20 – 29 May


Spirits of the Liberties

Monday, 21 May
Pearse Lyons Distillery

Join songwriter Barry Kinane for a musical performance in St James Church (now Pearse Lyons Distillery) of ballads relating to Dublin and its history, with particular focus on the local Liberties area. Each song tells a story, like Peg Plunkett; the 18th century high society madam in 'The Ballad of Peg Plunkett', famous street characters like Bang Bang in "The day Bang Bang lost his gun", the famous street poet Zozimus in "The blind bard of the Liberties", and relatively unknown tales of Dublin in "The 'sack em up' sexton of St. James" and many more fascinating stories told in song and poetry.

The event will also include a guided tour of St. James Cemetery and the Pearse Lyons Distillery with Barry, who works there as a storyteller. This will be a unique experience with music bringing the stories of Dublin to life.

Barry Kinane is a songwriter and composer of music from Co. Wicklow. His music has been played on BBC, RTE and their equivalent stations in Sweden, Germany and Norway as well as rock shows all over the world. While in hard rock band Glyder he toured all over Europe and opened for international acts like Metallica, Slash, Thin Lizzy and many more. Barry has been a finalist in many writing competitions and in 2014 won the prestigious Sean McCarthy Ballad writing competition in Listowel, Co. Kerry. More recently, he has focused on writing ballads and his last album "The Hills above the Valley" was acclaimed in Irish music magazine. His forthcoming album titled "The Old Grey Cobblestone" is due for release this summer and its theme is based around Dublin history, folklore and stories.

“Kinane has a rare gift of taking the stories of life and relatively recent history to weave magical musical tales that are like short stories of the highest quality. I could rave about this album for days....” Nicky Rossiter

Pearse Lyons Distillery is truly history in the remaking. St. James’ Church dates back to the 12th century. The present church was constructed in 1859–1860 in a Gothic design with a cross shape, a tower and a spire at the southwest corner. In 1948, the top 30 feet of the church spire was removed due to structural problems. The church was then closed for worship following a decline in the number of parishioners in 1963. It underwent various transformations, including becoming a lighting store and a food warehouse, until finally being renovated as you see it today. This is a new beginning for St. James’ Church as a boutique, working distillery that will welcome visitors to discover its vibrant and colourful history.