"Best walk in Louth? Ravensdale forest. But if you want a real stretch a the legs - the Marshes"

Aoife McCann of AE Mak chats to us about all things Dundalk

Tia Clarke


Tia Clarke


"Best walk in Louth? Ravensdale forest. But if you want a real stretch a the legs - the Marshes"

Aoife McCann of AE Mak

Aoife is the singer with Irish art-pop band Æ MAK. The band has performed at Body & Soul, Electric Picnic, Other Voices and also play regularly in London. 

What’s your favourite thing about Dundalk? 
The people. Salt of the earth, warm, creative, foul-mouthed and the best of craic. 

What would your perfect day in the local area be — and why?   
Into Devenney's to smell the fresh paper.. home for a bath. No probably McGeough's with the family for a chicken paillard and a sticky toffee pud - a flum in the IMC, not that omniplex - out to the spirit store with the store heads for a gig and the best Guinness in the country - golden chopstick; spicebag - mizzonis - garlic bread. Perfect. 

Aoife in a still from the video for her new single 'Too Sad to Sing' which is out today 

What would you like to change about Dundalk? 
Not much. One or two more music venues would be cool. But I love the fact we're small and close-knit and haven't got everything we'd like and maybe need here. Sure what would we complain about - we love complaining. Mawn town. 

What annoys you about the town?
The people.

What plans do you have for the rest of year?
This year I'll be touring with the band. Creating and releasing music. Doing some co-writes. Teaching, to pay the bills! And having a good time t'f%#k. 

How would you describe Dundalk people?
Raw and determined with a wicked sense of humour. 

Where's the best place to go for a walk in the local area?
Ravensdale forest. But if you want a real stretch a the legs - the Marshes. 

What’s your first memory of Dundalk?
Chips and strawberry milkshakes in the Roma. Dundalk's finest establishment. 

What's your favourite story you've heard about Dundalk? 
Thin Lizzy played the Downtown club (now the Adelphi) in 1980. My dad told me about it. It was at the height of their fame and they were on The Black Rose tour. They weren't meant to play but had a free night in between Belfast and Dublin.
Da said the queue was a mile down the road. He said they were using The Rolling Stones gear at the time for whatever reason. The following year Lizzy headlined the first ever Slane in 1981. U2 supported them. Brendan McCann was there up front screaming his head off I'm sure. I love the stories my dad tells me about the live music scene in Dundalk in the 1970's/80's. Roy Orbison also played the downtown club and the likes of The Boomtown Rats, The Undertones and a young U2 played The Banana Club which was on the ramparts. Deadly. 

What's your favourite Dundalk slang/phrase? 
State a ya. 

Where is your favourite pub in Dundalk and why? 
I love the spirit store but The Bartender is my favourite. So cozy to sit in and have the craic. They also serve lagunitas so.. The Connolly family are the best. 

What do you think of the local music & arts scene? 
It's really something special. The bands coming out of Dundalk are some of the best in Ireland in my opinion. Not because they're my mates but because they're so unique and mad in the head (in the best way possible). They're untouched by the 'what you should be / in the now' vibe that Dublin has. There's no competition, bitterness or uppity opinions like you'd get with that scene at times. (Don't get me wrong I love the Dublin scene) but the Dundalk music and arts scene has somewhat of a pureness about it. The musicians and writers live for their art. Everyone supports and builds each other up.  That's what happens more naturally with a smaller community of course, there's less anxiety about it. My favourite band in Ireland at the moment, nevermind Dundalk are Just Mustard. Mind-blowing.
Is there anything you think Dundalk's music scene is lacking/could do with more of? 
We could do with some brilliant rehearsal spaces and a contemporary venue or two and up and coming act nights. The demand is there. However, we've got the mighty Spirit Store which is most 20 and 30 something's second home here. It has always fiercely embraced and supported Dundalk's music scene. We'd be lost without it!  

AE Mak's new single 'Too Sad to Sing' is out today. See