night...

Gerry Creen, Belfast born and bred, is acknowledged as one of Belfast’s finest singer songwriters. Having lived all his life in the city Gerry emerged from the vibrant Belfast folk scene of the 1960s and 70s.

Over the years he’s shared stages and billings with Nanci Griffith, Mary Black, Paul Brady, Altan, Ralph McTell, Tom Paxton, Donovan, Loudon Wainwright, the Dubliners John Martyn, Danny Thompson, Lindisfarne, Pierre Bensusan, Stefan Grossman, Mary Coughlan, Alan Taylor, Freddie White, the Battlefield Band, Ossian, Stocktons Wing, Scullion, Eddie Reader, Ian Matthews, The Strawbs, Henry McCullough ...

Gerry has had a prominent place in the most recent Belfast/Nashville Singer/Songwriter Festivals – sharing the stage with Nanci Griffith, Eleanor McEvoy, Colin Raye, Kevin Doherty, Rory Faithfield, Tia Sillers and Mark Selby, Mick Hanley, Dougie Maclean Declan O’Rourke and Benita Hill. His song Lucky Star is part of the festival’s promotional CD Voices of Belfast.

Gerry has recently toured in Ireland with John Gorka, Madison Violet, David Olney and Sergio Webb and the Carolina Chocolate Drops and in Scotland with Allan Taylor and shared billings and stages with Ian Matthews, Eddie Reader, Brian Kennedy, Juliet Turner, Ben Reel, Eilidh Patterson, Joe Echo, Ben Glover, Anthony Toner, John Spillane, Colum Sands, Paul Casey, Janet Holmes and Colin Henry. Recent gigs include Dan McGuinness Nashville, Stormont, Edinburgh Folk Club, Stirling Folk Club, The Marquee Club Moniaive, Biggar Folk Club, Leith Folk Club, Clyde Folk Club Sanquar, Dunfermline Folk Club, The Seamus Ennis Centre Dublin, The Mill Theatre Dundrum Dublin, New Music Club Clonmell, Rua Red Theatre Dublin, The Strule Arts Centre Omagh, The Lagan Sessions Belfast, The Cresent Arts Centre Belfast, The Linen Hall Library Belfast, The Bronte Music Club, The Real Music Club Belfast, The Empire Music Hall Belfast, The Black Box Belfast, The Spirit Store Dundalk and Festival of the Peninsula, Fiddlers Green Festival, Feile An Phobail, Clonard Monastery, Cathedral Quarter Festival, Gig’n The Bann Festival, Open House Festival, Belfast Night of Culture, and The Atlantic Sessions.

At several of its events the David Ervine Foundation invited him to perform his timeless and profoundly moving peace anthem A Rose By Any Other Name which was written in 1977 during the darkest days of the Troubles. “Considered by many as one of Irelands leading Peace Anthems” IRISH NEWS March 4th 2010.

In 2007 he wrote and performed the title track Tuesday’s Child on a double album for the children’s charity of the same name featuring the very best in Irish music – including Mary Black, Brian Kennedy, Duke Special, Foy Vance, Snow Patrol.

Since 2008 Gerry has been playing mainly solo gigs to promote his recent CD ‘Hindsight’ 2009 and his re-released on CD album from 1986 ‘A Rose By Any Other Name’



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Sion Hill are a Soul/Pop duo from Ireland. They signed to Clouds Hill, an independent label in Hamburg in 2015 and are awaiting the release of an album in March next year. 

Right now, they are organising a short two week tour of Ireland, during the 1st two weeks of September, including a show at Electric Picnic.

Sion Hill will play Matt Molloy's Yard Bar on Sunday, 11th September. Bound to be a great evening. Check them out! Doors Open 8PM.

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One of Traditional music’s most energetic and impressive acts!

Artists Caitlín Nic Gabhann and Ciarán Ó Maonaigh deliver a spirited performance of music and dance rooted in the tradition; brimming with soul and life. Through fiddle, concertina and dance, Caitlín & Ciarán breathe fire into musical pieces, combining their arts with passion and spontaneity.

Accomplished musicians each in their own right, Caitlín & Ciarán have a connection as deep as the Irish folk traditions they come from. Their music is a joyful unleashing of talents learnt at the hearths of their parents, family and friends. Their 2015 debut CD release 'Caitlín & Ciarán' received a 4 star review in The Irish Times.

“Caitlín Nic Gabhann and Ciarán Ó Maonaigh are two of the finest instrumentalists on the Irish traditional scene. Individually they are stunning but together they bring a freshness and excitement to the music that is uniquely their own.”                                  Robbie O’Connell (The Clancy Brothers)


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LA TRESCA was founded in the year 2000 and started off with a vibrant mix of Italian and Irish inspired traditional/folk music, over the years they also added some other music styles like Ska and Reggae. Their initial musical energy can still be noticed in their extended repertoire although they’ve turned more and more towards the roots of Italian traditional music, also writing beautiful new songs and tunes within that traditional spirit. 

LA TRESCA, meaning gathering or ‘Ceilidh’ in their dialect of La Tuscia, the region between the Umbrian city of Orvieto, the holy mount Amiata in the province of Siena and further south of the Lake of Bolsena in the province of Viterbo, can be regarded as one of the most appreciated bands in the italian traditional/folk scene. Traditional music is making a remarkable come-back in Italy, also thanks to bands like La Tresca who kept believing in the beauty and power of traditional music…..

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The Foghorn Stringband is the present day shining gold standard for American string band music, with eight albums, thousands of shows, over a decade of touring under their belts, and an entirely new generation of old-time musicians following their lead. Through all this, they’ve never let the music grow cold; instead they’ve been steadily proving that American roots music is a never-ending well of inspiration.

The music of The Foghorn Stringband today, as heard on their new album Devil In The Seat, revolves around four master musicians: Portland, Oregon-based Caleb Klauder (vocals, mandolin, fiddle) and Reeb Willms (vocals, guitar), and Yukon-based Nadine Landry (vocals, upright bass) and Stephen ‘Sammy’ Lind (vocals, fiddle, banjo). Each member of The Foghorn Stringband comes not only from a different part of the American roots music spectrum, but leads the pack in their field as well. 

The Foghorn Stringband see themselves not as revivalists, but as curators and ardent fans, and their music is a celebration of these roots. From their origins in Portland Oregon’s underground roots music scene in the late 90s and early 00s, when members of today’s hot bands like The Decemberists and Blind Pilot were gathering to explore the roots of American folk music, The Foghorn Stringband have spread the old-time string band gospel all over the world. Along the way, they’ve brought in influences and inspirations from their many travels and late-night jam sessions. Old-time square dance tunes now rub shoulders with Cajun waltzes, vintage honky-tonk songs, and pre-bluegrass picking. This is the kind of bubbling musical brew which first intoxicated the American mainstream in the day


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Laoise Kelly is from Westport, Co. Mayo. She has three critically acclaimed solo albums ‘Just Harp’ (1999)‘Ceis’ (2010), and ‘Fáilte Uí Cheallaigh’ (2015), and ‘The Wishing Well’ (2010) a live duo album with fiddle player Michelle O’Brien. Laoise was a founding member of traditional group ‘Bumblebees’ with whom she recorded two albums (1997, 1999) and toured extensively internationally.

Throughout her solo career she has recorded on over 60 albums with many of Ireland’s foremost artists including The Chieftains, Christy Moore, Sharon Shannon, Dónal Lunny, Tommy Makem, Matt Molloy, Mary Black, Maighread & Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill, Eimear Quinn as well as Kate Bush and American country/bluegrass icon Tim O’Brien.

She continues to tour with Trad legends Tommy Peoples & Breanndán Begley since their Music Network tour 2011, and more recently has a number of collaborations including a duo with Uilleann Piper Tiarnan Ó Duinnchinn; ‘Albiez Trio’ – Cormac Breatnach & Tola Custy; award winning Scottish Gaelic singer Kathleen MacInnes; fiddler Michelle O’Brien; Double Bassist Martin Brunsden and is also a member of ‘Fiddletree’, a group from Cape Breton Island in Canada who play instruments all made from the same tree!

Allan MacDonald was born in 1956 and raised in the Gaelic-speaking community of Glenuig in a family that includes two equally famous piping MacDonald brothers: Iain and Dr. Angus. Allan was taught first by Pipe Major John MacKenzie of Campbelltown at Queen Victoria School in Dunblane, and later by Bob Nicol and Roddy MacDonald of South Uist.

Though he won the Gold Medal at Inverness in 1984, and two straight Clasps there in 1989 and 1990, his style has more often been the antithesis of the successful competitive piper, particular in piobaireachd. He has been strongly influenced by a wide range of traditional music plays Scottish smallpipes, Border pipes, whistle, harmonica, button accordion and Jew's harp. Like that of his brothers, his playing reflects a style of power and rhythm deeply rooted in the Highlands of Scotland.