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Pret-a-Porter is ready to go



Comedian Al Porter plays Comedy Carnival Galway

by Olaf Tyaransen

Despite his relative youth, the inimitable Al Porter is most probably Ireland’s most suave, polished and sartorially conscious comedian. He looks as though he’s stepped directly out of a 1950’s time warp. You could practically examine your reflection in his heavily Bryllcreamed hair, and he’s rarely spotted out of an immaculately tailored three-piece suit.

On this occasion, however, the flamboyantly gay 22 year-old is also sporting a pair of muddied wellies. It’s the bleary-eyed Sunday morning of Electric Picnic and the Tallaght-born comic has just come offstage in the Leviathan tent, where he was co-hosting an event with Miriam O’Callaghan. During the show, he told both Miriam and the stuffed tent about his father’s reaction to his son’s homosexuality.

“My da said to all of his mates in the pub, ‘Jaysus, young Al is going around giving fella blow-jobs!” he confided to a rapt audience. “He told them, ‘I’ll tell yiz, lads, he didn’t get it from me….and he didn’t get it from his mother either!’”

Needless to say, the Leviathan event wasn’t being broadcast live.

“Shall we do the interview in my filthy caravan?” he asks afterwards. “It’ll be a lot quieter there.”

It transpires that said caravan is actually quite clean and tidy. Unashamedly flirtatious and direct, he obviously meant a different kind of ‘filthy’.

Needless to say, Porter – passport name Alan Kavanagh – isn’t shy. But when did he first come out…as a comedian?

“It was when I was 19!” he laughs. “I dropped out of college – English, Literature & Philosophy in Trinity. I was terrible.”

He proceeds to tell me in his mile-a-minute motor-mouth fashion just exactly how terrible he was. Sadly, there’s no space here to recount the tale of when he first slept with a priest (at a Papal convention in Rome), got stoned with a nun (who later stalked him), and various other youthful indiscretions besides.

“Trinity was awful,” he says. “I despised it. I did four months and was kicked out of lectures. I never used to bring books and they would get annoyed. I was listening and I remember one lecturer hating me; ‘You’re not listening because you’re not taking notes’, and I thought, ‘Bollocks to that’. So I started bringing my laptop and sitting much closer to him and he thought that it meant that I was suddenly engaging.”

Of course, this wasn’t the case. “I was actually opening up my word processor and I’d put the font really large and write running commentary on what he was doing so that everybody behind me could see it. He might be going, ‘And Parmenides would say that change truly exists…’, and I’d be writing, ‘Yeah, you should change your underwear, you dirty bollocks!’ and people were laughing. I was only 18 or 19.”

Having observed the local talent and figured he could do better, he did his first ever stand-up show in Captain America’s of Tallaght about three years ago. “I’d only ever seen [stand-up] comedy on the television; Michael McIntyre, Billy Connolly, Lee Evans – big fuckin’ huge theatre arena comics, so that’s what I thought comedy was. I went to this stand-up night by accident – I was going to be drinking anyway – and they had local comedians up.

“I didn’t know them then, I know them now. Guys called Simon O’Keefe and Willy White, a guy from Ballymun, doing jokes about Tallaght; girls getting pregnant, what it’s like to be a lad on the southside of Dublin. I was going, ‘Jesus’, because Michael McIntyre is talking about walking his kids in the park in London, or Billy Connolly is talking about the miners. I didn’t know there was comedy about my area so I said to the guy, ‘Can I do it?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, next week’.”

That gig went well enough for him to continue. “People were like, ‘Good man, fair fucking play to ya!’. A lot of guys from Tallaght who did drugs or sold drugs or were involved in gangs would drink with us, if not in that pub then some other pubs, and they were always supportive, going, ‘Fair play to you! I love what you’re doing!’.

So I didi my set, 20 minutes instead of five or 10, got off stage and got 20 euro. I would have paid them 100 euro to do it. It was the biggest rush of my life.”

Fast forward three years and Porter – now almost ubiquitous on Irish radio and TV – is one of the hottest names in contemporary Irish comedy. So much so that he recently signed to one of the UK’s biggest talent agencies. More than one knowing pundit has already declared him to be the ‘new Graham Norton’.

“I haven’t met Graham, but I have an association,” he laughs. “I’m one away! Pat Egan, the promoter who always brought over Billy Connolly and introduced me to him – he brought over Liza Minelli one time and Lee Evans in the early, early years – Pat knows Graham quite well.

On my Vicar Street show I received a bouquet of flowers, huge bouquet. I got loads of nice gifts, in fairness. Fiona Looney gave me a signed Frankie Howard picture, which was really nice. I knew her from writing pantos. Big bouquet of flowers came and I looked at it and thought,‘That’s mad…’ and there was a card saying, ‘Love, luck and laughter – Graham Norton, London’.”

He’s sadly aware that it could have been that incorrigible bastard Karl Spain – with whom he shared a house during the Edinburgh festival – who sent it. “Yeah, I wouldn’t put it past him,” he laughs. “I am also aware that that could be any arsehole, but it was still nice to get it. There remains the possibility that he heard about it because even when I was over in Edinburgh, some of the off-the-curve people were saying, ‘No, we’re pretty sure he’s heard about you’, because, y’know, we Google ourselves. People in stand-up Google ourselves, even Graham I would say, isn’t averse to the odd Google.

“I’d say he’s seen these hits; every review, ‘New Graham Norton’, ‘Graham Norton should watch out’… so he might be going, ‘Who’s the bloke? I’ll give him a nod’, or it could have been Karl Spain just sending me them for the craic.

“Or it could be a guy called Norton-London with a double-barrelled surname, but it was a nice gesture and I keep the card at home but my mam puts it out when guests come around. She just puts it in front of other shit and I go, ‘Mam, it looks like Graham Norton sent me a teapot!’. It’s not good!’”

Even if it was Karl Spain who sent the flowers, it’ll be forgiven. They’re currently working together on a Christmas panto.

“We’re doing a show called Freezin’, as opposed to Frozen, which we’re writing together. We’re writing lots of stupid jokes. ‘Reindeer?’ – ‘No, just cloudy’. All this kind of stuff. ‘Oh, it’s freezing out’ – ‘Well, then put it back in’. I like all that old Lily Savage-esque humour.”

With so much going on, where does Al Porter see himself in a year’s time?

“Well, I’m probably going to be away more in the UK than I am at the moment,” he says, after a pause. “In a year, I’m going to be more in the UK as there’s stuff lined up. Certainly, all the clubs, as many as I can do. I haven’t done that many. I really want to get into the Comedy Store, and that should be possible with the new agency.

There is, possibly, some television opportunities that I’m not supposed to talk about, but I will, more than likely, stay on radio in Ireland, but next year there won’t be a fortnight when I’m not in the UK.”

Al appears in the Spiegeltent, Eyre Square on Wed Oct 21st and Thurs Oct 22nd.

He performs his solo show, “Al Porter Is Yours” at Town Hall Theatre on Friday Oct 23rd with special guests Totally Wired.


Folk duo launch What Will Be Will Be



Niall Teague and Pádraic Joyce.

Folk duo Niall Teague and Pádraic Joyce are launching their new album What Will We Be, a  blend of folk, Americana and acoustic music, this Friday, May 19, at 8pm in An Taibhdhearc.

The success of their well-received 2020 release Taobh le Taobh, as well as recent successes at the Pan Celtic and Oireachtas Song Contests, spurred the duo on to record this new album which represents many years of collaboration and musical development.

It features Niall and Pádraic on vocals, harmonies, and acoustic guitars, Maidhc Ó hÉanaigh on double bass and Neil Fitzgibbon on fiddle. The catchy title track, What Will We Be, features contributions from percussionist Jim Higgins (The Stunning, Christy Moore, Paul Brady) and haunting, driving melodies on vocals, guitar, and fiddle.

Themes of love and hope are woven through Come Away with Me which features interplay between piano and fiddle as well as rich vocal harmonies.

People, places, and broken dreams are celebrated and lamented on Martin and Tom, Guitar Gold, Memories of You and Achill Island. The influence of David Henry Thoreau’s novel Walden features on the tracks Simple and Wise and Walden, with the beauty of nature, escape and simple pleasures at their core.

The album moves from minimalistic folk ballads such as Galway Ghost to swirling, string-laden arrangements on the song Neptune, both of which are influenced by maritime tales from Galway. Much of the work on this album was supported by the Arts Council, including work with musical arranger Eoin Corcoran and the string ensemble Treo.

The album will be launched this Friday, May 19, at 8pm in an Taibhdhearc. Tickets €22, plus booking fee at

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All roads lead to Dunmore as town tunes up County Fleadh



Most of the competitions for young musicians will take place this Saturday in Dunmore Community School. All the competitions are open to the public.

Dunmore is the place to be this weekend for lovers of traditional music, as the Galway County Fleadh will take place there from this Friday, May 19, to Sunday, May 23.

It is 10 years since Dunmore last hosted a fleadh and the local Comhaltas branch, which has re-formed since Covid, is looking forward to facilitating this gathering of music, song, dance and craic.

The official Opening Concert will take place in Dunmore Town Hall this Friday at 8pm with the acclaimed Mulcahy family from Limerick. Mick, Louise and Michelle are well known throughout the country, thanks to their live performances, television appearances and numerous CDs. They were the winners of the TG4 Gradam Ceoil Grúpa Ceoil Award for 2023.  Tickets for their concert can be purchased on the door and a great night of music is promised.

Two days of competitions will kick off this Saturday at the town’s Community School, with more than 1,500 competitors taking part. Participants will be hoping to qualify for the Connacht Fleadh 2023, which will be held in Ballina, County Mayo, from June 23 to July 2.

Competitions for those aged Under 10, Under 12 and Under 15 will be held in a large variety of instruments on Saturday, as well as in singing and Comhrá Gaeilge. Sunday’s competitions will be for the Under 18 and Over 18 ages groups, as well as in dancing.

On both days a large entry is expected for Grúpaí Cheoil and Céilí Band competitions across all age groups.

Seventeen Comhaltas branches from across Galway will have participants in this weekend’s competitions, which will result in a large number of visitors to the Dunmore area.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the competitions, which offer a great opportunity to hear and see the talent on display. There will be sessions in local pubs over the weekend as well and everybody is welcome to attend these.

For more information on the County Fleadh, go to


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Piano concert rescheduled for Tuesday



Pianist Cédric Pescia.

Music for Galway’s concert with renowned Swiss pianist Cédric Pescia which had been due to take place on April 27 but which had to be deferred, will now take place next Tuesday, May 23, at 8pm, in the Emily Anderson Concert Hall at the University of Galway.

This concert of German classics with Bach at its core, will brings the Bach element of Music for Galway’s 41st season to an end.

This world-class pianist who won the famous Gina Bachauer International Artists Piano Competition, has a repertoire that spans many eras from baroque to contemporary and he is widely known for his elaborate programmes. Cédric Pescia describes music as  ‘language and movement at the same time’.

Audiences will have a chance to experience his soft, clear touch as he performs a programme for solo piano that will include classics such as Schumann’s popular Waldszenen (Forest Scenes), a suite of nine short pieces, and the penultimate of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, No. 31.  These pieces will be interspersed with French Suites by Bach.

■ Ticket for Cédric Pescia’s concert are available at, or by phone 091 705962 and on the door on the night. They cost €20/€18. The price for fulltime students of all ages is €6 while MfG Friends can avail of the friends’ rate of €16.

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