From the Archive: Siamsa at Páirc Uí Chaoimh July 1984

The GAA had a hot line into heaven yesterday. The sun never stopped shining, the heat was splendid and Siamsa at Páirc Uí Chaoimh was the best ever. 

It was the biggest crowd so far as the Comhaltas Irish Special with Anne Mulqueen, Bobby Gardiner and Eoin Ó Cionnaigh took the stage.

They set the scene for a fantastic Siamsa. Crowds were pouring in, right up until 4.00pm and the atmosphere was overpowering.

Outside there were would-be touts looking for tickets. Hundreds were lying in the sun burning darker their bits of spare skin, as loads of canned beer spurted skywards, spraying all and sundry.

The atmosphere was electric; people were pouring in long after the official start, wearing shorts, bras and the barest of tops. Nothing seemed to matter, everything was acceptable at Siamsa Cois Laoi.

This year, the atmosphere was different, mainly because of compere Joe Lynch. He calmed the crowd, told them “Easy does it there,” as the enthusiastic spurted beer and jumped on one another’s shoulders. There were bigger crowds than I’ve ever seen, yet the gardaí were ever present, along with the GAA officials.

Elevated on four platforms situated throughout the grounds, the gardaí watched the proceedings — but mind you, they too were having a ball. Crowds of girls festooned their “lookouts” and the gardaí helped by taking pictures for the girls, and keeping everyone happy. Such is the life of the gardaí.

There was a marvellously relaxed crowd, ready to enjoy every minute of the concert. Comhaltas really set the scene. They were by followed Christy Moore.

It wasn’t an ‘Irish’ atmosphere — the sun beat down, people tried to get into the shade and those in the grounds just stripped, right down to their bras and panties.

It was more a tropical scene, the crowd became more euphoric and the atmosphere was totally electric. Many had camped overnight in the grounds near Páirc Uí Chaoimh and there was a holiday feeling about yesterday’s proceedings.

We had Christy Moore and then Don McLean, followed by the Wolfe Tones and finally Leo Sayer, who was nothing short of mind boggling.

It was Joe Lynch the compere who changed the atmosphere of Siamsa this year, keeping it light-hearted, and full of gaiety and fun. It was the most successful Siamsa so far, and if the GAA are going to follow this line of thinking, then they are aimed at real success in the years to come.

Leo Sayer was the highlight – nothing but waving hands were visible in the vast crowds as he sang ‘Orchard Road’ and numerous others.

And, when a girl jumped up on the stand to join him with ‘You Make Me Feel Like Dancing’, Leo Sayer danced. It was that kind of day. Pubs and restaurants in Cork did a brisk business yesterday.

Of course, there were minor problems and late last night the city looked as if a bomb had hit it. But hopefully, today the litter will be cleared up and yesterday’s Siamsa will be just a happy memory.

The Lord Mayor of Cork, Ald Liam Burke, described yesterday’s Siamsa as a “happy event.” “It was one of the best day’s entertainment I have had. It was a pleasure to see so many young people enjoying themselves. There was not a hint of trouble.

“The Cork County Board and Oliver Barry deserve to be complimented for the manner in which the event was staged and run.”


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