Tis the seisiún
An iconic county Cork music venue is set to feature in a new four-part TV series airing next month.
Starting on 1 September on RTÉ 1, ‘Seisiún’ will visit four of the country’s most celebrated family-run music spots, with one episode focusing on Connolly's of Leap in West Cork.
The show will be presented by Kerry musician and former lead singer of traditional music group Danú, Murieann Nic Amlaoibh.
Artists set to feature in the series include The Saw Doctors, Stockton’s Wing, Lisa Canny, The 4 of Us, and Cork’s own Mick Flannery.
Flannery has a long-standing association with Connolly’s having performed there many times throughout his career.
In the Cork episode, as well as Mick Flannery, there will be performances by some of the Connelly’s fellow stalwarts including innovative Irish music group Strung, and powerhouse Cork musician Clare Sands.
The episode will also see host Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh revamp a classic sean-nós song, with accompaniment from Cormac McCarthy and Macdara Ó Faoláin.
Nic Amhlaoibh will also be chatting with mother and son owners Eileen Connolly and Sam McNicholl.
Sam McNicholl said: “We’ve been putting on gigs and creating lasting memories for all who walk through our doors for over 40 years.
“Independent in spirit and independent in mind, we’ve been ploughing a lonely furrow but it’s the incredible music and people that keep us going.
“The struggle for survival is very real down here but we’ve stuck it out. It’s only when venues like ours are gone that people cry out and value their real significance and we came very close over Covid to shutting our doors for good.”
The other venues set to feature in the series are Campbells Tavern in Galway, The Cobblestone in Dublin, and McGrory’s of Culdaff, Donegal.
Speaking about the four venues, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh said: “These venues are so special. Down through the decades these establishments and the families who run them have kept a light on for musicians and performers to come in and share their music with audiences hungry for that special night out.
“When you walk in the door of the Cobblestone, Connolly’s, Campbells or McGrory’s, you are really hit with sense of the history of the place and the icons of the Irish and international music scene who adorn their walls and love to play there.
“But there’s a danger we take these spaces for granted. They all tell a story of the challenges this business holds and how they have been so close to going under time and time again, most recently as a result of Covid,” she added.
“This is an opportunity to come out and celebrate the music and people of these special venues. As Willie Campbell put it, ‘There’s singing in these walls’.”
The series will be available to view on RTÉ 1 and the RTÉ Player from 1 September at 8.30pm.