Liverpool bar goes it alone with Irish ‘fringe’


Manager Kevin McArthur with Nerys Auger (a player with Hope Uni GAA Ladies team

By Martin Mannering

ONE of the most popular venues among the Liverpool Irish Community is to run its own ‘fringe’ event, to run alongside the Liverpool Irish Festival from October 10-20.

‘Kelly’s Dispensary’, a pub and music venue on Smithdown Road in Wavertree which has long been a favourite among the Irish students living there, has decided to put on its own ‘fringe’ festival following several failed attempts to be included in the main festival programme.

Bar manager Kevin McArthur told the Irish World: “We have always supported the Liverpool Irish festival in whatever way we could, be it with advertising or promoting various events.

“Kelly’s is very much a multi-cultural venue, but a large part of our customer base comes from the Irish community that resides in the area. Many young Irish musicians have cut their teeth here while studying at the city’s universities.

“In recent years, we had approached the festival organisers on a number of occasions to be included in the programme, but have never received any response. Our Irish patrons feel that they are excluded from the festival – and it is with this in mind that we have decided to run our own events”

Jake Roney, Director of the Liverpool Irish Festival, responded: “The problem we have is finding a balance between high-profile events and local based community events fitted into a ten-day programme” but refuted suggestions that Kelly’s had been ‘snubbed’ in any way.

Kelly’s Dispensary is a primary sponsor of the Wolfe Tones Ladies and men’s GAA teams and the two Gaelic football teams attached to Liverpool’s Hope University.

Kelly’s Fringe will include a range of events including traditional and folk sessions, an Irish pub quiz and 7 a side Gaelic football tournament.

October’s full line-up of events:

Saturday 12     Opening night featuring Liverpool Irish band ‘Kicked out of the Nest’

Sunday 13        Early evening trad session

Monday 14      Big Fat Irish Pub Quiz, hosted by Donegal Sophie

Thursday 17    Open mic and folk session

Saturday 19    7 a-side Gaelic football tournament Wavertree Park

Saturday 19    Closing Party with Liverpool/Derry quartet Clan Boom Steam

Further details can be found by visiting ‘Kellys Smithdown’ on Facebook.


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