GALLERY: Ballykeeffe Amphitheatre hits right note

Incongruity of striking stage, nestled at the bottom of an abandoned quarry, worthy of a full house

Darren Hassett

Reporter:

Darren Hassett

Email:

darren.hassett@kilkennypeople.ie

It was as though the carved out hollow of Ballykeeffe Amphitheatre, with every blast of rock over decades, was in preparation for Paul Brady on a balmy July evening.

The incongruity of such a striking stage, nestled at the bottom of an abandoned quarry outside Kilkenny City, was worthy of a full house last Saturday night as it hosted an icon of Irish music.

Songs like "Follow On", "The Island" and "The World is What you Make It" reverberated around the Kilkenny countryside.

Ballykeeffe suited a musician whose songs seemed to mean so much more to people than most melodies and both he and the setting married well together.

Each song of Paul’s can take you to places in your memories you heretofore hadn’t even known existed, upsetting memories; happy memories; ones that remind you of a certain time in your live; a house you lived in or a love lost.

With the blend of a piano and an acoustic set, it felt like the amphitheatre was breathing on its own as the crowd’s energy rose and fell with each varied number on Paul’s setlist. It’s difficult to do the place justice with words.

The venue is a credit to the volunteers of Kilmanagh, Ballycallan, and Killaloe Enterprise - who run the venue - in the tone they have established.

It is a magical place in its simplicity as hundreds of people from near and afar glared at the stage, with the imposing carved out rock face looming large in the background.

The legendary crooner summed it up himself when he simply smiled after a few songs into his performance and said to the crowd, “What a place...”

Yes it is, Paul. Yes it is.

There are plenty more performances on throughout the summer, for any more information go to: ballykeeffeamphitheatre.com