Macdara Yeates & The Dublin Dockworkers Preservation Society ARE YOU A BUTTON MAN?

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Macdara Yeates & The Dublin Dockworkers Preservation Society ARE YOU A BUTTON MAN?

Wednesday April 18th at 20.00 – The Sugar Club, Leeson Street, Dublin 2

Tickets €10 + booking fee from


Are You A Button Man? presented by Macdara Yeates in association with The Dublin Dockworkers Preservation Society is a collaboration of storytelling, song and instrumental music recounting the tales of Dublin’s former dockworkers. The industry term ‘Button Man’ refers to a select group of fortunate dockers who by wearing their rarely-awarded Union badge or ‘button’ were always guaranteed a days work, a sore point among the vast majority of dockworkers who had no such privilege. Join Paddy Nevin, Declan Byrne, Paddy Daly and John Walsh as they tell the historic, grueling and comic stories of their many years of service on the Dublin docks: loading the fragile sales cargo of one Hector Grey; smuggling crates of “Wodka Vodka” for a Docker’s daughter’s wedding; and the hoisting of two of Dublin Zoo’s African elephants from a British liner onto dry land.

Between stories, East Wall’s Macdara Yeates (Skipper’s Alley, The Night Before Larry Got Stretched) will provide the many songs inspired by the Dublin quays and their happenings – some traditional, some newly composed, and some never-before- heard verses penned by a by a now deceased non-button man from Sheriff Street.

Instrumental music comes from Danny Diamond (Slow Moving Clouds, Swan Lake/Loch na hEala) a long-time resident in Ringsend, who will work closely with the labourers’ accounts to create descriptive solo fiddle pieces retelling the many dramas of life on the docks.

The evening will also feature a performance by recording artist Lisa O’Neill of her stirring protest ballad “Rock The Machine” inspired by the life of an out-of-work coal shoveler from Spencer Dock.

The night’s emcee is social historian, blogger and broadcaster Donal Fallon of ‘Come Here To Me’ who will tie together proceedings and interview the retired dockers on their many yarns and exploits.

The Dock Workers Preservation Society (DDWPS) was founded in 2011 to “honour all the men and women who worked in Dublin Docks and in the surrounding dockland industries and to campaign for a dockland heritage centre. Shortly after, the group began a Facebook page (now with 5,000+ followers) sharing historical photographs and, later, hosting photo exhibitions, historical talks and hugely popular ‘Songs and Stories’ events taking place in different pubs and community centres in the North inner city, to an audience of dockers’ relatives, history groups and local residents.

The DDWPS’ collaboration with MusicTown sees the group expand on its message to include feature the bespoke musical contributions of Danny Diamond, Macdara Yeates and Lisa O’Neill and take stage in The Sugar Club (its largest venue to date) to a broader, wider audience.

Danny Diamond is a fiddle player based in Dublin, Ireland. In his music, Danny creates a unique sound-world, rooted in the rich heritage of Irish traditional music, while also incorporating wider influences from Nordic and American folk to baroque and electronic music. Danny plays with the contemporary Nordic/Irish band Slow Moving Clouds, with whom he has released an album, Os (2015), and created the score for Teac Damsa’s acclaimed dance theatre work Swan Lake / Loch na hEala (Best Production, Irish Theatre Awards, 2017). His debut recording Fiddle Music (2014) and follow-up NORTH (2016, with Conor Caldwell) were both widely acclaimed as contemporary classics, with NORTH being nominated for The Irish Times Traditional Album of the Year 2016. Danny’s follow-up solo recording Elbow Room was released in October 2017.

Macdara Yeates is a multi-instrumentalist, singer and composer from Dublin, Ireland. As a member of internationally-acclaimed folk band Skipper’s Alley, with whom he currently and primarily tours, Macdara has worked in live TV, radio, and toured in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. A traditional singer, Macdara has received bursaries from the Drogheda Singers Festival and The Inishowen International Folk Song and Ballad Seminar. Macdara’s theatre credits include composition and performance in Mouth on Fire’s ‘Saints and Sinners’ debuting in The New Theatre in July 2015 and THEATREclub’s ‘It’s Not Over’ which played in the Dublin Theatre Festival in October 2016. In April 2016, Macdara performed in the ‘Imagining Home’ series at the National Concert Hall under the artistic direction of Martin Hayes and Iarla Ó Lionáird.

Donal Fallon is a historian of Dublin, with a particular expertise in the social history of the city. He is one of the trio of writers behind the Dublin history website Come Here To Me!, and a regular historical tour guide. 2014 saw Donal’s first solo publication The Pillar: The Life and After Life of The Nelson Pillar. An avid lecturer, Donal teaches the course ‘Hidden Dublin: From the Monto to Little Jerusalem’ with the Adult Education department of University College Dublin. Donal’s broadcast and commentary credits include Newstalk’s ‘Hidden Histories’, Donal is also a regular panelist and commentator in political and historical forums nationwide.

Lisa O’Neill is a young folk singer from Cavan. Over the past few years, Lisa has quietly but steadily built a reputation for herself on the Irish and international scenes. She released her debut LP ‘Has An Album’ in August 2009. Some notable appearances include Electric Picnic and The Hard Working Class Heroes Festival. Lisa was also chosen to perform on the Other Voices Songs From A Room series in 2011. Lisa released her second album, ‘Some Cloth Or Not’ in October 2013. The record was well received with the track ‘No Train To Cavan’ receiving strong airplay. The record was nominated for the Choice Music Prize in 2013. Her third album, ‘Pothole In The Sky’ followed in early 2016. In 2017, Lisa was chosen to support The Divine Comedy on their UK and European tour.

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April 18
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Event Category:


The Sugar Club
8 Lower Leeson Street
Dublin, 2 Ireland