Cork's Coughlan's bar is named Irish music venue of the year

Cork's Coughlan's bar is named Irish music venue of the year
Coughlan's bar on Douglas Street in Cork City

Coughlan’s bar and music venue has been awarded Irish Music Venue of the Year at IMRO’s national music venue awards.

The intimate 120-capacity venue, located on Douglas Street in Cork, picked up the annual award for the second time for its contribution to the Irish music scene in 2019.

The award, voted for by IMRO (Irish Music Rights Organisation) members, is now in its twelfth year and recognises the contribution that Irish venues make to fostering a live music culture in Ireland.

Edel Curtin, promoter and booker at Coughlan’s, said the award, which is the second time the small venue has taken the national award since she took the reins in 2012, was important recognition for smaller venues and proved that the music business was sometimes driven by passion rather than by profit.

“As a musician myself, this award reminds me that caring about music and musicians comes first,” Ms Coughlan, a native of Mitchelstown, Co Cork, said.

“The other thing that is vitally important and which doesn’t get enough recognition when it comes to venues is the role of the bar staff. People still want to come out to hear music but they want an experience and having a friendly team is so important to that.”

At IMRO’s award ceremony in Dublin on Tuesday evening, other wins included Mike the Pies of Listowel, Co Kerry, for Munster Venue of the Year.

The 100-capacity venue boasts high-quality returning acts including rising post-punk Dublin band Fontaines DC, who chose to end their 2019 tour with an intimate gig in Mike the Pies last December.

Cork’s Sounds From a Safe Harbour Festival won Small Irish Festival of the Year: 2019 saw the biannual event welcome a wide range of international acts to the September festival. Also shortlisted in the category were Clonakilty Guitar Festival and It Takes A Village music festival.

Cork woman Angela Dorgan, director of First Music Contact. was awarded the IMRO Outstanding Contribution to Live Music accolade.

Festival of the Year went to Electric Picnic, Ireland’s largest music festival, which is held in Stradbally, Co Laois each September.

Other regional awards went to Galway city’s Róisín Dubh bar for Connacht Venue of the Year, Kavanagh’s Bar and Venue in Portlaoise for Leinster Venue of the Year, Iontas Theatre in Castleblayney for Ulster Venue of the Year and Dublin’s Vicar Street.

Musical entertainment at the IMRO awards ceremony came from Soda Blonde, ELM and emerging Cork-based, Waterford-born hip hop artist and drummer Alex Gough.

All the winners at IMRO’s Music Venue of the Year 2019 awards

Outstanding Contribution to Irish Music: Angela Dorgan, CEO of First Music Contact, the Arts Council funded information and advice resource for Irish musicians

Tech Crew of the Year: Donegal’s Sea Sessions music festival

Regional winners

Dublin Venue of the Year: Vicar Street

Leinster Venue of the Year: Kavanagh’s Bar and Venue in Portlaoise

Connacht Venue of the Year: The Róisín Dubh in Galway city

Ulster Venue of the Year: Iontas Theatre in Castleblayney, Co Monaghan

Festivals

Small Irish Festival of the Year: Cork’s Sounds From A Safe Harbour Festival

Irish Festival of the Year: Electric Picnic

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