The Ties that Bind Music and Culture From Belfast to Ballydehob

Barry O'Kane (Duncairn), Caroline O'Leary (Levis), Emma Dwyer (CorkCoCouncil & Joe O'Leary (Levis) sitting in Levis pub.

As part of Creative Ireland’s ‘Creative Communities on a Shared Island’ initiative, two of Ireland’s best known intimate music venues from opposite corners of the island – Levis’ Corner House, Ballydehob and The Duncairn, Belfast - have teamed up to explore their mutual creative links in a project called ‘The Ties that Bind’.

The initiative, supported by Cork County Council and Belfast City Council, will see the community in Ballydehob host artists from Belfast for a weekend of music, art, poetry and cinema from the 11th to the 14th of July.

Over the past six months, local artists from each community have taken part in residential exchanges, swapping the rural picturesque village of Ballydehob for the inner-city hustle and bustle of North Belfast, and vice versa. Already, the artists have formed lifelong friendships, collaborating on new work and impacting on the local communities through performances and workshops.

The highlight of this Shared Island project will be two ‘takeover weekends’, the first of which will see The Duncairn curate a mini festival at Levis’ Corner House in Ballydehob from the 11th to the 14th of July. Over 20 artists from the North will travel 500km to take part in an action-packed programme showcasing the work that The Duncairn does and the creative community it serves.  Ballydehob will visit Belfast from November 14th to the 17th, with musicians, visual artists, craft makers and chefs. Programmed by Levis’ this ‘takeover’ weekend will include their Secret Song, Jazz Funeral, Sing for Your Supper and Micro-Murals events, as well as crafting, food and engagement with local schools.

Welcoming the event to West Cork, Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Joe Carroll said 

This project brings together two very different communities to celebrate our cultural commonalities. Levis’ Corner House and The Duncairn have different roots, one a rural village music venue, the other an inner-city arts centre but both have a passion for our shared cultural heritage. It will be a showcase of Belfast’s creative scene in the heart of West Cork, with a large turnout expected to join in the celebrations. Cork County Council is very proud to deliver this project as part of Creative Communities on a Shared Island, supporting cross-border creative projects to inspire connections between people, communities and places.

Among the events planned in Ballydehob, The Duncairn’s famous ‘Club Fifty’ will feature a cabaret of music, poetry and cinema from artists of both traditions in Belfast on Friday the 12th of July. At communal tables with tapas-style sharing food provided, friendly discussion is encouraged between artists and audience about the diverse backgrounds, reconciliation and the common grounds that exist.

On Saturday the 13th of July, the main evening concert will showcase The Duncairn’s Creative Collective. Half of The Duncairn’s pioneering, 30-strong group of young artists from across Ireland will perform original music that they have composed together. Artists from Cork will also take part, exemplifying what can happen when young people are given the time, resources and a framework to develop cultural and creative connections.

The weekend will round off with a re-creation of one of Duncairn’s biggest successes, ‘The Super Sunday Session’, an afternoon focused on community, creativity and connection. This free, family-friendly arts event will feature a concert, kids crafts and storytelling for all ages.

Across the weekend, there will be a variety of smaller events by Belfast-based artists throughout Ballydehob and the surrounding areas, including poetry, cinema, trad sessions, visual arts and pop-up musical performances.

Tickets for the events are available online at and