Cork: A Guide. Kind of...

Welcome to Cork...

I was chatting with a friend recently who said he met a musician who was new to Cork and found it very difficult to find any information on such things as how to put a gig together, the best people to speak to, how to promote shows etc. so I figured I would try and compile a list of folks who seem to know what's what. As I tend to do with lists, I got a little bit carried away evolving into a bit of a behemoth. Note this post will forever be a work in progress so if you have any info you feel I should add/remove, please feel free to comment below or pop me a mail at

Important places

Plugd Records
(1st floor Triskel Arts Centre, Tobin Street - down the alley between Soho and Singers)
Albert and Jim hold fort at Cork's only independent record shop. Be it stocking your new EP, turning you on to great new music or helping spread word-of-mouth Plugd is the heartbeat of the local music scene. You never know how important something really is until it's gone. Plugd went for a while. We realised it is very, very important.


The Green Room
Michael Carr's all-Irish show on 96FM. Every Saturday, 6-8pm.

Access All Areas
Entertainment listings aired four times daily on 96FM. Simply email to have your listing added.

Underground of Happiness
Conor O'Toole's UCC 98.3FM campus radio show full of "uplifting pop music for every creed". Tuesdays at 11am and repeat at 8.30pm

From local to national to international, the hints in the name. Hosted by Jim Comic Tuesday 2-3pm on UCC campus radio and repeated at midnight on 98.3FM.

Green On Red
From 7-10pm every Sunday with local legend Ashley Keating of The Frank & Walters. The G-Man sometimes fills in when Ash is away.

Indie Arena
Promoting new and up and coming artists, Indie Arena is presented by Antonia K. Moore, Saturdays from 4-6pm on Get in touch via

The Cork Music Show
Hosted by The G-Man, The Cork Music Show plays a whole hour of Cork-only music every Sunday on Cork City Community Radio 100.5FM. Listen from 2-3pm on 100.5FM in the Cork area but otherwise use this link.


The Point of Everything
Irish Examiner journalist Eoghan O'Sullivan - and editor of the lovely if short-lived fanzine We Play Here - virtually hangs out here and until quite recently had called it quits. The site is now back active, featuring a regular podcast with interviews from local, national and international folks mixed up in this music malarky.

Fractured Air
One of the best and original new blogs in a long time as the Carry brothers mix original illustrations with excellent reviews, interviews and mixtapes. Sadly now defunct but FA do continue to contribute peerless playlists to La Blogotheque.

Forum and gig listing site. Very useful for asking questions, although a leather hide may be required to cope with some of the witty retorts.

Balcony TV Cork
The Cork arm of the world-renowned Balcony TV online music station.

Niall of Cork
Not as regular a poster as he once was but Niall still checks in for general ruminations about music and stuff from time to time.

Cork Live Music Guide
Facebook page open to all things gig-related down south.

Cork Gigs
Technically Cork gigs has been unmanned and rudderless for quite some time yet it's code automatically pulls listings from certain sites so continues to function to a point.

The G-Man
Hi! This is me. I try to keep on top of what's happening on Leeside and preview upcoming shows to keep folks updated on what's going down down south. Click here for the latest 7-day guide.


Soundtrax (11 Mulgrave Road, Camden Quay)
PAs, monitors, lighting, backline etc.

Pro Musica (20 Oliver Plunkett Street)
Guitars, keyboards and the usual.

The Living Tradition (40 MacCurtain Street)
Acoustic guitars and trad instruments.

Record Labels

FIFA Records
Scooping up Cork acts as if they were garlic and cheese chips on a Saturday night, FIFA is currently home to Elastic Sleep, Saint Yorda, The Frank & Walters, The Hard Ground and more.

Penske Records
Penske have only stuck out two records so far but it's a marathon, not a sprint for PR. The eagerly anticipated début album from The Altered Hours, In Heat Not Sorry, followed Woven Skull's LP, Lair Of The Glowing Bantling.


Feel Good Lost
Conal Thomson and Brendan Canty are the masterminds behind Feel Good Lost who are making quite a reputation for themselves worldwide following the monstrous Youtube popularity of Hozier's 'Take Me To The Church'.

YouTube channel that have dedicated their time to documenting bands in Cork from all genres for quite some time.

Poster printing/design

Pretty Handsome Studio
Designer of all the posters for The G-Man Presents... sessions so that should say it all about my opinion on this lovely lot really.

CMJ Print Services
Really good value and quality and can have posters and flyers printed up in a jiffy. Email for quotes and details.

Cork Community Printshop
Newly relocated screenprint collective that had originally teamed up with Art For Blind Records, since moved from Cork, on Lower Oliver Plunkett Street.

Saint Yorda frontman Paul O'Reilly is responsible for his band's manga-magical posters and single sleeves. Take a look at further illustrations and designs from the SY singer over on

Rehearsal Rooms

Cork Rehearsal Studios
Based in Kibarry business park atop Dublin hill (Blackpool), CRS is a prime spot for bands who simply have nowhere available to crank it up to 11. Never underestimate the value of an available practise space.

Bubble Room Rehearsal
Douglas-based rehearsal rooms that also run courses, lessons etc. with five fully sound-proofed back lined practise studios.

Sessions/Open mics
We all got to start somewhere and playing open mics can be a good way to advertise a full band gig if you're from out of town.

MacCurtain Street's heaving hostel/bar always has something going on including an open mic every Monday.

The Oliver Plunkett
Monday night showcase on Oliver Plunkett Street hosted by Cork music scene veteran Andy Dunne.

L'Attitude 51
Tuesday session in the former Lobby bar hosted by Paula Gomez. Being a wine bar/café, there is a quite a relaxed atmosphere.

Cissie Young's
A bit out of town and student-oriented session that takes place every Tuesday.

Quarter Block Party
Quarter Block Party is a three day music and arts festival that takes place on the usually neglected-for-arts streets of North & South Main in February, conveniently coinciding with the first paycheque of the year. The perfect platform for shaking off the January blues.

It's difficult to say when exactly shows will happen at St. Luke's church but it's a hell of a location when it does.

August bank holiday weekend gathering that has mixed musical heavyweights such as De La Soul with upcoming Irish bands.

Cork Midsummer
Although predominantly an arts and theatre festival, the Midsummer programme usually turns up containing some great musical treats like the Bowerbird session which featured Sam Amidon, Adrian Crowley and more in the Triskel.

Live At The Marquee
The popular big top temporarily erected near Pairc Ui Chaoimh hosts an eclectic lot throughout June and July ranging from Robert Plant, Neil Young and The Pixies to Olly Murs, Kanye West and Jedward.

Evening Echo
Daily newspaper published every evening. Try to mail a few weeks in advance as entertainment/film/music listings are usually reserved for Thursday's Downtown supplement.

Cork Independent
Free weekly paper published every Thursday with a small section dedicated to interviews and gig pick of the week.

Gig promoters
People who put on gigs and shows and may - if not always directly - help point you in the right direction.

The G-Man Presents/Low Trees
And it all began with little xs for eyes and The David Nelligan Thing. I've been so lucky to work with these lovely people so far.

Word of Mouth Agency
Cork-based booking agents who also sort out national tours and general all round good folk.

Alliance Promotions


Ping Pong
Not been active in a while but a not-for-profit group who are always planning gigs for your soon-to-be-new-favourite-band.

Plugd Records
From electronica to american primitivism, Plugd simply put on good shows.

Tom Keating Presents
Owner of legendary venue Fred's and promoter of shows in various sizes from Human League and Iron & Wine in The Savoy to Teddy Thompson in The Crane Lane.

Grapevine Promotions
Kinsale-based promoter who plays a major part in the very successful Live At St. Luke's series.

Recording Studios

Small but incredibly productive operation manned by Elastic Sleep's Chris Somers. If you like what you hear on soundcloud maybe pop him a mail at

Christian Best
Home studio manned by Mick Flannery's drummer Christian recording/producing/mixing records for the likes of John Blek & The Rats, Former Monarchs, O Emperor and more. I can't find an official site for the man but highly regarded by anyone who's worked with him.

Personally I would love to see Cork's student community become more directly involved with what's happening in Cork City be it nosing about Plugd or simply attending gigs. Alas it's simply not how it is at this particular moment in time but if the mountain won't come to you then best you pack your van and head to the mountain and see if you can get involved in society gigs.

The Live Music Society is quite active these days hosting shows in Cyprus Avenue as well as gigs in the college bar and other various workshops. The Glucksman gallery also tends to hold lunchtime concerts every now and then.

I'm not sure if CIT's Music Society does much outside of internal practise sessions etc. but the School of Music is a good place for classical concerts (and jazz and traditional too) and if session string or brass players are required then look no further.

Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa
Based in the city, music students partake in annual CSN showcases but again don't seem to play much of an active part (directly that is) in the Cork music scene although many of the students are members of the various bands.

It's tough to find parking at all in Cork so finding a place close to a venue can be even more difficult so always check with the venue on good parking spots etc. Folks travelling from Dublin should avail of the excellent value for money Aircoach that runs into the early hours of the morning. The bus is luxury too. If booking a train make sure to book early on as the prices are astronomical the closer you leave it to the date.

We all need to lay our head somewhere and, if stuck for a place to do so, the below should hopefully sort you out. Also handy if you want to convince a group of friends to travel to Cork to see your band without spending a fortune.

Kinlay House
Shandon-located hostel that is very affordable and sometimes offers deals to bands.

Sheila's Hostel
Located on Wellington Road so pretty much in town with multiple size rooms available for bands on a budget.

MacCurtain Street's Brú is a bar with music 7 nights per week as well as a hostel so ridiculously convenient if you happen to be playing there.

Large capacity
Cork Opera House (902 seated)
Contact details: click here
From operas and pantos to Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Efterklang and Ryan Adams.

The Savoy (1,100)
Mostly dance and night club but recently hosted the likes of Villagers, MGMT and Bombay Bicycle Club.

Everyman Palace Theatre (650)
Pretty much confined to the jazz weekend for live music, the Everyman is a beautiful venue that should be used more for gigs such as Iron & Wine. Hint.

Medium to large
Cyprus Avenue (230)
Low, Black Lips, Midlake, Swans, Alessi's Ark...the list of great international touring bands to visit Caroline Street continues to grow at an exponential rate.

Cork School of Music (400)
Mostly only used for classical concerts but a really nice room if very big and tough to fill.

Half Moon Theatre (250 or 100 seated)
Cork Opera House's shy little sister. A tough place to fill but some of my favourite ever gigs over the years have taken place in the Half Moon.

Triskel Christchurch (230)
A refurbished 11th century church that acts as a venue and independent cinema, now linked to both Gulpd Café and Plugd Records. Relatively hidden away and suited mostly to quieter bands, they don't come much more perfect than here.

The Crane Lane Theatre (350)
It's mad how many big international bands play the Crane Lane for absolutely no entry fee. Gigs are mostly late with a midnight show pretty much every night but earlier shows are recommended for those who ply their trade in the quieter genres.

The Kino (200+)
Cork's long gone indie cinema reborn as a music venue.

Triskel Arts Centre TDC (100)
Corcadorca's theatre development centre is a great room and available at the weekend if you book well in advance.

The Roundy (100)
I've always enjoyed gigs in The Roundy but the room has acquired a whole new lease of life since recent renovations moved both the bar and stage to far more suitable points in the room.

Fred Zeppelin's (80)
Mostly known as a metaller's haven, Fred's is open to all types of music from folk to electronica. A great place for new bands to book their first shows as Fred's are welcoming of all.

Bradley's of Barrack Street (50 - guess)
Consistency was a problem for Bradley's in the past but that's no longer an issue as the Barrack Street bar and venue book at least one rock gig per week. They also removed an odd-shaped couch and freed up some space making it a lot easier to squeeze to the front. Good times ahead here, again with good people involved.

The Gateway (45 - guess)
Formerly An Realt Dearg, The Gateway is getting going again as a music venue but I haven't been to much there since the doors reopened.

An Spailpin Fanach (will have a think)
Trad mostly but there's quite a big room upstairs.

Coughlan's (65)
A gem of a room, tailor-made for folkies but well capable of hosting intimate rock shows. Good folk run this Douglas Street venue and every September they party hard with their annual music festival.

Plugd Records (40-60)
The room creates its own atmosphere with refreshments served downstairs in Gulpd. Such a great room with a little bit of hush there isn't even any need for a PA really.

Gulpd Café (30)
Downstairs from Plugd in the Triskel Arts Centre, Gulpd has hosted some really lovely, intimate shows such as Cal Folger Day and Daniel Martin Moore.

Pub gigs
An Bróg
Charlie's Bar
The LV
The Oliver Plunkett
The Sextant
The Slate

County Cork
For those looking to put together a tour of the county see the below venues for outside of Cork City. There's quite a nice selection I must say including the world renowned De Barra's.

The White Horse (Ballincollig)
Blackbird (Ballycotton)
The Grain Store (Ballymaloe)
The Mariner (Bantry)
De Barra's (Clonakilty)
Sirius Arts Centre (Cobh)
Connolly's (Leap)
McDaid's (Midleton)
Meeting Place Bar (Midleton)
Pine Lodge (Myrtleville)
Paragon Bar (Skibbereen)

A list of some of the best bands Cork has to offer in no particular order and possibly missing quite a few. If you're looking to put on a gig it's best to simply ask a band you like outright. Please don't freak out over the loose genre assignments.

The Altered Hours
The Altered Hours (Psych-rock)
Bantum (Electronic)
Boa Morte (Folk-rock)
Carried By Waves (Electronic rock)
The David Nelligan Thing (Pop)
Elastic Sleep (Shoegaze)
Flok (Folk)
Former Monarchs (Rock)
The Frank & Walters (Pop)
Fred (Pop)
Grave Lanterns (Pop)
The Great Balloon Race (Jazzy prog-rock)
The Hard Ground (Folk-pop)
Hope Is Noise (Rock)
Rory Francis O'Brien (Folk)
Iarla Ó'Lionáird (Folk)
John Blek & The Rats (Alt-country)
Toby Kaar (Electronica)
Morning Veils (Folk)
O Emperor (Rock)
Seti The First (Instrumental rock/classical)
The Shaker Hymn (Indie rock)
Ten Past Seven (Instrumental bog-rock)
The Vincent(s) (Doom-pop)
Ger Wolfe (Folk)
Young Wonder (Electro-pop)

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  1. The Cork Live Music Guide on facebook is great too...

  2. Is the shop just gone or are they totally out business? That's crap. Derek did sound on the first 3 G-Man Presents gigs and was great to work with.

  3. The shop is gone, Des is setup in Little Island now. Haven't heard much about Derek.


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