I like that - it could just be a description of Macroom last Tuesday when I blew in for a lookaround before the Moun­tain Dew Festival got going.
"One day it was Trades Day, with sermons on the streets, singers in the saloons, and plotters and politicians lying on every corner  
Woody Guthrie
 "Bound for Glory"

The narrow mainstreet was jammed with shoppers, hustlers, farmers, tractors, political posters, cars and cops in no particular order, and going no­where fast because the way was blocked.

Up towards the west end of the town, there was a truck with Fine Gael posters and about eight chairs on it, with maybe 75 people looking on, and talk­ing quietly to one another, their eyes shaded, and the words slipping quietly from the sides of their mouths. The average age was about 50, and anyone of rock 'n' roll age just split thru', making plenty of noise. Now and again one of the oul' fellas would pull his hands from his pockets, hitch up his trousers, straighten his cap, leave his best wishes with those he'd been speaking to, and ramble off.

They were waiting for Little Liarn Cosgrave.

Sheltered on the North side by the Boggeragh Mountains (no, you thick, I don't mean the Begorrah Mountains!), Macroom is set in lush mid-Cork country­side, before it turns scrubby further west. The spuds were coming on grand, and whatever about the fish, there were plenty of anglers disturbing the Lee just outside the town. The sun shone, and everybody complim­ented the heat.

Basically, Macroom is an ordinary Irish country town -2,500 people, traditionally the local marketplace, now developing an industrial basis, and "boasting" 12 factories.

It's got one long tight main­street, and not much to the sides, new supermarkets side-by-­side with older lived-in looking pub-cum-shops -darker looking  places but what they lack in light, they make up in heart.  cartoon377

How many roads must a man walk down...
before he reaches Macroom

And the names, Cronins, Kellehers, O'Farrells, O'Learys, all of them with a West Cork feel to them, and the people seem more open and relaxed than in many country towns. This ain't saying that it's a hot­spot, full of scenes going on. Nope, there wasn't anything, much happening there the night I blew in ...

So, how come Macroom is site of what could yet be the. most important gig staged in Ireland, hopefully the fore­runner of many more such?

There's a couple of answers - first off, this is only the 2nd Mountain Dew Festival, so it wasn't around during the rather odd period in the sixties when every crossroads that could get its ass together to summon home its loyal sons an' daugh­ters put on some kind of strangeness and called it a Festival. The experience of all that shamrock stained gimme-gimme was not lost on the committee.

The latter are the second answer to the question. What they've assembled, the big gig aside, is a cross between a village fete and a ragweek-a participant festival, a streetscene.

Add to that their capacity to think big and you've got the open-air Gallagher' concert. (Remember their invite to Idi Amin to visit the festival? The' word is that there was a lot of dropsy going around Macroom last week when the Quare Fella, was said to be flying in!) "Thinking big means spending big", says John o 'Callaghan , full time organiser; "and the committee have put' more money into this than goes into other festivals" .

The open air gig was decided upon, the organisers say, to provide a facility for Irish rock fans who otherwise would have had to go to England to sample a big festival.

As it happens they had the grounds of Macroom Castle at their disposal, so their main question was who to get to play ... as if it could have been anyone other than Rory Gallagher ! !

Having sold out seven concerts on his last tour, Rory is obviously the man to headline the first major open air gig to be attempted in Ireland.

The Castle where it will be staged is at the west end of town.

The grounds form quite a good natural amphitheatre. There's a football pitch on your right as you enter, and to your left, the ground rises towards some houses, and beyond to the south there's a golf links. The stage, which at 50 feet x 35 feet will probably be the largest stage ever assembled in Ireland, will be set up opposite the rise.

The committee hope to have a tent set up to sell sandwiches and minerals, so the chances are you won't have to shell out 40p for an apple, which ain't no harm.

Finally, security in the grounds will be in the hands of 50 guards and more securicor men with dogs ... the organizers anticipate no hassles ...
Dermot Stokes

This article comes from the very first issue of Hot Press Volume 1, No.1, June 9th, 1977
Thanks to Brian Rochford for sending me a copy of the issue!
reformatted by roryfan
To Join
The Loop
Mailing & Discussion List 
email roryfan at
Back to main RoryON!! page
 Back to Articles page
Back to previous article
Forward to next article
added 3/24/08