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Wednesday 27 September 2023 Dublin: 10°C
# i saw nirvana there
Go clubbing in Sir Henry's in Cork? They want your memorabilia
The legendary club was also a venue that hosted gigs by the likes of Sonic Youth and Nirvana.

MrRmc01 / YouTube

IF YOU WENT clubbing in the legendary Sir Henry’s nightclub in Cork back in the day, you’re sure to have memories of the many rooms, the DJs, and the people that you met there.

Hell, you might have been one of the lucky few who saw the likes of Nirvana, John Martyn, Sonic Youth or the Pogues grace its stage.

The club closed over a decade ago, in 2003, having been opened in 1978. Now there’s a call for memorabilia from those who danced, drank and kissed at the venue.

An exhibition and archive

This summer, UCC library will be holding an exhibition documenting the history of the venue, as well as building up a permanent archive of items connected to the now-demolished building.

There are some key contributors from the Henry’s scene involved, including DJ Stevie G, who still DJs and is a presenter on Red FM. He has donated a huge amount of items to the exhibition.

One of those involved in the project is Eileen Hogan, a PhD researcher in UCC.

We’ve discovered that loads of people have been creating their own personal archives, which is really nice – so they have loads of stuff in their old bedrooms and attics.

One thing they would really love to get their hands on is a poster for a Ned’s Atomic Dustbin gig – with the bandname misspelled to ‘Ned’s Automatic Dustbin’.

They do have the original poster from the legendary Sonic Youth and Nirvana gig, as well as newspaper articles, fanzines (some donated by Morty from Sultans of Ping), flyers and more.

The Lucey family – Jerry Lucey established the venue in 1978 – have also sent in some items.

If there is precious material, you can donate it for the exhibition alone, but if you have items you’d like to see become part of the permanent archive, you can do that too.

Why was Sir Henry’s so beloved in Cork – and beyond?

“The fact it was so long running means it captured people from a whole host of ages,” said Hogan. “From the late 1970s, it was a key music venue that was a really important  performance space for local bands. At the same time, it balanced that with attracting international bands as well.”

Hogan said that it’s not only the gig-goers and clubbers who loved Sir Henry’s: “We have some of the comments from newspaper articles and weblinks that [where the bands say they] found the atmosphere there so special that for them it was their best gig ever.”

A member of the band Pavement even contacted them to say he thought it was their best gig. “What Stevie G would often say about it is it opened up people’s musical tastes in that it was multi purpose venue,” said Hogan of Henry’s.

Why Henry’s leaves a legacy

Club nights like Sweat became internationally renowned, and the venue was known for attracting fans of all musical genres.

It’s not just the nostalgia buzz that this exhibition taps into – it’s the legacy of the now-gone club.

“Henry’s brought everybody together – I know it was cliched but it was true also,” said Hogan, who describes the club as being “important in shaping music culture in cork”.

Cork “tends to be more open, experimental – it’s not so marked by genre boundaries”.

To jog your memory a bit, here’s a video from the Halloween Freakscene event at Sir Henry’s in the early 2000s…

UCC983FM / YouTube

The exhibition will open on 9 July and run until 27 September. There will be a few fringe events also taking place, like seminars and talks.

Have items you’d like to donate? Here’s more info on how to send it on. The Facebook page for the event is here.

Read: Here’s what Kurt Cobain thought about visiting Cork>

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