I have been in the Iveagh Gardens in Dublin four times. The first time was to see Pixies in concert in mid July 2016, at the start of my two week summer break from work. It was wildly exciting to finally see them live. The next time I was in the Gardens was in mid July 2017 to see Fleet Foxes live, as I (coincidentally) began my fortnight’s summer holiday. Last year I went to the Iveagh Gardens on July 11th to see Eels perform as I went on twelve day holiday.
Tonight I went to see Villagers in the gardens. I travel to Canada for my summer holiday on Monday.
The Iveagh Gardens means music and holidays.
And Villagers mean magic.
Fronted by Conor O’Brien from Dun Laoghaire, I first heard of them several years ago while living in Amsterdam, when my friend Angela suggested we go see them in Paradiso. I had never heard of them, but agreed thanks to my love of a good gig. They were incredible – soulful, heartfelt, indie-pop. And Conor is gay. I stand with my people. I fell in love with Villagers. Beautiful music by talented people.
Some years later (in early 2015) they returned to Amsterdam and played a gig in a deconsecrated church. A wondrous show, where for first time I heard ‘Hot scary summer’. This was in the weeks before the marriage equality referendum in Ireland when the gay community was put up to public vote in Ireland. It was a terrifying time and ‘Hot scary summer’ emblazoned itself on my consciousness.
In early 2016, I travelled to Limerick (from Dublin- where I had moved after 15 years in the Netherlands) to see Villagers in Dolans’ Warehouse on the Dock Road. I watched them live, alone, where I cried buckets at my foolishness at abandoning magical Amsterdam, for my home country, where I felt completely alone. ‘Wichita Lineman’ ripped me to pieces.
Tonight’s show was like being at home.
Villagers in the Iveagh Gardens is about as ideal a combination as is possible to find. Great music, by talented musicians, in beautiful surroundings, at the start of my two week summer holiday.
Long live Villagers.