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Carrick-on-Shannon is a weird place. It’s sorta like a Celtic Tiger graveyard, it even feels strange and it must be the Hen Party capital of Ireland, I counted five in an hour. But I suppose they have to fill the empty houses and apartments somehow.

One of those empty housing estates is where we stayed, it had a bang of Pierre Huyghe‘s Streamside Day off of it, seriously eerie. Our walk into the town centre passed by one of those KFC and Tesco carpark grimness centres, a few fields of Piebald horses in the mix, poor fuckers probably wishing someone had taken them to France instead of being stuck on the side of the N4.

The immediate centre is a mix of the Celtic Shame hotels and seriously gammy sports style bars, bits of the town leaning towards the class side of weird with all the usual demented Irish shops of randomness, a deadly pub called Cryan’s and a really decent arts space, The Dock.

This weekend The Dock hosted Phase One, an electronic music and arts festival which included some of the best acts in the Ireland, our favourites being – Le Galaxie, New Jackson, White Collar Boy (who brought us on their boat) Sunken Foal, WIFE, Donal Dineen and Cian Ó Cíobháin.

Every act we caught played a blinder but the overall feeling was a kiiiiiinda like that of the town, disjointed planning, lacking atmosphere and marketed to people whose main concern is getting ridiculously out of their heads. But ya know serious potential and in fairness it was VERY well organised when it came to signage, security and stocked loo roll type of things, one person described it to me as ‘too organised or something’. Maybe that was the problem cos it did seem like the organisers had real heart and the individual events were really well programmed but there was just something off.

I just felt the whole town needs a bitta sage cleansing or something. :/ Get those demons OUT let ye!

But it was an experience, Ireland is incredibly interesting in all sorts of ways when out of the main cities, and with the right direction events like Phase One will hopefully help turn around this Celtic mess. Annnnyways more small town exploring is on the cards for sure this summer!

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Photos: Top – A classsss photo blu-tacked to the wall in Cryon’s. // Bottom, L-R: 1. New Jackson, visuals Donal Dineen. 2. Sunken Foal, visuals Tim Redfern.