© Artwork by M. Brennan 2012 copyright - All
Kelly's of Dunkirk
- Carlow Session and Traditional Irish
Music Club -
- Details This article appeared in
artslistings.com in Jan 2003
- This article appeared in
www.artslistings.com in Jan 2003
An Irish Music Club found in
various pubs throughout Carlow, Ireland. For local and out of town
musicians and music lovers. The history behind the formation of
the music club is a strange one. A friend of mine and I wanted to
have a place to play music in that was relaxed and totally
carefree. We wanted a venue that had character and a very real
flavour of Old Time Ireland. That’s when we decided to found a
monthly session. Now the next thing was to decide on a location
for this particular session.
My Dad had been attending the local
drinking establishment known as Kellys Dunkirk for quite some
time. This pub is one of the few unique old Irish pubs remaining
in Ireland today. Up until about 20 years ago, there was no such
thing as draught beer to be had in Kelly’s at all. Bottles of beer
or hard whiskey were all that was available. Joe (the proprietor)
then decided that he would introduce Guinness and Smithwicks on
tap. Anyways, my Dad is a regular in Kelly’s, as I already said.
began to visit the place quite often after he told me about it and
began to immerse myself in its unique atmosphere. My friend and I
had decided that this pub would be ideal for our project. I put it
to my Dad, and he sanctioned it to a certain extent. However, the
big question was would the boss man (Joe) agree? Thankfully he did
and the session was born. That all began about 5 years ago.
Unfortunately, this didn't last as the session just got too big
for poor ould Joe's establishment - and he kicked us out -
“Where did the pub get its name “Kelly’s Dunkirk”?”, I hear you
ask. Well, 'heh' 'heh', that’s a good one! !
Seemingly in the 1940’s, the drinking laws in Ireland were a
little stricter than they are at the present day. The allied
landings during the 2nd World War were also in full swing!!!!
Well, right behind Kelly’s runs a quaint little river known as the
Burrin. Back then, there was a sandy beach right at the edge of
the river and at the back of Kelly’s Pub. When the local coppers
raided the place after closing time, that’s how the guilty parties
still on the premises made their escape – by hopping over the back
wall and legging along the beach to freedom.
It fondly became known as “hitting the
beaches of Dunkirk” to escape the law and the name “Kelly’s
Dunkirk” has stuck ever since. That’s the story anyway and its not
100% definite if its 100% true but sure – it’s a good story, and,
I suppose, as good a truth as any!!!!
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