Milk Market

Horslips at Limerick’s Milk Market

This was always going to be a night for the true Horslips fan.

Horslips Limerick Milk Market
© Dermot Lynch


As the band came on stage I found myself positioned beside three immaculate Levis jackets, bought many years ago and worn proudly tonight by Belfast men in their 50s. In this company my own Levis denim shirt felt like it was trying too hard.  One did focus on clothes once especially when there wasn’t much choice. The denim clothes that became campaign uniforms will always represent an age when the Irish rock fan operated on basic signifiers.

Hair, a good jacket, and a scarf with maybe just one badge could see you through a decade.  It was a solid enough look for an Irish lad before Punk encouraged him to make more of an effort. Variations of the denim uniform were occasionally allowed but the faded Levis Jacket held its own for decades.

Those men wore denim tonight as a mark of respect for the band as much as the times they must have seen them in. This  commitment and respect was evident everywhere. Even the two-handed waved scarf made sense. This was a particular community that Horslips had seen through to the present and they were glad to see each other.

Horslips Limerick Milk Market
© Dermot Lynch

Up until the late 90s, emigration was the government’s safety valve in syphoning off the national excess and Horslips featured in the soundtrack for those who remained.  The theme of exile was a real one for all as was the concept of leaving.  It was something that had to be dealt with eventually some day and the thought of that day stayed with you whether you left or not.  Whether you sought to cut ties or you chose to stay for good and finish with any notions of exile.

The thought of that day always remains, its part of how one once processed the notion of being Irish  and a lot of those emotions are in songs by Horslips.  In their career the band kept up a healthy tour schedule. They were known to deliver a challenging spectacle that served to banish the lingering rituals that hung to the dancehall circuit. Unlike the Show bands and pop cover bands who used the same venues Horslips early shows show were bereft of the often ‘unsaid- but- followed – anyway’ traditions of the dancehall, the rules and regulations that insidiously directed social behaviour within church-monitored halls.

Horslips Milk Market
© Dermot Lynch

An impatient young rock audience saw those archaic rituals as redundant clichés.  They were impatient for an alternative but had no power.  They could only tolerate the lack of a representative culture for themselves, but no-one was going to provide viable alternatives if you were 18 and chose to remain at home.

You accepted what was left to you.

Rural youth in particular had no real opportunity to create change. The totems of the halls and their show band priests would remain intact well after Horslips disbanded in 1980 because a Horslips gig in all its loud Celtic glory was a different sort of Irishness that challenged this despondency.  Every dancehall gig by them allowed youth to temporarily occupy the dance floor of their parents and cast off an amount of frustration in the process.  Within this and in an absence of a national platform for the voice of the youth, Horslips stood in solidarity with a generation who experienced a country not of their own making.  A generation that experienced one war in the north while in the south emigration waged another.

Once a year, between 1972 and 1980, in a hall in the likes of a town the size of Castlerea, you would be briefly immersed in the sound of an alternative Ireland when Horslips came.  You had a couple of LPs and knew that the songs they brought were their own, not cover versions representative of the pop charts or any sort of familiar radio fodder.

They mixed old Irish tales with new stories and drew from the remnants of a counterculture that encouraged beatnik-approved mixes of folk and rock and roll.  They respected folk as rebel music but loved rock and roll too much to slavishly replicate it.  In this they were committed to being Irish in a way that few others chose to be.

Jim Lockhart recounts a story about listening to a Dublin musician regaling him with the Americanisms of a song he had written.  Lockhart wondered what on earth any talk of pick- ups and diners had to do with living in seventies Ireland. Surely one should make contemporary Irish music using sounds from abroad without compromise?   Horslips songs soundtracked generations and often spoke of the crux of emigration and leftover rituals at home and abroad.  With jigs and boogie riffs in the same measure they were received as a dance band but had sad songs too with tales about characters who were away too long.   They even left themselves, playing for emigrants aboard and returning with songs culled from the experience for albums called ‘Aliens’ or ‘The Man who Built America.’

In the Milk market Barry Devlin dropped historical notes on the audience from the stage as the band’s set was designed for a  celebration not just on the legacy of music but of place.  Stories referenced early Limerick gigs in the Redemptorist Hall and Johnny Fean paid tribute to all those who had travelled to Limerick and as a gracious host saluted many of them during the night. His brother Ray replaced Eamonn Carr on the drums making it a touch more local as well.

In a nice touch for the occasion, the Cha Haran band played support, featuring two  members of Granny’s intentions, including Cha himself, an ex-roadie for Horslips.

Cha Haran Band Limerick Milk Market

There was never any new album to introduce.  Instead there was a careful set list designed to showcase and celebrate their timeline, as the reaction to the first notes of the King of the Fairies showed.

The early years, the Book of Invasions section and the emigration themed songs were all threaded together before they finished with the anthem ‘Trouble with a capital T’ and reclaimed Dearg Doom from Italia 90.   The songs said it all.  Altogether, the music provided a cachet of memories from 1972 to 1980.

It will never be separated from its time and that it how it should be.  In that evocation it contained the reminder of what the band has bequeathed to modern Irish History.  Horslips created music that said that the Irish Jig was not the property of academics and rock n roll is owned by all no matter where you live.

Beer Favourites Milk Market

Holiday Weekend in Limerick with Nile Rodgers and Beer Festivals

I’m getting old.  There was time when I’d be fine after an all-nighter on Friday, a beer festival on Saturday and a housewarming/birthday party on Sunday, but not any more.  I’m sicker than a flight to Lourdes.  Sicker than a priest in a playground.

Nile Rodgers started it.  It was all his fault with his infectious Chic disco-rhythms at the Milk Market, spreading good cheer, happiness and general light-hearted dancingness, though I can’t dance.  I can’t talk.

Limerick was bouncing with good-humoured people, good cheer and friendliness on Friday night, and Nile Rodgers brought a stupendously great bunch of musicians and singers with him to reward all the fans who turned out, but let me make a confession.  I never really got the disco idea.  Discos and night-clubs were never really my thing and I suppose, in truth, I was probably a bit of a musical snob too, back when Disco was big, but I have to tell you, this fellow educated my head and my feet and for that I thank him.


Yeah.  Astonishing.

Nile Rodgers and Chick at Limerick Milk Market

Nile Rodgers and Chick at Limerick Milk Market


Nile Rodgers and Chick at Limerick Milk Market


Nile Rodgers and Chick at Limerick Milk Market


Nile Rodgers and Chick at Limerick Milk Market


Nile Rodgers and Chick at Limerick Milk Market


Nile Rodgers and Chick at Limerick Milk Market


Nile Rodgers and Chick at Limerick Milk Market


Nile Rodgers Chic Limerick Milk Market

Ah Jesus, it was great and then everyone went back to Dolans for more fun, including Nile Rodgers, his bass player and his drummer.  I don’t know what time I got home and that’s a good thing these days, but unfortunately, another challenge lay in store for me the following day when Nancys held the annual beer festival, with brews of a strength up to 11%.

Good God.

Nancy Blakes Beer festival 002


Nancy Blakes Beer festival Kwak


Nancy Blakes Beer festival


Nancy Blakes Beer festival Delirium Tremens


Nancy Blakes Beer festival 003


Nancy Blakes Beer festival Duvel


Nancy Blakes Beer festival Straffe Hendrik

And here’s the landlord making a reasonable, subdued presentation to his patrons.

Sometimes, you just have to love Limerick.

Nancy Blakes Beer festival 005


Favourites Images Limerick Milk Market

Imelda May at Limerick Milk Market

Here’s a few shots from the Imelda May concert at Limerick’s Milk Market, a venue shaping up to be among the best in the country.

Imelda was outstanding, and full marks to Mick Dolan for putting on another hugely successful show.  This is the second gig under the big top, and the second time a band has left the stage grinning ear to ear.

Full marks also to Imelda’s security consultant for the best stand-up comedy of the year.   Keep talking into that sleeve, kid.


Coronas Play Limerick’s Milk Market

I must confess, I wasn’t sure how the Milk Market would work out as a music venue, but that’s because I know nothing about organising bands or putting on shows, unlike the proprietors of Dolans Warehouse.  They’ve been doing it since dinosaurs roamed the earth, and I’ve been attending their events since I was a small child.

So when Mick Dolan said he’d put on the Coronas in Limerick’s award-winning Milk Market, he already knew it would be a success.  That’s the really annoying thing about people who know what they’re doing.

They know what they”re doing.

I didn’t know much about the Coronas.  They’re one of those bands who somehow slipped under my radar, but as the night went on I realised I knew most of their stuff  in a subliminal kind of way.  There was nothing subliminal about the reaction of the capacity crowd, though, as they sang along with every word.  I think the guys in the band might have been a little bit surprised by enthusiasm and knowledge of their Limerick followers.  They were certainly impressed by the venue, as I was myself, and indeed, as everyone else was  — apart from Mick Dolan, who already knew it was good.

Here’s a few pictures.






Bock Pics in Sunday Times

The Sunday Times did an article on the redesign of the Limerick Milk Market, and used pics by old Bockalorum to illustrate it.

I’m quite pleased.


The Gap in the Market

We in Limerick love the new look Milk Market. It’s an added asset to the city and gives plenty of people somewhere great to shop for the best of food. The roof that was put on to the old building is too small however, so that great big buckets of rain pour down on stall-holders. It begs the question, why?

Who makes these decisions to do a half-job of something and how is that good enough? It would be great if the public could have a say on huge projects like this before they go ahead. I’m happy with the re-vamp, overall, and the wonky roof gives people something to talk about. It certainly keeps off more rain than it lets in.

What’s next, a tunnel without a road? An opera centre without any forward thinking about the abolition of one of the cities oldest and most individual shopping streets?

Favourites Limerick

Val’s Video Report on the New-Look Limerick Market


Read more on Bock about the Limerick Milk Market

Limerick Photography

Limerick Market Reopens

The Milk Market reopened today, and I must say I’m impressed.

Like a lot of people, I had my doubts about the project, but it works, and it works well.  The place seems  about ten times as big as it used to, now that all the vans and cars are gone, and I think a lot of the traders are feeling  optimistic about it.  There was  fair amount of doubt in their minds, but that’s understandable, and now that they’ve seen the place in operation, I think they’re going to like it.

The general public certainly grabbed it with both hands.  I’ve never seen a buzz like today’s.

Here’s a few pics for you.


And here’s our own Val

Limerick Photography

Limerick Milk Market Goes Under Cover

Today was the last day that the traders at the Milk Market in Limerick will be selling on the open streets outside since the market began its big refurb last year. It’s been a controversial move, putting a roof on it, a good looking one at that. The old cobbles are gone, as is the open air. It’s easy to grumble about this when I’m not a market trader and don’t have to stand there from dawn after probably not having had any sleep and travelling miles to sell my goods. Next Saturday, June 19th will be the first day of trading under the roof and the market will have new opening hours too. No doubt the day will attract all manner of murmuring and hopefully lots of the loyal customers and great traders that make the Milk Market the thriving hot spot it is.

To mark the change I went walkabout to snap a few producers, traders and head-the-balls.

Wildes Irish Chocolate


Pieter and his Goudas.


Tobias and his wonderful organic veggies, herbal creams and essential oils

Lovely crêpe makers


Teresa Storey and her Green Apron Preserves


Gorgeous Vi and her Sunflower Bakery Bread and cakes


Oliver and his fantastic smoked fish, hand made sausages and patés

Where to get your olives!



Bock adds: I was wandering around there too and took a few pics of my own.











More Limerick milk market posts

Val’s Kitchen

Limerick Photography

Limerick Saturday Morning at the Market

After the cold, dark January  where nothing moves and no-one smiles, you go to the Limerick market on a Saturday morning, and suddenly, without warning, life bursts out before your eyes, in all its colours, sounds and smells.

And you realise suddenly that things aren’t nearly as bleak as you thought they were.

It suddenly dawns on you that life is good.

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