In Focus: Boyles of Slane

Among all the publicity this week for the announcement of Bon Jovi at Slane 2013, there was a little gem of a pub called Boyles in the centre of the village which finally made it's way into the spotlight when Jon Bon Jovi himself sampled a pint of Guinness in the pub. In a successful week for Boyles I thought I'd finally write an 'In Focus' post that I've been meaning to do for a while.

I've worked with Boyles for the last three and a bit years bringing the best of new Irish talent to Slane to play songs to people who know and love their music. Boyles could be described as a village pub by day and a music venue by night. Like most most Irish villages there's a choice of pubs but Boyles has identified itself as a music pub where the locals trust the owner to book good bands and in return the locals return again and again. The simple formula in Boyles is to book the cover bands on weekends, have original music on Thursdays and some Sundays and only ask for cover charge once a month for established artists. The 'Wall of Fame' in Boyles is jammed full of familiar faces such as Andy Irvine, John Spillane, Mary Coughlan, The Walls, Ryan Sheridan and Gemma Hayes who was amazing in April 2010.


Originally I ran my own sessions night called 'The 2UIBestow Sessions' which morphed into the simpler titled 'Live at Boyles' which followed the formula of The Ruby Sessions. We had four acts playing five tunes to an appreciative audience with all the networking and promotional opportunities that came with it.

Top 5 Irish Artists to play 'Live at Boyles/2UIBestow Sessions'

1. Kiernan McMullan

Kiernan played the sessions gig three times and he was phenomenal each time. He's a superb guitarist who can write really meaningful tunes based on his interesting life of touring the US non stop in a van which constantly breaks down.

2. Michael Brunnock

Michael played the sessions in November last year and it was a wonderful performance accompanied by Chris Foyle on electric guitar.

3. Bill Coleman

Bill played the second sessions gig in July of 2009 and the highlight was Offer Up the Hope with the chorus sung by the Boyles faithfull.

Elder headlined in November three years ago and he was awesome. His voice was superb and the music was a perfect match for Boyles. 

Playing with his henchmen in Feb 2011, David Hope played to one of our smallest audience numbers but his performance was superb and the deliver of tracks such as Daybreak Somewhere was top quality.


In Boyles I've been fortunate enough to see some superb international acts brought to the venue as part of a nationwide tour or as part of my session nights or The Purple Sessions. 

Top 5 International artists:

1. Baum

Performing on the same night as David Hope, Swiss artist Baum blew me away with such a great performance. His album from last year 'Music for my Landlord' is still on regular rotation in my house for songs like this. 

In the Summer of 2011, Canadian artist Joel Plaskett toured Ireland on an acoustic tour supported on stage by his father. He played to a few dozen people in Boyles and he was awesome. 

Jukebox Gypsy have played Boyles a number of times and they put on such a great gig. Love this band.

Drew is a Canadian pianist and songwriter who is destined for greatness. In the Summer of 2011 he was superb in Boyles. Here's an official video for his single 'Keep a Light'.

New Zealander Mara performed at The Purple Sessions in August and she was effortlessly superb. On a par with performances I seen by Gemma Hayes or Lisa Hannigan. 


This year I've been booking acts for The Purple Sessions. Since June 2011, Boyles has been the home for The Purple Sessions and it's benefited big time from the move. The YouTube hits number close to 150,000 views and the performances have improved big time. 

Top 5 Acts at The Purple Sessions in 2012

1. Ana Gog - March 2012

Ana Gog blew me away with such a great set of quality contemporary rock/pop tracks which inspire and delight.

2. Marc O'Reilly - Feb 2012

Marc received a series of gasps and wows from the audience for this wonderful performance in February.  

3. Allie Bradley - March 2012

Allie proved that she is a singer-songwriter of the highest quality in March with a superb little set of great tunes like this one. 

4. Jezzebelle - June 2012

Jezzebelle are a band who inspire, entertain and delight whenever they get on stage. Jezzebelle and Boyles are a perfect combination. 

5. Red Sail - July 2012

Red Sail headlined in June and it one of the most enjoyable sets I've heard from a band in Boyles. 


Bon Jovi play Slane on Saturday 15th June 2013 as part of the ‘Because We Can’ tour. Tickets for the show are priced at €79.50 inclusive of booking fee and the tickets go on sale Thursday 8th November 2012 at 8am. While the headline act is frankly a disappointment for me personally, there should be a great supporting cast of bands which will boost ticket sales. Also regardless of everything else Bon Jovi is a safe act to book for middle class Ireland to enjoy on a sunny June afternoon next year.

Here's a video of Jon Bon Jovi at Boyles: