Popular quayside venue, The Spirit Store, was officially opened by renowned RTE broadcaster and author John Kelly last Wednesday, March 6.
The popular music venue had been closed for a number of weeks in the lead-up to Christmas while it underwent renovation works.
The gig room upstairs now has its own dedicated entrance and bar along with improvements and refurbishments been made to the stage and performers dressing rooms.
Proprietor Mark Dearey told the Democrat the launch gave him the chance to say a huge thank you to all those who made the venue happen.
“I am delighted with how well the launch went, it was a great opportunity to thank everyone involved and to showcase the new venue to the music industry.
“It was a great pleasure to have John Kelly down to open the venue as I have been a huge fan of his for over 15 years now,” Mark told the paper.
“He is a well respected figure throughout Ireland and does stunning radio shows.
“He really understands what makes good music. He makes classical music sound cool, even to my untrained ear!”
Kilkenny rock band Kerbdog were on hand to entertain the crowd on the night, and played an impressive gig.
“They really impressed the crowd and played a very exciting gig,” said Mark who has been running the Spirit Store for 14 years now.
“Since we reopened, we have had more people coming in, we have a new audience now, as our venue is more comfortable, and better appointed.
“We don’t exclude anyone – for instance we had rock band Kerbdog play at the opening and on Mother’s Day there on Sunday, we had Francis Black and her band play a gig.
“Francis played a really superb gig, she was warm and engaging with the audience and put on more of a theatre-style show than a gig.”
Theatre groups the Cúchulainn Players and the Dolmen Group also performed a hilarious review of Dundalk life on the opening night, and Mark hopes that the venue will attract more small scale theatre groups.
Mark now employs 13 people, four full time in the Spirt Store.
“I am proud of the facility we now have and of the additional jobs the business now supports especially at such a time when every job matters. I’m glad that I have plenty of work to give people.’
Finally, Mark would like to thank all his customers who have frequented the Spirit Store over the years.
“I wish to thank all to have come to the Spirit Store, it is a big decision these days to spend money on tickets to a gig when money is tight and I really appreciate all the support we have gotten down the years.
“I know that I couldn’t live without music and I’m glad that others feel the same and I look forward to seeing everyone at the venue in the future.”
Go to page 40 to check out what the Spirit Store has on offer for this St. Patrick’s weekend.