14 June 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network
How Ireland Rocked The 70s debuts on RTÉ One next Tuesday, December 28th at 6:30pm
22 Dec 2021 : News Desk
Boomtown Rats
In 1970, Richmond Park in Inchicore, Dublin, hosted Ireland’s first ever outdoor rock music festival.

An audience of 1,500 paid to see a one-night bill headlined by Mungo Jerry and also featuring a handful of emerging Irish “beat groups”, a nascent Thin Lizzy among them. Run by a group of enthusiastic amateurs, the event was a commercial disaster.

But by the end of the decade, following examples set in the U.S. and in Britain, a handful of other rock music festivals had taken place across Ireland, most notably at Dalymount Park in Dublin, Macroom in Cork, Lisdoonvarna in Clare, Leixlip in Kildare and Carnsore Point in Wexford.

How Ireland Rocked The 70s looks at the evolution of the festival circuit in Ireland during the 1970s, a decade in which rock music – national and international – began to take real root here. Against a backdrop of political instability, the greater penetration of popular culture into Ireland saw, by the end of the 1970s, the development of a nascent national scene and the emergence of a golden generation of local bands primed for export.

Featuring rare archive footage and stills, the documentary includes exclusive interviews with festival favourites, rockers and rebels, moonlight dancers and chancers, key figures who created, documented, and promoted the 70s sounds of Ireland.

Among those who recall those seminal days are Eric Bell (Thin Lizzy), Barry Devlin (Horslips), Christy Moore, Moya Brennan, Mungo Jerry, Donal Lunny. Donal Gallagher (Rory’s brother), Mike Hanrahan (Stockton’s Wing), Pat Egan, and Fachtna O Ceallaigh (Manager of The Boomtown Rats).

“The 70s was an amazing period in Ireland,” producer/director Brian Reddin told IFTN. “There was recession and emigration and the troubles up North, but at the same time amazing rock and roll was emerging from Ireland.”

“It was the birth of Thin Lizzy and Horslips, the rise of Rory Gallagher, the emergence of punk and the early days of U2. Ireland was taking its place on the musical world stage and the festivals that grew up around it were amazing things to explore,” Reddin continued. “Rory at the Macroom Mountain Dew Festival, Lizzy at Dalymount Park, Trad and rock at Lisdoonvarna, anti-nuclear protests at Carnsore Point - there was so much to explore in this documentary and we managed to squeeze it all in with some brilliant archive and excellent interviewees.”

“What other doc would give you an opportunity to hang out with members of Thin Lizzy, Horslips and Mungo Jerry,” Reddin concluded, “That’s the makings of a great night out right there!

How Ireland Rocked The 70s was produced and directed by Brian Reddin. Rossa Ó Sioradáin also produced with Colm O’Callaghan as Executive Producer for RTÉ. DOPs were Gerry MacArthur, Ronan Fox, Martin Birney and Ken O’Mahony. Sound was by Alan Poole and Sam Horgan. Dave Dillon was the editor in Outer Limits and finished by Gorilla Post.

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