Ireland's smallest-oldest pub townhouse, café & coffee house, place 4 sung-song & music, stories-told, history of Kk & Irl, art, world culture, discussion The Hole In The Wall is a new music venue situated in the heart of Kilkenny City. It is housed in the oldest surviving townhouse in Ireland - the 1582 Archer Inner House, 17 High St.
The Elizabethan building with its tavern, snug and Archer room has been fully restored over the last 10 years and is now open to visitors for the first time in hundreds of years.
Hole In The Wall is available for hire for private parties, functions, conferences and all occasions. The Archer room situated upstairs is the perfect venue for intimate music gigs and lavish banquets!
Music: Heathers, Simon Fagan, Little Black Wren, Juliet Turner, Mick Hanly, Aisling De Cleir, Liam O' Maonlai, John Spillane, Jamie Lawson, Clive Barnes, Ronan O' Snodaigh, Tom Kirwan, JP Ryan, Donal Dineen, Rhob Cunningham, Katie Kim and many more have played in the upstairs Archer Room.
For venue bookings www.holeinthewall.ie
It's been interesting mulling over the happenings at Hole in the Wall's Arts Fest Fest. The highs and the lows. There weren't many of the latter. 10 day festival cost about €1000 between the cost of brochures and modest payments to musical performers. Compared to other festivals that must be very modest? There were many great moments that occurred unpredictably. Personally, it was some achievement to mount 'Stopped Off the Train'. To one audience member! A care expert from Munich. He was like a cigaire. Sitting there impassively. But he did not leave and observed at the end that he was disappointed that others hadn't shown up. He had no idea of how the Irish have influenced so much of the world - musically, in particular. The exercise has crystallised how 'Stopped...' can be developed. Whilst ChAznavour started tired, it ended with a blast after 3 French visitors sang using the charted lyrics and Michael Johnson from Counting Sheep sang in French and played trumpet. Jacques Brel was forgotten about! Next time. The imagery that showed Aleppo during the Turkish attack on the Armenians was a mirror image of more recent history. Repeating itself overtly. The opening has potential for an audience immersive episode. Chubby Brennan stole the show in 'So Deep Within the Shadows of the Mine'. He was dressed fully as a bishop and had his lines fully learned off. It was interesting to revisit and hear Seamus tell the story via narrative and poetry. And a joy to have Colm Egan and Breege Phelan singing and playing guitar once again. That show needs full work up and videoing by RTE or the like. It is educational, questioning and accurate. Brian Maloney's performance with violinist Bríd Cannon of his song 'Dullaghan' was an eye opener. It would suit a full orchestration. Hans Zimmer should get on to Brian! The fact that it was a raw, totally unrehearsed jamm was the astonishing thing as the melodies blossomed on the violin. LemonCello's 'World's End Bar' captivated each audience who heard it. And it's one of those songs that people never tire of. The acoustics of the Archer Room particularly make it for us - since the cello resonates so beautifully. And Laura's vocals too. The lectures by John Comerford, Anne-Karoline Distel and Michael Somers were absorbing. And a credit to the concept of a faculty of the Archer College Summer School. We may well yet invite students of the University of California, Berkeley (or such) to develop an Oxford-style summer school course in Kilkenny - utilising the Archer House, Rothe House, the Library of St Canice's Cathedral, the Parade Tower, St Kieran's College and other educational facilities that will be free during the summer. Island of Saints and Scholars - in venues used for our original Royal College of Physicians of Ireland lecture and case demonstration series for the Irish Membership exam (1999 - 2008). Tom Campbell flew the flag for art and theatre at Hole in the Wall and, as expected, was very successful. He plans a residency. Where he will develop other themes. (Having helped move out his Clay Head show clay, the weight of it is backbreaking. And he moulds it on his head. Heavier than a full bag of cement. How does he do it? And as everyone asks, breathe?). Michael Hanrahan was a big addition to the programme and gave a suitable lecture for Summer School too. Our (un)Diplomatic Morning Coffee and 'Afternoon T' showed how political science and the politics of our current time can be readily honed into a Summer School format. The focus on cultural aspects of France and Germany - and the Irish language led to material for unique coursework. We had super jazz from Berklee College students of jazz via Adam Nolan. And the Blues via Don Baker and Rob Strong. Like a feature at the Trinity or an Oxford Summer Ball. Don Mescall bright poetry via his lyrics. Colleague, Mr Paul Balfe (surgeon) and fellow poets 'painted pictures' with words for us at a Poetry Reading in the library of St Luke's Hospital. The best little reading I've ever experienced. It could be a feature of a literature module at Summer School 18? And that was just the Hole in the Wall. Considering how much arts and artistic brilliance was on display from locals at the AKA (Alternative Kilkenny Arts) festival, ye faire citee of Kilkenny can carve a niche out for itself in respect of servicing global education. A lack of the 1000 year vision needed to make St Francis Abbey the heart of a collegiate university city means that this generation won't see the type of college 'Franks' that could have emerged on the brewery site. But the foundations can be built via Summer School etc. And in time, the 1686 Royal College and the 1687 Royal College of Physicians might yet evolve once more. It's all there to be done. The conceptual brochure would cost about €350. And the stamps to send out the invitations to 2,500 universities. After that it's the fun of volunteering to make things happen. As per Hole in the Wall's Arts Fest Fest!
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Great coffee and the owners are quite friendly and enjoyable. Their mom makes their scones. Other pastries are great too. Don't miss it since it looks like it is down an alley.
Nice little coffee spot, 400 year old building - no Ikea furniture or Starbucks
On the sign for Hole in the Wall it says 'Be Prepared To Be Surprised'! Last night was a case in point. Out of nowhere the story of Cajuns was told - to a real Cajun from Lafitte, Louisiana. And she was impressed that we knew so much. We learned from her. And, I expect she learned a bit about her culture from us? It was in effect a summer school module at 'Archer College, a constituent college of University of Kilkenny'. It amazed that only 3000 Acadians settled 2 hours west of New Orleans at the time of the Evangeline in 1755. Most were expelled back to France as their area was transformed into modern day Nova Scotia. We told about our insight into how Cajun became Zydeco because of the difficulty that Creoles had in saying haricots in French - as in the song 'Les Haricots Sont Pas Salés'. About Dennis McGee. And showed our washboard and accordion that led to a photo. She is about to tell all Cajuns about visiting Hole in the Wall. Whilst telling the stories, the Waterboys was heard. ? in Ryans. Their tune has a very Cajun feel. She should bring a Waterboys album home. Plans for a Summer Fest programme are being laid. A DeutscheTagge - GermanDay is in consideration. It is to feature aspects of Deutsche Woche (week) over a single day - readings from Goethe etc. A day dedicated to French music - Un Jour - 'La Mer' to be learned. A day to Irish poets - Yeats and Heaney (Heaney's Circle Line was gifted to a professor in Oxford today - he who put Yeats's poems to Prog Rock tunes in decades past). Mining. And maybe a classical evening - A recital on a virginal would be cool. Such an instrument might fit up the stairs? Already, Tom Campbell, Paddy McGlynn, and a young female jazz singer (Aug 10th) are lined up. And Lemon Cello and the Common Grounds Collective. Japanese Obon? And a ZingSpiel 'Stopped Off The Train' - re the expelled and emigrated Irish? Maybe an art exhibition? 'Brick Stepped Row'? - based on the song. Let's roll on! Things being tidied up!
Photos from Hole In The Wall Kilkenny's post
Back to the grind. After a week in the clouds. Of cardiac research and academia. Jobs to be done. A change from hallowed library halls to physical challenges. Music is in focus at present at Hole in the Wall. Thor Zellor of Alpha Sounds has just upgraded the bass bins using Italian kit. Sound is amazing. An analog mixing system is proposed so as to accommodate Prog Rock experts. John Treacy is in tomorrow and will do a gig from 9.30 pm-ish. Made Behind the Bar are chipping away at a regular Wed night slot. (We'll plug them into the sound system next). A number of artists are lining up for the Kilkenny Arts Festival week. Don Mescall will start, and end his Irish tour (Aug 26 and Sept 3rd) at Hole in the Wall. Interest in revisiting the Autumn Fest 'W.B. Yeats: A terrible beauty is born' was ignited last week on meeting Oxford's Prof Stefan Neubauer. He was a Prog Rock musician in times past and put the poems of Yeats to music. Maybe he'd come perform? We could play his band's music - Sirius - at least? A lot of interest was generated at the meeting last week amongst magnetic resonance experts re visits to Hole in the Wall. They'll feel rightly at home. It must be the only pub on the planet that features cardiac and blood spectra on the wall!
Photos from Hole In The Wall Kilkenny's post
Paying off Hole in the Wall to keep it open is quite the challenge. Costs are getting punishing. Water - thousands now. Rates, same. Electricity. Insurance. Maintenance, etc, etc. Too small. No sign (not allowed). No advertising (cachinge). No shows (busy). And random torpedoes fired by the disaffected on Facebook. And so Saturdays have become heavy work days. To shift tons from a site in Limerick so as to sell it. Quite the physical challenge. Wrestling elasticated trees, Johnny Weismueller-type interwoven 'ropes', heavy weights, ankle twisting ground (stones from walls of Limerick), the clever, 'Would You Be a Travelling Man?' types, dogs, etc, etc. And probable rats? Though none seen!! And yet there is satisfaction to be had as the clearance begins to succeed. And the site displays its size. And hints at its potential for some entrepreneurial type who is young. Each Saturday, after the exhausting work, Hole in the Wall beckons. And it's magic. Which Anne Distel and Conor King are tapping royally. As they fashion a Session. And as the image of a certain 'sleeve' says 'heavy metal' and a band could be built. That would rock the rock in Ballykeefe. And across the planet! No shortage of ambition! A song 'Ghosts of Rockz Past' is simmering in the subconscious. Where the bass will deliver the hook. And Gabby's stones will hammer. Time to nail the lecture for Oxford. Some interesting slides made during the week. As a new index to describe troubled and enlarging hearts surfaces.
Anne and Conor did another Rambling House last night. Piece of magic. As they left a certain touch of genius rambled in. Too late to get her to sing. But afterwards we had deep discussion in the tavern about songwriting, the Irish music industry, her imminent performance at Glastonbury etc. And, of course, 'Black Dahlia'. None other than Cavan's Áine Cahill was 'in da house!'
That TripAdviser post must have been re last Wed or Fri? A Session is developing on Wed nights thanks to Anne. And Conor. Anything could happen now. Aznavour as heavy metal? Not impossible. As the idea of a Diamond Head / Saxon / X Brothers reunion tour surfaces. Running away w the circus again!! And Thor's Metropolis opening? Rockz On
Someone from Tipperary can't handle the dust that falls from our aged 1582 structure. And it's ageing contents. But such is the nature of an antique. One that lives. Just about. Having to pay its way. Others get the magic. Or make the magic. And the nights of this week have had that. 'It's a Long Way to Tipperary' - Say no more
Great to see Liam back running the re-opened Tynans! "Happy Days" as he's won't to say. Trouble is that he'll get so many likes on Facebook he'll catch up with Hole in the Wall. Let's measure it!