‘Culturally, I feel Dundalk has never been better’ - Derek Turner
This week we chat to The Spirit Store’s bookings manager, sound engineer and cricket enthusiast Derek Turner about all things Dundalk
What’s your favourite thing about Dundalk?
The characters about town and the sense of humour in Dundalk people is refreshing.
Culturally I also feel Dundalk has never been better, there is, I hope, the beginning of a strong and unified artistic community of poets/musicians/actors/comedians/film makers and writers who are working together with confidence and no shortage of ability.
What would your perfect day in the local area be?
My perfect day would be a Sunday without work so I can go and watch Dundalk Cricket Club play a match in Dromiskin followed by dinner with the family and then a few pints of Guinness in the Spirit Store listening to the wonderful trad session run by Niamh and Tommy.
What would you like to change about Dundalk?
Pride in the town. I believe it is already happening. I always wondered why creative people here did not lend each other a helping hand to achieve their artistic goals.
This is now happening in the wider artistic community and the quality of work being produced is exceptional.
I also feel that what Stephen Kenny and Dundalk FC have done for the perception of the town is hard to measure in what it has achieved not only nationally but around Europe. People now know about Dundalk internationally.
What annoys you about the town?
Late night violence after the clubs/pubs are shut. Most towns in Ireland suffer from the same issues as revellers are turfed out all at the same time and scores are settled on the street.
It is our casual national attitude and acceptance of drunken behaviour that allows this to happen in Ireland.
Ireland’s relationship with drink is antiquated. We still have a long way to go before it is ingrained in people that it is just stupid and unacceptable to be drunk and disorderly and violent.
How would you describe Dundalk people?
As I said earlier this town is full of “characters”. I am originally from Dublin so on moving here in 1994 I was surprised by the amount of individualistic attitudes in people.
People here have less pretensions about them and tell it as it is. I find that refreshing.
What local amenities could Dundalk do with?
I would love to see a hostel in the town to encourage international youth and student tourism. There are now so many different nationalities working and living here now and some of them I know are amazed that there is no budget accommodation in the town where their visiting friends can stay.
What’s your first memory of Dundalk?
I was taken by a friend to The Century Bar within a week of arriving here in 1994. It was owned then by Tony and Dympna O’Kane and in an opening conversation at the bar with Tony he discovered I was Paddy Turner’s son. Paddy played for Dundalk FC in the mid sixties and scored 104 goals for the club and loved his time here and the people. Tony is of course a diehard Dundalk FC fan. I don’t remember paying for a pint that night. What a welcome to the town. Thanks Tony.
What do you think of the current music scene in Dundalk?
It’s the best it has ever been. The artists are so diverse in nature and sound and are working together and available to help each other.
What I see is a genuine sense of self belief coupled with a strong work ethic. There is now some sort of structure to help along the way with Black Mountain Recording Studio, Classified Records, Creative Spark, Spirit Store, The Lock Up Rehearsal space, Create Louth, The Arts Office , An Tain Theatre etc. lending a hand along the way.
Who are the best bands coming out of the town right now?
So many to mention so here goes in no particular order: Just Mustard, Elephant, David Keenan, Third Smoke, TPM, Jinx Lennon, L-Arry, Alice Robinson, Trick Mist, Nix Moon, Sophie Coyle, The Gakk, Accidents In The Workplace, Shed, Tara Tine, Bellew.
I am sure I missed a few there!