Boothouse, Cork

Related: Sleepy Hollow

Vocals: Joe O'Callaghan
Lead Guitar:
Declan Pender
Kieran McCarthy
Drums: Dan Sheehan

BOOTHOUSE was formed in the Summer of 1971. It ceased in February 1973 with my having to finish my B.C.L. degree and I left Cork to spend a year with the Law Society en route to qualifying as a solicitor. Dan left around Christmas of 71, my recollection is that he went to study in London. Peter Brennan joined us on bass. We became extremely popular in the Munster and primarily, Cork area. Even though we were young, the four of us were quite experienced having been in other well-known Cork bands at that time. I had been with The Direction since I was 16 (1968). That band was extremely busy, playing rock, pop and blues covers and gigging three nights every week-end, from tennis hops, beat clubs to supporting showbands (The Freshmen, The Dixies, Larry Cunningham, etc.) and groups like The Move, Skid Row etc in ballrooms like The Arcadia, The Majestic, The Orchid etc.

We were primarily a rock and blues band. Mainly we covered numbers by The Stones, Spirit, Ry Cooder, Eric Clapton, John Mayall and various blues bands. We had a faithful following in Cork and in the surrounding towns. Fourthly, Dec Pender went on to play with Sleepy Hollow and became a doctor. Peter Brennan played for years with the Lee Valley String Band while becoming a bank manager. Joe O'Callaghan became self-employed and for years has been synonymous with Hot Guitars. I had always played and continue to play jazz, featuring every year since the Cork Jazz Festival was founded. I've played with most well known exponents of that idiom including Louis Stewart, Jim Doherty, Tommy Halferty, Michael and Richie Buckley (even their father Dick and their cousin, Hugh) and Len McCarthy etc. I feature on YouTube with Stephen O'Keeffe.

Finally, Boothouse was a great band and never got the national recognition it deserved. Peter Brennan was one of the best bass players in any idiom that I ever played with. Joe should be a national treasure and Pender was so good that he was nicknamed Slowhand by young guitar enthusiasts in Cork at the time, for obvious reasons. It was well respected by local as well as visiting musicians.

Pub question: What did Boothouse have in common with the Royal Showband? One Sunday morning in January 1975 while a week or so away from my final solicitors' exams, I got a call from P. J. Duffy, a former showband (see Michael O'Callaghan) stalwart with whom I had been playing cabaret gigs, to say that Peter Prendergast, manager of The Arcadia had had a call from the Royal's management saying that their drummer, Charlie Matthews was ill and they needed a drummer for a gig in Bantry. Hence I had a gig quite removed from the Boothouse stuff!

Kieran McCarthy 2012

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