Banter with Kevin Barry at Make A Move (114, July 2015)

Limerick’s Make A Move community arts festival has become one of our favourite summer stop-offs for the Banter bandwagon. We were there for the first one in 2012 when we discussed the state of Irish hip-hop and we were back last year with a very robust panel on the challenges around Limerick’s year in the spotlight as City of Culture.

Thanks to Shane MacCurtain and the Make A Move team, we head back to Limerick for a conversation with Kevin Barry on Saturday July 4th. The Limerick-born writer has been on our wish-list for ages so it’s brilliant to have the chance to talk to him about his work to date, his hit-rate when it comes to literary awards, the fabulous “City of Bohane”, the forthcoming “Beatlebone”, a novel about John Lennon’s imagined journey to the west coast of Ireland in 1978, and his return to the “quare place” for a sequel to “City of Bohane”. We’ll also find out if he misses the aul’ freelance journalism game in any way, shape or form (that’s probably a no).


Banter’s conversation with Kevin Barry takes place at the Shannon Rowing Club on Saturday July 4th at 2pm. Admission will be €5 and tickets will be available at the door.

This year, Make A Move will be highlighting the work of many other artists who live and are from the city who will be releasing new work in the coming months. Besides Banter with Kevin Barry, there will also be appearances from Deviant and Naive Ted, a new project featuring the production work of Hsuan Records’ boss Graeme S, local crew Same D4ence and a concert featuring the best of the city’s under-age talent. The fantastic Rusangano Family play their only Limerick gig of the summer and will be joined on stage by various guests. There will also some major dance events and street art projects with a difference, both very much tied up with young people’s creative responses to their own areas, and workshops all week in music, dance and street art.

A conversation with Brendan Canty (113, June 2015)

Eventbrite’s Do Business Better series pulls up to the bumper at Cork’s Opera House from June 9 to 11 with folks from various businesses like Ballymaloe HouseHeineken, the Blacks of Kinsale brewery and others talking about how to do better business.

Banter’s contribution to the series is a conversation with Brendan Canty, the director, film-maker and editor at Feel Good Lost, about the business of art and creativity.


Feel Good Lost is a multi-discipline creative company that creates cutting edge film, art and music, manages acts and develops new and exciting music talent. Brendan and the Cork-based company have worked on music videos (such as Hozier’s “Take Me To Church” – 209 million views and rising), visuals, record releases, corporate branding (Gas Networks Ireland) and much more.

Clients include such entitles as Virgin EMI, Interscope Records, Island Records, Sony Music and Domino Records, and Feel Good Lost have showcased their work at such festivals as the Athens Video Art Festival, Iceland Airwaves, Longitude, Body & Soul and Electric Picnic.

The conversation takes place on Thursday June 11 at 6.30pm at the Opera House. Admission is free and tickets can be booked in advance here.

Banter at Bloom 2015 (112, May 2015)

It’s Bloom time at the Phoenix Park over the June bank holiday weekend and there’s a new addition to the bill of fare at Ireland’s biggest festival this year in the shape of Banter. Our well-travelled series of talks, conversations and discussions will be taking up residence in a tent in the middle of the Food Village (tent number 25 on this map to be exact) for a series of lively, wide-ranging discussions on Saturday May 30, Sunday May 31 and Monday June 1.


We’ll be joined by panelists and experts from the worlds of food, farming, gardening and the media to talk about such topics as rural Ireland, the food of the future, farm safety, the weather, bees, charities, hospital food, community shops, gardening for beginners and how exactly you run a huge festival like Bloom for 100,000 people.

Here, then, is the full schedule for Banter at Bloom 2015


Rural Ireland rules OK (11am)

Damien O’Reilly from RTE Radio One’s CountryWideMairead Lavery from the Farmers Journal and editor of Irish Country Living and Pat Lalor (Ballad Organic Farm and KIlbeggan Organic Foods) discuss many of the issues which rural Ireland faces at the moment.

Gardening for the soul (noon)

Award winning garden designer, author and broadcaster Fiann Ó Nualláin on how you can find remedies for ailments and source for beauty treatments in your garden

The food of tomorrow (1.30pm)

What will the next generation be eating? Just how important will nutrition and health be when it comes to the food of the future? Or will convenience and price be what dictates what we eat and drink? Join Adrian Martin (Chef Adrian) and David and Stephen Flynn from the Happy Pear as they make some predictions about the food of tomorrow.

The A to Z of Bloom (2.30pm)

Bloom show manager Gary Graham takes a break from his hectic schedule to talk to Banter about what’s involved in putting on the biggest show in town.

The weather forecast (3.30pm)

The most important topic of conversation in Ireland every day of the week? That would be the weather. We’re joined by Evelyn Cusack, RTE weather presenter and Deputy Head of Forecasting at Met Éireann; and Damian Corless, author of Looks Like Rain – 9000 Years of Irish Weather, to talk about the myths and the science of reading the Irish weather.

Charity begins at home (4.30pm)

We all know that the Irish people are very generous when it comes to charity donations. Despite this, there is a constant need by the charities themselves to fundraise and maintain their profile. We’ll talk to Aidan Stacey (head of fundraising atGOAL), Joan Freeman (founder of Pieta House) and Marian Carroll (CEO of the Ronald McDonald House Charity) about the current lie of the land in the charity sector


Watch the sky (11am)

There are more and more people looking towards the sky and listening carefully to what’s happening in their gardens as interest in bird-watching grows and grows. We’re joined by Niall Hatch from Birdwatch Ireland and Richard Collins from the RTE Radio One Mooney Goes Wild team to talk about the phenomenon and to give advice to newcomers to the twitching game.

The business of food (noon)

The County Choice deli and café opened in Nenagh in 1982 and the Burren Smokehouse business opened in Co Clare in 1989. Many years later in a much different Ireland, both are still in business and still growing. We talk to Peter Ward from Country Choice and Birgitta Curtin from Burren Smokehouse about the changing environment for an Irish food business.

A conversation with Neven Maguire (1.30pm)

The chef talks frankly about food, kitchens, restaurants, the TV business, cooking for babies and kids and keeping high standards in Blacklion.

Oliver Dunne’s hospital food (2.30pm)

In recent months, chef and owner of Michelin star restaurant Bon Appetit and Cleaver EastOliver Dunne has been engaged in a campaign to improve the food available in our hospital wards. He joins us at Banter to talk about the reasons for his activism.

Why we need more community shops (3.30pm)

With more and more villages throughout the country now without a local shop, a campaign is underway to change this and bring back a place to go for the messages. Declan Rice from the Kilkenny LEADER Partnership Company talks about what’s involved in putting together a network of community-run shops and cafés in rural Ireland.

Farming in Ireland in 2015 (4.30pm)

The view of the land from the Banter tent with panelists Darragh McCullough (Ear to the Ground, deputy farming editor Irish Independent), Richard Moeran (chairman Agri Aware) and John Lynskey (Chairman of the IFA National Sheep Committee). What are the issues which are causing Irish farmers to fret – or now that milk quotas have been abolished, is everything rosey in the garden? What are the big issues like farm safety which farmers should be thinking about? How should issues like farm size, price volatility, the ageing population of farmers and farm viability be tackled? Does the will to tackle these issues exist at individual and collective levels? Where do we see farming going in the next five to 10 years?


The joy of veg (11am)

Keen gardeners Aine Lawlor (RTE Radio One and RTE TV), Dee Sewell (Greenside Up horticulturist) and others dig in with stories and advice from their gardens and allotments for new gardeners and those keen to get growing.

Bloom in Transition (noon)

Bloom regular Fiann Ó Nualláin talks about his project at this year’s festival featuring gardens put together with transition year students from Ashton School in Cork and Collinstown Park Community College in Clondalkin. We’ll also hear from Collinstown students Luke Rothwell and James Adair.

The Origin Green story (1.30pm)

Origin Green is a very big deal, the only sustainability programme in the world operating on a national scale and bringing together government, the private sector and food producers. We’re joined by Aidan Cotter (Bord Bia CEO), Alan Kingston (Glenilen Farm) and Patrick Rooney (Derrycama Farm)  to discuss how the scheme works and the plans to ensure all of Ireland’s food and drink exports are on the road to sustainability in the next 12 months.

Bloom Fringe (2.30pm)

Bloom is now more than just about what’s happening in the Phoenix Park. Marion Keogh and Esther Gerrard talk about the onwards and upwards growth of Bloom Fringe and its array of bright ideas, workshops, talks, installations, pop-ups, art and demos on the streets of the capital.

Free the bees (3.30pm)

Beekeeper Stuart Hayes talks to us about what’s happening to the world’s population of bees – and just why honey has become so expensive on our shop shelves.

Tickets for Bloom 2015 are on sale here.

Reviewing the reviews (111, May 2015)

We’re going to describe a scene which probably happened to you last week or weekend. You and your pals are planning a night out and want to go to a decent pub or restaurant so you naturally turn to your social media network for the skinny on what’s good and what’s not. But as we’ve seen from tales of false or misleading reviews, you can’t always take what you read on TripAdvisorTwitterFacebook or Yelp as gospel (or even see on Instagram) – indeed, we know that false and misleading reviews can be positive as well as negative.13711-food_newsSo just what is the value of social media reviews for the hospitality business? How do restaurant owners deal with demands from bloggers and social media activists for free meals in return for good reviews? Just how prevalent is this practice? Or does the fact that everyone can be a critic with a potentially big public reach mean the customer has a real voice and can keep venues on top of their game?

The panel: Niall Harbison (Lovin Dublin founder), Emily Cunnane (senior community manager at Yelp) and Leo Molloy (777, SuperMissSue etc)

The details: Banter’s review of the reviews and the reviewers takes place at MVP (Clanbrassil Street, Dublin 8 ) on Wednesday May 27 at 6.30pm. Admission is free, but tickets are limited and can be booked here.

Living for the City: the future of food shopping (110, May 2015)

Where do you go to buy your food? From huge supermarkets and the corner store to the farmers’ markets and specialist shops, there has never been a time with a more varied and diverse number of outlets selling food. You may think that we won’t see many more changes in the sector, but people were probably saying that a decade or more ago when the first out-of-town supermarkets began to appear. Like most business sectors, change is everything here.


We’ve gathered together a number of experts involved in the business of selling food to talk to them about what they think is going to happen in the sector in the coming years. Is it going to be all about price and the growth of discount retailers or will shoppers begin to look for something other than cheap cheese and salami? What are the trends which key players are noticing here and how do they see these developing?

Has the Irish shopper gone completely promiscuous when it comes to buying food or are they still capable of loyalty? Will the economic bounce mean a change in our consumer habits? Will smaller spaces trump hypermarkets even for the multiples? What’s the role of technology going to be in how we shop for grubs? What about provenence and organics? And what about the kids – how will Generation Z shop for food?

The panelHenry Dummer (director of marketing Tesco), Rachel Firth (general manager Fallon & Byrne), Joe Doyle (founder Donnybrook Fair) and Norman Rides (general manager Dublin Food Co-Op)

The details: Banter on the future of food shopping takes place at the Twisted Pepper (Middle Abbey St., Dublin 1) on Wednesday May 20. Doors open at 6pm and the discussion begins at 6.30pm. Tickets are available here (please note the event is now sold out).

This event is part of Living for the City, Banter’s ongoing series of discussions about living, working and playing in Dublin in the 21st century. To date, this has featured discussions on transporthousingimmigrationmediaalternative spacescreativityand cafes.

Banter at Ballymaloe LitFest (109, May 2015)

It’s set to be a very busy summer for Banter on the festival circuit with events to come at Bloom in Dublin’s Phoenix Park on the June bank holiday weekend, Make A Move in Limerick in July and The Big Grill in Dublin’s Herbert Park in August.

We are delighted to kick off the season of festival shenanigans with a trip to Co Cork for the Ballymaloe LitFest next month. You’ll find Banter in the Garden Tent on Saturday May 16 and 17 where we’ll be hosting four panels in all


The sweetest touch: food writer, author and former Chez Panisse pastry guru David Lebovitz adds sugar to the mix in a tale of desserts, puddings and afters

The GIY manifesto: a conversation with Michael Kelly about how he’s grown the GIY Ireland movement

So you want to start a food business?: Leon co-founder Allegra McEvedySarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich from Honey and Co and Arun Kapil from Green Saffron on the lessons they’ve learned from their start-ups

The best meal I’ve ever had: a bunch of Ballymaloe speakers wax lyrical about the best meal they’ve ever had

Banter will share the Garden Tent space with Joe McNamee’s Rants, Raves and Ruaille BuailleCaroline Hennessy’s Cookbook Chronicles, readings by David Murphy and Raymond Blake and a Questions & Answers Food Special with John Bowman and guests. You’ll find the full schedule for the Garden Tent here.

Meanwhile, the full schedule for the LitFest features all manner of food and drink speakers, talkers, makers and do-ers including Alice WatersJack MonroeKevin Thornton and dozens, nay hundreds, more. Full programme here.

An evening with Matthew E White (108, May 2015)

There was no Irish date on Matthew E White’s current European tour until now.Banter is proud to present an evening of words and music with White on Monday May 4th at the Twisted Pepper, Dublin 1.

matthew e white

In the space of two albums – 2012′s thrilling “Big Inner” and this year’s magnificent follow-up “Fresh Blood” – the man from Richmond, Virginia has cast many spells and whipped up many storms with a beguiling, rich blend of sounds and stirrings. It’s music with an old soul delivered in new shapes with the kind of infectious groove at the heart of the matter which can win all comers over.

Aside from those two damn fine records (and a whole host of worldwide touring), White and his pals in Richmond established the Spacebomb collective, label and studio to turn the tunes of songwriters they liked into grandiose, graceful, powerful statements. Anyone who has lent an ear to this year’s fine debut from Natalie Prasswill know they’re on the right track with that mission.

White brings his current European tour to a close with a visit to Dublin for an evening of conversation and solo performance at the Twisted Pepper. Doors open at 6pm, the event starts at 6.30pm and limited tickets are now on sale (please note the event is now sold out)

Banter at Cúirt (107, Apr 2015)

It’s always good to be asked back by a festival. Banter had a fantastic time (and a hectic 24 hours) at the Cúirt Interational Festival of Literature ast year and it’s great to be going back to Galway later this month for this year’s festival.

The Banter business at Cúirt involves an interview with author and journalist David Sax about food fads on the back of his excellent book The Tastemakers: Why We’re Crazy for Cupcakes, But Fed up with Fondue. In the book Sax talks to the farmers, chefs, store owners and data analysts who help decide on and create food trends and fads. It’s a book which is full of entertaining stories and surprising truths about what we eat, how we eat it and why. Banter with David Sax takes place at Busker Browne’s, Galway on Saturday April 25 at 11am and admission is €10.

David Sax, author of The Tastemakers

David Sax, author of The Tastemakers

Aside from that, I’m also hosting two public interviews at Cúirt. The first is An Evening With Irvine Welsh which will feature the author of such groundbreaking and shapeshifting books as Trainspotting, Filth, Glue, Porno and Skagboys read from and talk about his new book A Decent Ride (as well as talk about other stuff too). You’ll find Welsh at the Town Hall Theatre on Friday April 24 at 8.30pm and admission is €15

The other interview is with Lawrence Hill about his book Blood. In it, Hill writes about the history of blood with great erudition and perception from many different angles, from social and scientific to the role of blood in history and culture to, perhaps the most fascinating angle, his own background and health. This event takes place at An Taibhdhearc on Saturday April 25 at 4pm and admission is €8.

You’ll find the full Cúirt programme here. Other highlights to catch the eye include Josephe O’Neill in conversaton with Edel Coffey (Town Hall Theatre, Friday April 25), Jenny Offill and Evie Wyld in conversation with Sinead Gleeson (Town Hall Theatre, Friday April 25), Paul Durcan (Town Hall Theatre, Tuesday April 22) and an Arena special with poets Jane Hischfield and Micheál O’Siadhail and writer Miranda Hill (Town Hall Theatre, Thursday April 24).

Banter at Shore Shots (106, Apr 2015)

Shore Shots is a two-day festival of surfing which takes place at the Light House Cinema in Dublin taking place on April 11 and 12. The third outing for the festival will feature the best new films, photography, art and adventures from the world of cold water surfing, as well as talks and entertainment from the finest surfers in Europe.

Banter teams up with Shore Shots this year to run the rule over what’s going on with Irish surfing.

Nature means Ireland is on many agendas when it comes to surfing, with those wild, wild swells out west and along our 3,000km of coastline attracting many surfers keen to take on the biggest cold water challenges and enjoy some true soul surfing. When Discover Ireland take an interest in the sport and pimps the attractions of waters from Donegal to Kerry and even Waterford and Wicklow to surfers, you know that the surf is definitely up.

We’ve invited four stalwarts to come along to Shore Shots to talk about the current state of the sport in Ireland. What do they think of Ireland’s rep as a surfing destination? Is it still something of a best kept secret or is the word out? Is there too much focus on attracting international surfers to the detriment of encouraging more domestic fans to come onboard? What are the issues which the local scene face which need to be addressed? Or is everything hunky-dory?

Our panelists:

Peter Conroy – founder member of the Irish Tow Surf Rescue Club. A paramedic and firefighter by day he is also a regular surfer at Ireland’s most infamous big wave spots. Through his association with the Irish Tow Rescue club, Peter has gone from breaking his neck in huge surf to organising rescue training for Irish big wave surfers and making Mullaghmore a slightly safer place to surf and centre for international best practice in surf rescue.

Ed Temperley – editor of Magic Seaweed, Ed is a regular visitor to Shore Shots and his work is essential reading for anyone hoping to progress as a surfer in this country.

Brian Britton – one of the forefathers of Irish surfing, Brian helped set up the Irish Surf Association way back in 1969. Since then, he has been instrumental in every development in Irish surfing, from major international tournaments to developing young surfers and introducing training standards at surf schools around the country.

Henry Moore – chairman of the Irish Surfing Association

Banter details: Banter on surfing takes place at the Light House Cinema, Dublin on Saturday April 11 at 4pm. Tickets are €7 and are available here.

Over the weekend, Shore Shots will screen such flicks as Behind The LinesOut In The LineupTierra des PatagonesDeath 2 Hipsters and the Shore Shots edit contest

What’s the story with the Irish pub? (105, Apr 2015)

You don’t need us to tell you about changes to the Irish pub over the last few years. Between new arrivals coming in from across the water, competition from off-licences and changes in public behaviour and social trends when it comes to drinking, the Irish pub sector has probably seen more change of late than it’s ever done before.

Banter is linking up with The Locals and Discotekken for a special event about the Irish pub on Easter Sunday, 48 hours after the day when prohibition rules the roost across the country.

Banter’s contribution to the event is a where-we-are-and-where-we’re-going discussion about publand featuring a number of Irish publicans, namely Tony McMahon (owner of Johnnie Fox’s), Trevor O’Shea (Bodytonic, the Bernard Shaw, The Twisted Pepper, MVP, The Back Page and The Yacht), Seáneen Sullivan (L Mulligan Grocer) and Oliver Hughes (CEO the Portherhouse Group and founder of the Dingle Distillery).

Aside from the Banter discussion, the event will also feature a screening of The Irish Pub documentary, produced and directed by Alex Fegan, and a performance from Ensemble Eriu.

It all takes place at the Sugar Club (Lower Leeson St., Dublin 2) on Sunday April 5 from 7pm and tickets are available here.

Banter on mindfulness (104, Mar 2015)

There are some Banter topics which are on the to-do list for a long time and mindfulness is definitely one of them. Over the last few years, we’ve noticed how the practice of mindfulness has began to appear on agendas more and more. It has always been a daily habit for many, but the massive buzz around a wave of apps, courses, workshops and retreats means mindfulness has become an everyday experience for many more to enhance how they live and work.

This Banter discussion panel gathers together some people who use mindfulness practices in their daily life and work to help us examine the benefits of mindfulness when it comes to our attention spans, concentration levels, creativity and emotional well-being. How do you begin? Where do you begin? What do you need to do? Does the fact that practices and habits which have been around for many years and decades are now branded as mindfulness change everything or nothing at all?

The panel:

Ivor Browne – retired psychiatrist, former Chief Psychiatrist of the Eastern Health Board, professor emeritus of psychiatry at University College Dublin and author of Music & Madness (Cork University Press)

Karen Hand – a doctoral researcher who co-curated the National Happiness Experiment and is co-author of Happy Nation? Prospects for Psychological Prosperity in Ireland (Liffey Press)

Colm Mac Con Iomaire – musician and member of The Frames, who will be releasing his new solo album “And Now the Weather/Agus Anois An Aimsir” on April 17

Ruairí McKiernan – social innovator, campaigner, Presidential appointee to Ireland’s Council of State, founder of SpunOut, co-founder of Uplift and a board member of the Soar Foundation and Gaisce.

The details: Banter on mindfulness takes place at the Twisted Pepper (Middle Abbey St., Dublin 1) on Tuesday March 31. Doors open at 6pm and the discussion gets underway at 6.30pm sharp. Tickets are now available here (please note the event is now sold out)

Generation Z (103, Mar 2014)

Meet the new guard. Brands, marketing and advertising may be all about the millenials at present when it comes to flogging their products and selling their wares, but there’s a new generational cast arriving in town and they’ve a far different mindset to the twentysomethings who’ve gone before them. They’re the young men and women who were born since the mid-1990s, a group who’ve been digital natives from the moment they could talk and who weren’t even in secondary school when the Celtic Tiger was in full bloom or, indeed, crashing down.

So, what do they think about this, that and the other? What are their views on life, the universe and everything else? What’s their take on technology, work, politics, privacy, entertainment, social enterprise, Ireland, climate change, culture, the future, the millenials and a whole lot more besides? We’ve decided to ask four of them along to Banter to check their heads.

Banter’s Generation Z panelJessy Rose (singer with Hare Squead), Melissa Kavanagh (poet, Bave New Voices Atlanta 2015), Lia Grogan (SpunOut contributer) and Jordan Casey (programmer and games developer – piece on Jordan here)

Banter on Generation Z takes place at the Twisted Pepper (Middle Abbey St., Dublin 1) on Wednesday March 11. Doors open 6pm and the panel kicks off at 6.30pm. Tickets are available here.

Banter at Quarter Block Party (102, Feb 2015)

Our first outside adventure for the year comes when we visit the Quarter Block Party in Cork on Saturday February 7.

Running from Friday February 6 to Sunday February 8, the Quarter Block Party is a new arts festival shining a light on one of Cork’s oldest quarters and taking over South and North Main Streets for a range of music, theatre, art, discussions and positivity. The aim is to bring crowds to the founding streets of the city during an off-peak time of year and transform the area with creative hubs of artistic activity for everyone in the community to enjoy.


For Banter at Quarter Block Party, we’ve two talks lined up. Inside the Miracle of Sound is an interview with Gavin Dunne, the Cork musician behind the online music project of the same name. What started out as fan-songs for movies and videogames has become a micro-industry where his songs and compositions, all produced in his home studio and covering a vast range of genres, have pulled in over 50 million views across the internet as well as the interest of such industry giants as Ubisoft, Bioware, EA, Epic and Bethesda. His work has been used to promote major titles such as Mass Effect 3, Assassin’s Creed 4 and Watch Dogs and his song “Cries Of A Dead World” is on the soundtrack to Wasteland 2.

We’ll talk to him about getting his start in the business, the power of word of mouth for a musician and composer, the use of social media to create a buzz and what happens when the gaming industry’s big boys come calling.

The second talk is about Alternative Economies and if it’s possible to make a living from doing something you love. For many, the dream is to give up the day job and do something you truly love, but how feasible is it to do this, especially if you have a music, arts or cultural project you want to work on? You may think that there are grants and loans and bursaries which will see you over the line, but the reality is a lot different.

Some folks who’ve found a way to make alternative economics make sense for them – namely James Byrne (Any Other CityVillagers), Eat My Noise ProductionsAoife Potter-Cogan (Cork Community Art Link) and Siobhan Kane (Young Hearts Run Free) – give us their thoughts on going it alone.

It takes place at the Vision Centre at St Peter’s (South Main Street) where doors open at 2.30pm and the talking kicks off at 3pm. Admission is free to Quarter Block Party weekend or day ticket holders and you can get those tickets here.

Banter 101 (101, Feb 2015)

There could only be one topic for Banter 101. Well, actually, that’s not quite true but, in the end, arms were twisted and legs were broken and we are where we are. I’m handing Banter over to my Irish Times colleague (and regular Banter guest) Una Mullally for the night and I’m leaving it to her to explain this one. Over to Una for what the takeover will involve

Over the course of one hundred Banters, Jim Carroll has interviewed countless people, tackled tricky topics, caused several scraps and brought his fast-paced interview style all over the country.

But for Banter 101, we go back to the origins. For this special Banter session, the tables will be turned and questions asked of Jim.



How did he get to where he is now? Are there any truth to the rumours that he once built a working Funktion-One sound system solely out of solicitors’ letters? Was the Choice Music Prize really founded after Jim lost a poker game to Tom Dunne? And what about his murky record label past? Or the fact that he’s from Tipperary?

On Wednesday February 4, the hunter becomes the hunted for Banter 101.

Decidedly uncomfortable with this event, Jim’s reaction when this this topic was suggested initially was “fucking no way. No fucking way. No. Fuck off.” But an incessant bullying/stalking campaign ensued and he finally agreed to give his first ever in-depth interview at Banter as the event goes back to basics: 101.

On the panel are a group of people who know how to wind Jim up.

Molly King, producer of Banter @ Other Voices.

“Me and Jim became an unlikely pair for Other Voices Banter for the last three years. I pretended to know what I was doing and he pretended to know where Benners Hotel was. The first meeting we had, I understood about 50% of what he said. I’m now an excellent JimCarrollinguist, and can translate on cue.”

Derek O’Connor, award-winning writer and filmmaker, co-creator of satirical blog Blogorrah, former director of Darklight Festival and a writer on the BAFTA winning CBBC series Roy.

“In the last century, Jim commissioned me to write music reviews for Eircom’s online hub Rondomondo – we’ve been talking nonsense about stuff ever since.”

Angela Dorgan, founder and director of First Music Contact, which encompasses Hard Working Class Heroes, and Music From Ireland.

“I know Jim as a music journalist whose review of Hard Working Class Heroes once made me cry, and then when I went back to it was full of useful and honest advice”

Ian Wilson. The legend.

More interrogators to be added.

The panel will be moderated by Una.

Before this Banter, we’ll be asking Jim’s colleagues, enemies, friends, and other “revellers” to submit their JIM RAPID-FIRE QUESTION ROUND on Twitter, in order to get the goss, test his knowledge, get under his skin and find out who’s playing Electric Picnic this year.

Banter 101 details: upstairs Twisted Pepper, Wednesday February 4. Doors open 6pm, the hunter gets hunted from 6.30pm. Admission is free (you can reserve a place here), but we’re asking folks to donate some cash at the door and all money raised will be donated to the Peter McVerry Trust.

Banter 100 (100, Jan 2015)

Hands up: I never expected to be writing this. When we started Banter back in July 2009 in the upstairs room of the Twisted Pepper in Dublin, I thought we’d get a few months out of it. Trevor O’Shea from Bodytonic Music wanted “talky stuff” so I came up with a few ideas for discussions and panels. Our first one was about Irish music radio featuring Paul McLoone from Today FM and The Golden Maverick from Power FM. I’d say we’d about 30 people in the room (please say hello if you were there) and we were off and running.

Since then, we’ve done 98 other Banters. The Twisted Pepper remains our spiritual home and Dublin HQ, but we’ve been invited to a ton of festivals and events up and down the country to do our thing. The Earagail Arts Festival was the first one outside the capital to take a leap of faith in Banter and we’ve had a blast in one way or another with every single event we’ve done.

There are many, many Banters which stand out in the memory: the one with Utah Saints on the Derry city walls when a lad dressed as a muskateer fired his gun with no warning, the one in the kitchen in Donegal where there was a Picasso on the wall, all the ones in Foxy John’s in Dingle as part of Other Voices, the one with Nile Rodgers in a packed Galway hotel function room where he slagged me and my questions off and got the crowd chanting along, the one with Paul Morley in a former bomb shelter in London (another Other Voices’ joint), the one with Angela Scanlon and Sonya Lennon talking about fashion and style in Kilkenny in front of a 99 per cent female audience, the one about sustainable farming in a room in the middle of the Burren packed with farmers, the one in Charles Fort in Kinsale with Philip King (which we stupidly didn’t record), the one in the Workman’s Club with Tony Fenton (which we also didn’t record). Yep, loads to remember.

And, of course, we fondly remember a whole rake of Banters in the Pepper, where we’ve done them upstairs, downstairs and especially in the main room. It’s where the Banter thing has been finessed and finetuned, this thing where we either get a bunch of people together to have a lively discussion about something or other or bring in someone for an informal, casual, no-holds-barred one-on-one interview.

It all happens in front of an audience who are there to be entertained, educated, amused, bemused, engaged and very occasionally provoked. There’s a school of thought out there amongst some folks that questions from the audience often bring down the tone of an event, but I have absolutely no truck with that notion. It’s the audience who often give a Banter event its energy and mojo with a well-placed question or observation. After all, without the audience, we’d just be talking to ourselves.

All of which brings us to Banter 100. It takes place on Wednesday January 28 at the Twisted Pepper in Dublin from 6.30pm. There will be three secions in all, plus some very special musical guests, who we’ll be announcing nearer the date.

From the Editor’s Office

We’ve held many Banter talks about media issues over the last five years so we’ve decided to go right to the top for this one. We’ve gathered together a number of editors from various national publications and news outlets to talk about what they do, the pressures and decisions they face and make on an average day, their views on the news management agenda and their opinions on the Irish media landscape.

The panel: Kevin O’Sullivan (editor, The Irish Times), Ian Kehoe (editor, Sunday Business Post), Des Gibson (editor, Irish Daily Star) and Kevin Bakhurst (RTE Managing Director News and Current Affairs and Deputy Director General)

Living for the City: Loving Dublin

Since September 2013, the Living for the City series has delved into many nooks and crannies of living, working and playing in Dublin in the 21st century, from transportmedia and housing to foodimmigration and creativity.

For Banter 100, we’ve invited Aisling Rogerson (The Fumbally Cafe), Lynn Daly (Dublin City Council events and tourism team) and John Mahon (The Locals) to come along to talk about what they think really makes Dublin tick and the things they believe can be done simply and quickly to improve the everyday life of the city.

An interview with Timo

Chances are if you’re a Dublin-based music fan, you’ve been to a couple of memorable shows over the last two decades promoted by the man called Timo. Under the U:mack banner (and Ultramack before that), Timo has been responsible for hundreds – maybe thousands – of events by bands, DJs and live electronic acts in the city, from Aphex Twin, Fugazi, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Battles, Autechre, Shellac, Caribou and Moderat to 100% Dynamite, Rocket from the Crypt, Konono No 1, Jello Biafra, The Ex, Atari Teenage Riot, Andy Weatherall, Plaid, Squarepusher and zillions more.

2015 marks U:mack’s 21st birthday so we thought it would be a good idea to kick off the year of Timo (#um21) with an interview with the man himself about his life and times. Trust us, you will not want to miss this.

Tickets for Banter 100 are now on sale (please note the event is now sold out). By the way, when we did Banter 50 back in May 2013, Trevor O’Shea, the geezer who set the whole thing in motion originally when he went looking for talky stuff, promised loads of cake when we hit 100. We’re going to hold him to that.

Banter on sports at First Fortnight (099, Jan 2015)

One of the most fascinating Banter panels in 2014 occured at the First Fortnight festival last January when we spoke to Richie SadlierDavid Gillick and Liam Moggan about how sportspeople deal with the mental pressures to perform and compete in public. Afterwards, Susan Clarke wrote a good summary of some of the topics and points raised here.

We’ve been asked back by the festival and we’ve assembled a very strong panel to talk about how sports teams and individual sportsmen deal with the issue of mental health and especially mental stress and strain.


Given that sportsmen and women are exposed to win-at-all-costs pressure from a young age, there is a growing need for all codes to address how mental health issues are responded to and whether the culture around sport is conducive to promoting a tolerant response to those experiencing difficulty. Over the Bar will look at the many issues around mental health in sport and what teams, clubs, organisations and managers should be doing to help, both during and after a player’s career.

The Banter panel for Over the BarConor Cusack (Gaelic Players Association mental health ambassador and former Cork hurler), Nora Stapleton (Women’s and Girls Rugby Development Executive with the IRFU, member of the Ireland XVs squad and Donegal Ladies Gaelic football) and David Corkery (former Ireland, Munster, Cork Cons and Bristol rugby player)

The details: Banter presents Over the Bar at First Fortnight will take place at the Twisted Pepper (Middle Abbey St., Dublin 1) on Tuesday January 6. Doors open at 6pm and the panel kicks off at 6.30pm. Tickets available here.

Banter at Other Voices (098, Dec 2014)

For the third year in a row, the Banter bandwagon heads southwest to Dingle and takes up residence in Foxy John’s pub and hardware shop for this year’s Other Voices’ event. As always, it’s a pleasure to head to Dingle so big thanks as always to the Other Voices’ team for the invite.


On Saturday and Sunday December 13 and 14, we’ll be hosting a rake of one-on-one interviews with some fascinating folks from the worlds of sport, media, technology, music, art, film, design and literature.

Our guests for 2014 are as follows:

Paul Galvin – believe it or not, this is the first visit from a Lixnaw man to Banter. Paul Galvin surely needs no introduction to the Foxy John’s faithful, a colourful player of great passion and skill who won a rake of All-Irelands for his county. We’ll talk about his recently published book In My Own Words, his life on the pitch, fashion, hip-hop and much more besides.

Paddy Cosgrave – the founder of the Web Summit talks about what it takes to grow an event from zero to 22,000 in a few years and what comes next for the Summit. Before anyone starts, please note that there is no wi-fi in Foxy’s.

Bill Malone – meet Mr RTE2. Bill Malone is the channel controller, the man charged with ensuring that the TV channel kicks ass, broadcasts shows with bite and appeal and continues to keep Irish 15-24 year olds tuning in. We’ll talk to Bill about his life in TV, his role at the top of the RTE2 tree and what’s next from the station which has provided a home for Damo & Ivor, Connected, Drunk, Republic of Telly and, yes, Other Voices.

Joe Caslin – if you’ve seen the large-scale murals of young men on the walls of various towns and cities around the country this year, you’ve seen the work of Joe Caslin. He will talk about how Our Nation’s Sons brings marginalised young men in from the shadows to remind us of their existence

Nóirín Hegarty – formerly the editor of and The Sunday Tribune, Nóirín is now managing destination editor at Lonely Planet in London. As well as retracing her steps and retelling her adventures in the Irish media ecosystem, she’ll talk about Lonely Planet and what’s ahead for travel writing

Gavin Sheridan – the Cork journalist and blogger has done much to promote the idea of using existing laws and regulations to shed light on how power is used in this country. Co-founder of and and formerly the director of innovation at Storyful, he’ll talk at Banter about the tenacity and patience required to bring transparency to how our government operate.

Delorentos – what’s it like to be in a band in 2014 and what does it take to ensure that band keeps on keeping on? Kieran McGuinness and Nial Conlan from the Choice Music Prize-winning Delorentos join us to talk about the highs and lows of keeping a band on the road and the ins and outs of getting four albums released.

Rob Doyle – author of Here Are The Young Men, Dublin Rob Doyle comes to Dingle to talk about the influences and inspirations behind his debut novel. A tale of four youngsters in the months between Leaving Cert exams and results, Here Are The Young Men is a fascinating, enthralling and moving read about Irish youth and Irish ways.

Banter kicks off each day at 2pm sharp and will run until 6pm-ish. There will also be very special musical guests each day (really special) as well as ticket giveaways. We’ll see you there.

In the Name of Love (097, Dec 2014)

One of the big Irish stories of 2015 is set to be the marriage equality referendum, due to be held sometime in the coming months. It’s another indicator of the huge social change which has occured in Ireland in recent years.

Written by Una Mullally and published by The History Press, In the Name of Love is a new oral history which traces the history of the movement for marriage equality in Ireland narrated by those who took a stand, including politicians, activists, artists, drag queens, lobbyists, feminists and those who rocked the boat.

From the dawn of Irish LGBT activism to an organised protest movement, from the legislative battles fought to the personal stories that paved the way for visibility, In the Name Of Love is the story of how we got from the decriminalising of homosexuality 22 years ago to today’s new brave world.


On Wednesday December 10, some of those who contributed to the book will join us at Banter to talk at length about the story so far, what’s to be learned from the various victories and setbacks so far in the path to marriage equality and what lies ahead in the referendum campaign in 2015.

The panel: Ailbhe SmythJohn Lyons TDTonie Walsh and the book’s author Una Mullally. The discussion will be chaired by Banter producer Jim Carroll, there will be an audience Q&A afterwards and the book will also be on sale.

Event details: Twisted Pepper, Middle Abbey St., Dublin 1; Wednesday December 10; doors open at 6pm and the discussion begins at 6.30pm; tickets available here

Review of the Year (096, Dec 2014)

It’s nearly the end of 2014 as we know it and that means the annual Banter Review of the Year.

You know the story as we’ve done this in 2009201020112012 and 2013. We bring together a panel of folks – some of them who’ve made the news in 2014 and some of them who’ve reported the news in 2014 – to run the rule over the stories of the last 12 months, to nominate the winners and losers of the year and to bring some semblance of sense to the events of 2014 in an hour or less. It’s always one of the highlights of the Banter year, chiefly because we keep remembering stuff which happened which we’d forgotten all about.

2014, the year of water protests, loom bands, Garth Brooks, Alan Shatter, GSOC bugs, Star Wars on Skellig Michael, Ukraine, Pantigate, the World Cup, ISIS, Malaysian planes, Kanye and Kim’s honeymoon, crazy summer seagulls, Gaza and a million other things besides (including perhaps Fr Padraig O’Baoill and Jessica Lauren, though not together).

One of the stories of the year? Me?

One of the stories of the year? Me?

Our panel who will be reeling in the last 12 months: Mick Wallace TDRory “Panti” O’Neill2fm’s Louise McSharry and journalist and author Ann Marie Hourihane.

Banter’s Review of the Year takes place on Monday December 8 at the Twisted Pepper, Middle Abbey St., Dublin 1. Doors open 6pm, the rewinding starts at 6.30pm and tickets are available here.

Pretty Honest: Sali Hughes in conversation with Marian Keyes (095, Dec 2014)

We’re very pleased to welcome Sali Hughes to Banter. She’s one of the leading beauty writers in the business, a woman who started out as a makeup artist to George Michael, Pet Shop Boys and Belinda Carlisle before turning to writing, commentating and broadcasting about the beauty world for such publications as ELLEgirl, The Face, Red, Grazia, Elle, Cosmopolitan, The Observer, The Guardian, Glamour, Stylist and Shortlist. She has been The Guardian Weekend’s beauty columnist since January 2011.

Sali Hughes

Sali Hughes


Her new book is Pretty Honest: The Straight-Talking Beauty Companion. It sets out to disprove the notion that beauty books have to be “product review-heavy volumes which become almost instantly outdated, or tracts of holistic mumbo jumbo, like how to make an unproven face pack from organic molasses and rough-hewn porridge oats”.

Instead, she draws on over 20 years of wisdom, advice and expertise to show cover everything from teenage skin to mature beauty, botox to bridal make-up, sickness to good health. It’s a work that is both instruction manual and love letter to makeup, all written in a style that combines beauty editor, feminist and painfully funny best friend.


For this Banter, we are delighted to also welcome novelist Marian Keyes to Banter who will be hosting the conversation with Sali. Marian’s latest book The Woman Who Stole My Life has just been published.

Banter guest host Marian Keyes

Banter guest host Marian Keyes

The details: Banter presents Sali Hughes in conversation with Marian Keyes takes place at the Twisted Pepper (Middle Abbey St., Dublin 1) on Thursday December 4. Doors open 6pm, the event begins at 6.30pm promptly and there will a book signing afterwards. Ticket details are here (please note the event is now sold out)