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Crowd awaiting  U2's performance at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 1987.
Crowd awaiting  U2's performance at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 1987.
SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

A look back at some of the music icons which have played in Cork over the years

WITH the uncertainties of Covid-19 putting a question mark over scheduled events in the next few months, Cork may not see the usual summer gigs taking place this year. 

Bands, singers and comedy acts set to take to the stage of various venues across the city this summer may not be able to do so if the threat of Covid-19 has not abated by then. 

Though it is a disappointing thought, Cork has enjoyed many incredible performances from local, national and international stars – and it will do again in the future. 

Trawling through the archives reveals a plethora of incredible images of bands and singers who performed in Cork in the 80s and 90s. 

35 years ago last Monday, the late country music icon, Johnny Cash, was in Cork for the Carling Country Music Festival. 

Johnny Cash at Neptune Stadium, November 1988.
Johnny Cash at Neptune Stadium, November 1988.

Thousands of fans descended into the city to watch bands from all over the country perform in various pubs and hotels. 

The festival started out on a shoestring budget, but by 1985 could attract top stars, such as Johnny Cash. 

In Cork that year he presented brewery boss, Tony Halpin, with honorary Nashville citizenship.

Mr Cash performed five shows which were understood to have cost in the region of £100,000.

At a press conference ahead of his performances, Mr Cash was tight-lipped about what he was earning for the five concerts. 

"I generally don’t talk about money, because it’s not what I’m all about," he told the media, before adding, "I’ve been doing it thirty years. I’ve never had anybody ask for their money back."

Indeed the 1980s saw world-renowned musicians taking to the stage of various venues in Cork.

In 1980, U2 had played Downtown Kampus at the Arcadia ballroom before returning later that decade to play Páirc Uí Chaoimh in 1987. 

U2 performing at Downtown Kampus in Cork in 1980. Picture: David Corio
U2 performing at Downtown Kampus in Cork in 1980. Picture: David Corio

On August 8, the band arrived into Cork Airport where a deluge of fans had turned out to greet them prior to the U2 Joshua Tree Tour concert in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' had just gone to number one in the US and 50,000 fans showed up to hear U2 and support acts UB40, The Dubliners and The Subterraneans perform. 

In July 1988, Michael Jackson performed two shows in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

Michael Jackson concert Cork 1988.
Michael Jackson concert Cork 1988.

Fans turned up en masse, including Minister for Labour at the time, Bertie Ahern, with his then wife Miriam and their daughters Georgina and Cecilia who were nine and seven respectively.

'Thriller' was noted to be the high point of the show, when Jackson suddenly disappeared in a puff of smoke.

Two years later, 60,000 people filed down The Marina to watch Prince perform. 

Later that decade, acts like Oasis, the little-known trio at the time, Nirvana, played Sir Henrys supporting Sonic Youth and U2 made their return to Páirc Uí Chaoimh in 1993. 

 Liam Gallagher of Oasis salutes to the crowd on his arrival at Cork Airport. Picture: Dan Linehan

Liam Gallagher of Oasis salutes to the crowd on his arrival at Cork Airport. Picture: Dan Linehan